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Melville on Life and Philosophy

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eakins-mending-the-net-1881

“You speak of a certain philosophy, and a more or less occult one it may be, and hint of its bearing upon practical life; pray, tell me, if the study of this philosophy tends to the same formation of character with the experiences of the world?”

“It does; and that is the test of its truth; for any philosophy that, being in operation contradictory to the ways of the world, tends to produce a character at odds with it, such a philosophy must necessarily be but a cheat and a dream.”

Herman Melville, The Confidence-Man: His masquerade, ch. 37 (1857)

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