Common Courtesy in Eighteenth-century English Literature

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University of Delaware Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 200 pages
In one of his Idlers, Johnson indicated the problems involved in such an achievement as follows: "As a question becomes more complicated and involved, and extends to a greater number of relations, disagreement of opinion will always be multiplied: not because we are irrational, but because we are finite beings, furnished with different kinds of knowledge, exerting different degrees of attention, one discovering consequences which escape another, none taking in the whole concatenation of causes and effects, and most comprehending but a very small part, each comparing what he observes with a different criterion and each referring it to a different purpose. "Where, then, is the wonder, that they who see only a small part should judge erroneously of the whole?

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