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ARTHUR GEORGE HEATH, M.A.
Sometime Fellow of New College, Oxford, and
At the CLARENDON PRESS
Es ist der Gang Gottes in der Welt dass der Staat ist.
Dort wo der Staat aufhört, da beginnt erst der Mensch, der nicht überflüssig ist.
(NIETZSCHE, Also sprach Zarathustra.)
THE typescript of this essay, which was awarded the Green Moral Philosophy Prize in 1914, was bequeathed to us by the author. It is only right for us to put on record that, in the same letter in which he made this bequest, Arthur Heath wrote:
'I do not wish any of my papers to be published. There are only two-my Green Prize Essay and a paper I wrote for the Oxford Philosophical Society—which are at all complete, and those I don't want to publish as they stand.'
We have given careful consideration to these words, and it will readily be believed that we would not lightly ignore our friend's wishes. Various reasons have, however, brought us to the conclusion that we ought not to prevent the publication of the Green Essay. Professor J. A. Smith, who has very kindly acted as its editor, and Mr. H. W. B. Joseph, both expressed the opinion that the essay should be given to the world, and we know that there could not be better judges of its philosophical merits. Arthur Heath was always inclined to take too modest a view of his own achievements; and at the time when the letter which we have quoted was written it is probable that he took an even lower view of his writings than usual. The letter was written at Aldershot just before he sailed for France, and it was then many months since he had seen the essay. We think that if he had read it through again it would have seemed even to his critical eyes less unsatisfactory than it appeared to his memory. "The Moral and Social Significance of Personality' will not win for its author the reputation as a philosopher which he would have attained if he had lived to complete his life's work, but his death is itself witness to his belief that the interests, or what appear to be the interests, of the individual should not be allowed to override the interests of mankind. Arthur Heath's modesty would have prevented him from agreeing with us that a work which is far from being an adequate memorial of his extraordinary mental powers may, nevertheless, be too important a contribution to human knowledge to be suppressed; but we have consented to the publication of the Green Essay because we believe it to be in the general interest. The same modesty which made our friend think too slightingly of his work would also, we are convinced, have led him to yield to the judgement of others in regard to the question of publication; and he would certainly have repudiated the idea that the dead hand’ should be the determining influence in any important decisions. Indeed, the very letter in which he expressed the wish that nothing should be published contains the sentence: 'I find making a will rather a difficult business and it also has the disadvantage of tying you down to certain things which might turn out inadvisable'; and the various testamentary suggestions which he made are prefaced with the remark: What follows therefore is merely an indication of my wishes in the present circumstances.'
We would add that it has also weighed with us in coming to a decision that two other close friends of Arthur Heath—Philip Anthony Brown and Leslie Whitaker Hunter-both gave it as their opinion, before they too fell in action, that we ought not to feel bound by what he had written about publication.
We have no misgivings in taking full responsibility for our decision.
JOHN D. G. MEDLEY.