Front Matter: Prefaces.

Editor's Preface to the First Edition.

The Works by which Professor Green has hitherto been chiefly known to the general public are his Introduction to Messrs. Longmans’ edition of Hume’s Philosophical Works, and his articles in the Contemporary Review on some doctrines of Mr. Spencer and Mr. Lewes. (Preface [1883] ¶1)

When in the year 1877 Mr. Green became Whyte’s Professor of Moral Philosophy, his main desire was, both in his teaching and writing, to develop more fully and in a more constructive way the ideas which underlay his previous critical writings and appeared in them. The present treatise is the first outcome of that desire; and doubtless it would have been only the first but for the premature and unexpected death of the author in March, 1882. (Preface [1883] ¶2)

Even the Prolegomena to Ethics (the title is the author’s own) was left unfinished. The greater part of the book had been used, some of it twice over, in the Professorial lectures; and about a quarter of it (the first 116 pages) was printed in the numbers of Mind for January, April, and July, 1882. But, according to a letter of the author written not long before his death, some twenty or thirty pages remained to be added, and, though with this exception the whole was written out nearly ready for printing no part of it can be considered to have undergone the final revision. (Preface [1883] ¶3)

At his death Mr. Green left the charge of the manuscript to me; and I have now only to explain the course I have followed in preparing it for publication. (Preface [1883] ¶4)

The manuscript was written in paragraphs, but otherwise was continuous; and I may add that it was composed without regard to arrangement in Books and Chapters. For that arrangement I am responsible, and also for the numbering and occasional re-division of the sections, and for the frequent division of a section into two or more paragraphs. I have also made the few corrections in expression which seemed to be necessary, and in one case I have ventured, for the sake of clearness, to transfer a passage from one place to another. References have been verified and supplied; translations of Greek quotations have been given, where their meaning was not obvious from the text; and a few notes have been added by way of explanation or qualification, for the most part only where a mark in the author’s manuscript showed that he intended to reconsider the passage. The Editor’s notes, except where they give merely a reference or a translation, are enclosed in square brackets. (Preface [1883] ¶5)

My desire throughout has been to make no changes except in passages which I felt sure Mr. Green would have altered had his attention been called to them. With the further object of rendering the work as intelligible as possible to the general reader I have ventured to print an analysis. Mr. Green would probably have followed the plan he adopted in the Introduction to Hume, and have placed a short bstract on the margins of the pages. I have thought it better to print my analysis as a Table of Contents, as that arrangement clearly separates my work from the author’s, and will also probably be the most useful to those who care to read an analysis at all. Perhaps I may further suggest to any reader who is unaccustomed to metaphysical and psychological discussions that much of the author’s ethical views, though not their scientific basis, may be gathered from the Third and Fourth Books alone. (Preface [1883] ¶6)

It has been already explained that the book was left unfinished. But on the whole I thought it best to make no attempt to add anything, especially as the comparison which occupies the last chapter seems to have reached a natural conclusion. The reader will also find in the text indications of subjects which were to have been discussed. In particular the author—at any rate at one time—intended to introduce a criticism of Kant’s ethical views (see page 177). But I think this intention must have been abandoned during the composition of the book, and, as it is hoped that before long Mr. Green’s published writings will be collected and edited, together with a short biography and selections from his unpublished manuscripts, it seemed best that the materials on this subject furnished by the author’s notes for lectures should be reserved for a future occasion. (Preface [1883] ¶7)

I have received material assistance in preparing the present work for the press. Mrs. Green has compared the whole of the book in proof with the original manuscript. Professor Edward Caird, of Glasgow University, and Mr. R. L. Nettleship, Fellow of Balliol, read through the proofs and the analysis and sent me many suggestions. I feel, in particular, that but for Professor Caird’s very full and valuable notes the analysis must have been far more imperfect than it remains. But it would seem to me, and to those who have helped me, out of place to express any gratitude for work given to a book which, more than any writing of Mr. Green’s yet published, may enable the public outside of Oxford to understand not only the philosophical enthusiasm which his teaching inspired, but the reverence and love which are felt for him by all who knew him well. (Preface [1883] ¶8)

A. C. Bradley.

University College, Liverpool,

April, 1883.

Preface (1883), n. 1: See Works of T. H. Green, edited with a Memoir by R. L. Nettleship, 3 vols., Longmans, 1885–8. These volumes contain all Green’s writings except the Prolegomena to Ethics. ?