Coleridge's status as a philosopher has often been questioned. 'I am a poor poet in England,' he admitted, 'but in America, I am a great philosopher.' J. S. Mill's assertion that 'the time is yet far distant when, in the estimation of Coleridge, and of his influence upon the intellect of our time, anything like unanimity can be looked for' seems to have been justified. Mary Anne Perkins re-examines Coleridge's claim to have developed a 'logosophic' system which attempted 'to reduce all knowledges into harmony'. She pays particular attention to his later writings, some of which are still unpublished. She suggests that the accusations of plagiarism and of muddled, abstruse metaphysics which have been levelled at him may be challenged by a thorough reading of his work in which his unifying principle is revealed. She explores the various meanings for the term 'Logos', a recurrent theme in every area of Coleridge's thought - philosophy, religion, natural science, history, political and social criticism, literary theory, and psychology.
Coleridge was responding to the concerns of his own time, a revolutionary age in which increasing intellectual and moral fragmentation and confusion seemed to him to threaten both individuals and society. Drawing on the whole of Western intellectual history, he offered a ground for philosophy which was relational rather than mechanistic. He is one of those few thinkers whose work appears to become more interesting, his perceptions more acute, as the historical gulf widens. This book is a contribution to the reassessment that he deserves.
Publisher: Oxford University Press