21R. G. E. G. Catlin
to Harrod, 4 February
Catlin has heard
of Harrod's essay on "Talking",
 comments that it was a famous subject, and asks
Harrod to let him know the points or send the paper on.
Refers to Harrod's unpublished essay "Talk" (AD, 22 pages on 21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.
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)
- 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.
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