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Francis Garden - 1878 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





Principle. Principium, like ἀρχὴ, means beginning. As a philosophical term Aristotle defines ἀρχὴ as that first source from which anything is, or becomes, or is known. Everything that exists must have its ground in something antecedent, be it cause, condition, or element; and every article of faith or knowledge must proceed from some previous conviction, which as the point of departure for proof cannot be proved itself, but at the same time cannot be disbelieved: principles have therefore been divided into principia essendi, and principia cognoscendi.


To these might be added principia agendi, or principles of conduct. We say of a man that he is well principled or has good principles, whose behaviour is regulated by the true laws of morality, and that he is unprincipled if it be not. This latter term is sufficient to describe the grand majority of the immoral and wicked. It is the want of subjection to principle which renders their actions bad, and their characters reprehensible.

Such want causes their conduct to be determined not by fixed law, but by passion, by circumstance, by temptation, by self-interest, real or imagined. This, rather than regulation by evil principles, is the state of matters with them. If any have gone further, if they have deliberately called evil good, and acted accordingly, then the word unprincipled becomes an inadequate description of them, they should be called ill principled, people of bad principles.

The writers of the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the last century seem to have recognised a verb to principle. Thus Locke speaks not only of principled but of principling.



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