C. D. Broad, Mind and Its Place in Nature , 1925


My duties as Tarner Lecturer and as Lecturer in the Moral Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, began together and overlapped during the Michaelmas term of 1923. It was therefore impossible for me to devote as much time to the preparation of the Tarner Lectures as I could have wished; and I was profoundly dissatisfied with them. So I determined to spend the whole of the Long Vacation of 1924, and all my spare time in the Michaelmas term of that year, in rewriting what I had written, and in adding to it. However bad the book may seem to the reader, I can assure him that the lectures were far worse; and however long the lectures may have seemed to the audience, I can assure them that the book is far longer.

I had no intention of inflicting another book on the public so soon after my Scientific Thought; and I should certainly not have done so had I not been asked to give the Tarner Lectures. I think I can promise that it will be long before I offend again. In the meanwhile I retire to my well-earned bath-chair, from which I shall watch with a fatherly eye the philosophic gambols of my younger friends as they dance to the highly syncopated pipings of Herr Wittgenstein's flute.

I am, as-always, deeply indebted. to the works of Mr Johnson, Dr M'Taggart, Dr Moore, Mr Bertrand Russell, and Prof. Stout. I have to thank my friend, Mr J. A. Chadwick of Trinity, for kindly reading the proofs. I have also learned much from him in the many conversations which we have had together, and I am indebted to him especially for certain suggestions which I have tried to work out in Chapter XIII. Part of Chapter II. and part of Chapter VIII. are based on papers which have been published in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Part of Chapter III. is based on an article which appeared in The Monist; and part of Chapter XII. is based on an article which appeared in The Hibbert Journal. I have to thank the editors of these publications for kind permission to make use of the articles in question.

I shall no doubt be blamed by certain scientists, and, I am afraid, by some philosophers, for having taken serious account of the alleged facts which are investigated by Psychical Researchers. I am wholly impenitent about this. The scientists in question seem to me to confuse the Author of Nature with the Editor of Nature ; or at any rate to suppose that there can be no productions of the former which would not be accepted for publication by the latter. And I see no reason to believe this.

I am only too well aware how inadequate the book is to its rather ambitious title. Many subjects which ought to have been discussed are not touched upon ; and those subjects which are discussed are not exhausted, even if the reader be so. But it is the best that I can do at present; and I hope that some parts of it, at any rate, may form starting-points for fruitful controversies among philosophers, psychologists, biologists and Psychical researchers.