"In undertaking the following discussion I foresee two grave difficulties. My reader may well feel that goodness is already the most familiar of all the thoughts we employ, and yet he may at the same time suspect that there is something about it perplexingly abstruse and remote. Familiar it certainly is. It attends all our wishes, acts, and projects as nothing else does, so that no estimate of its influence can be excessive."
-From the Preface
The concept of "goodness" is a timeless predicament. Philosophers to modern neuroscientists have yet to decipher the source of man's innate goodness. In fact, George H. Palmer's own constant quest to comprehend and appreciate what made people behave the way they continues to fascinate contemporary fans of philosophy to this day.
Originally delivered as a slate of lectures at Harvard, Dartmouth and Wellesley Colleges during the early twentieth century and published in book form in 1903, the core of the essays here include: . The Double Affect of Goodness, . Misconceptions of Goodness, . Self-Consciousness, . Self-Direction, . Self-Development, . Self-Sacrifice, . Nature and Spirit, and, . The Three Stages of Goodness.
As a pioneering educator and American philosopher, GEORGE HERBERT PALMER (1842-1933), was educated at Harvard (1864) and Andover Theological Seminary (1870). He became a Greek tutor at Harvard in 1870 and eventually earning the status of professor emeritus and overseer from 1913-1919. Notably, Palmer was the first Harvard lecturer to discard the textbook model of teaching philosophy by using his own philosophical approach in lectures.
Other works include The Life and Works of George Herbert (1905), The Field of Ethics (1901), and Altruism: Its Nature and Varieties (1919).