21R. G. E. G. Catlin to Harrod, 4 February [1922] [a]

Catlin has heard of Harrod's essay on "Talking", [1] comments that it was a famous subject, and asks Harrod to let him know the points or send the paper on.

  1. 1. Refers to Harrod's unpublished essay "Talk" (AD, 22 pages on 21 leaves, in HCN 12.38.1 ). The surviving documents relating to this essay do not specify where and when it was read.

    In the paper, Harrod argues that "true opinion or good argument are essential to good talk" (p. 8), and gives instead "priority to the expression of the talker's emotions" (p. 10): "good talk is the conveyance of good emotional response" (p. 11). He explains his method as follows:

    • The progress of science is towards discovering the simple principles which underlie multifarious appearances, it is the delight of science to reduce the number of indefinables, to explain or explain away the mysterious and aloof x's in the terms of its plain general principles. Against the over haste of scientists on this road it has been the privilege of the modern Oxford philosophical school to react. Knowledge is not a physical process nor is truth goodness, beauty is not goodness nor goodness beauty. We have to accept these as ultimates and inexplicable in terms of each other. It would be impossible to do greater injury to the cause of this valuable and noble protest than by <grievously> adding to the number of these ultimates, and that is what I have sought to do. When once it is clearly understood that certain facts are ultimate the facile and shallow mind delights to add rapidly to the number of facts which it supposes to be of this kind and thus discredits the whole school of thought. To postulate a new absolute, if I may so speak, is the meanest and paltriest method of construction. It has been my method. (pp. 20-21)
      1. a. From Home Cottage, Crabtree lane, Sheffield, ALS, three pages, with envelope addressed to New College, in HPBL Add. 72728/91-93. Year read from postmark.


Welcome page

top of page

Return to index of this section

Go to previous page

Go to next page