to limit itself to the annihilation of those visions

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to limit itself to the annihilation of those visions

Although it dates from June 1818, and thus postdates the publication of the first edition of Frankenstein by several months, Percy Bysshe Shelley's fragment of an essay "On Life" has a passage that may shed light on Mary Shelley's own attitude to her adolescent student's disenchantment with a philosophical discipline that deconstructs rather than creates:

Philosophy, impatient as it may be to build, has much work yet remaining as pioneer* for the overgrowth of ages. It makes one step towards this object; it destroys error, and the roots of error. It leaves, what is too often the duty of the reformer in political and ethical questions to leave, a vacancy.# It reduces the mind to that freedom in which it would have acted, but for the misuse of words and signs, the instruments of its own creation. —By signs, I would be understood in a wide sense, including what is properly meant by that term, and what I peculiarly mean. In this latter sense almost all familiar objects are signs, standing not for themselves but for others, in their capacity of suggesting one thought, which shall lead to a train of thoughts. —Our whole life is thus an education of error. (Reiman-Powers, eds., Shelley's Poetry and Prose, p. 477)

*advance guard.

#see I:1:10, and note.