F.H. Bradley, perhaps the most self-aware philosopher who ever lived, once dismissed metaphysics as “the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct.” Bradley (whose favorite pastime was using pictures of Gladstone for target practice with his revolver in his rooms at Merton College, Oxford) qualified his negative assessment of the intellectual life by pointing out that philosophy was itself one of those irrepressible instincts — a nicely circular way of putting it.
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