Montreal: Privately Printed / Witness Press, 1924-1926.
Very good. One book (8vo, cloth-backed boards, pp. [iv], -115), three pamphlets (each approx, 9 x 6", stapled cardstock covers, pp. 13, 22, and 26, respectively), and single-page typed letter, signed, (8-1/2 x 11", with a half-dozen corrections in black ink in Lighthall's hand). William Douw Lighthall (1857-1954) was a Canadian polymath, by turns a lawyer, historian, novelist, poet, and philosopher. A member of the International Congress of Philosophy, he also wrote historical romances (under the pen name Wilfrid Châteauclair) and poetry, and served as president of the then-fledgling Canadian Authors Association in 1930. He had previously (1918-1919) served as president of the Royal Society of Canada; along the way he had appeared in a variety of arenas—including providing legal advice pro bono to help incorporate the Montreal Women's Club (1893) and founding Canada's first veteran's group, the Canadian Association of Returned Soldiers (1915). Beyond all that, Lighthall was among the many 19th century post-Darwinian philosophers who struggled to redefine the concept of a supreme being, and even to find a new, different, more encompassing name for the entity commonly known as "God." Lighthall's stated goal was to marry science and religion into a single philosophical understanding; his solution was to identify instinct, or "force of will," as the "supreme cause" of both our conscious and unconscious acts. He called this the “Outer Consciousness,” or "Superpersonalism." He differed from many of his contemporaries (Schopenhauer, Hardy) in his optimism. His outlook more closely dovetailed with that of the oft-quoted abolitionist Theodore Parker ("the arc of the moral universe... bends toward justice"), believing that social evolution was inherently and inexorably progressive. The titles included here are: 1) The Teleology of the Outer Consciousness (Montreal: Privately Printed for the Author, 1924); 2) VI. The Outer Consciousness and a Future Life; VII. Schopenhauer & the Outer Consciousness (A Comparison); VIII. The Psychology of the Outer Consciousness (Montreal: Privately Printed for the Author, 1925); 3) Advance Extract from the Upcoming Superpersonalism: The Outer Consciousness (A Biological Entity - Reflections on the Independence of Instinct and Its Characteristics in Evolution) (Montreal: Witness Press, 1926); 4) Superpersonalism: The Outer Consciousness (A Biological Entity - Reflections on the Independence of Instinct and Its Characteristics in Evolution) (Montreal: Witness Press, 1926). The typed letter is a cover letter enclosing a handful of requested pamphlets, addressed to a Mr. John E. Shipman of San Diego, California, dated November 1924, and consists of several paragraphs expounding on some of Lighthall's then-current thinking.