Facts of Life Presentation, In Accordance with the Natural Worlds Universal Truths

'Facts of Life' Presentation, In Accordance with the Natural World's Universal Truths
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Such an explanation, however, is itself a lesson in philosophy, and properly falls within the scope of the science itself. A preliminary attempt to make matters plain would only be unphilosophical, and consist of a tissue of assumptions, assertions, and inferential pros and cons, i. A main line of argument in the Critical Philosophy bids us pause before proceeding to inquire into God or into the true being of things, and tells us first of all to examine the faculty of cognition and see whether it is equal to such an effort.

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We ought, says Kant, to become acquainted with the instrument, before we undertake the work for which it is to be employed; for if the instrument be insufficient, all our trouble will be spent in vain. The plausibility of this suggestion has won for it general assent and admiration; the result of which has been to withdraw cognition from an interest in its objects and absorption in the study of them, and to direct it back upon itself; and so turn it to a question of form.

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Unless we wish to be deceived by words, it is easy to see what this amounts to. In the case of other instruments, we can try and criticise them in other ways than by setting about the special work for which they are destined. But the examination of knowledge can only be carried out by an act of knowledge. To examine this so-called instrument is the same thing as to know it. But to seek to know before we know is as absurd as the wise resolution of Scholasticus, not to venture into the water until he had learned to swim. Reinhold saw the confusion with which this style of commencement is chargeable, and tried to get out of the difficulty by starting with a hypothetical and problematical stage of philosophising.

In this way he supposed that it would be possible, nobody can tell how, to get along, until we found ourselves, further on, arrived at the primary truth of truths. His method, when closely looked into, will be seen to be identical with a very common practice. It starts from a substratum of experiential fact, or from a provisional assumption which has been brought into a definition; and then proceeds to analyse this starting-point.

But his perceiving this does not alter the character of this method; it only makes clear its imperfections. The special conditions which call for the existence of philosophy may be thus described. The mind or spirit, when it is sentient or perceptive, finds its object in something sensuous; when it imagines, in a picture or image; when it wills, in an aim or end. But in contrast to, or it may be only in distinction from, these forms of its existence and of its objects, the mind has also to gratify the cravings of its highest and most inward life.

That innermost self is thought. Thus the mind renders thought its object.

Alfred North Whitehead

In the best meaning of the phrase, it comes to itself; for thought is its principle, and its very unadulterated self. But while thus occupied, thought entangles itself in contradictions, i. This result, to which honest but narrow thinking leads the mere understanding, is resisted by the loftier craving of which we have spoken. To see that thought in its very nature is dialectical, and that, as understanding, it must fall into contradiction — the negative of itself — will form one of the main lessons of logic.

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The surface of this super-salty lake is 1, feet m below sea level. It follows that i there is no gunk , i. Aristotle, Eratosthenes , and Strabo didn't call themselves scientists, yet they were using the process of science by making observations and providing explanations for those observations. For, like concretism, combinatorialism purports to be a reductive account of modality, an account of possible worlds that does not depend ultimately on modal notions see Armstrong , Oxford: Blackwell, pp. This saucy fresh book will have all demanding that the definition of wild horses free-roaming on America's Wilderness Preserves be corrected to 'Mustangs. Errors and other infelicities that remain are of course the sole responsibility of the author.

When thought grows hopeless of ever achieving, by its own means, the solution of the contradiction which it has by its own action brought upon itself, it turns back to those solutions of the question with which the mind had learned to pacify itself in some of its other modes and forms.

The rise of philosophy is due to these cravings of thought. Its point of departure is Experience; including under that name both our immediate consciousness and the inductions from it. Awakened, as it were, by this stimulus, thought is vitally characterised by raising itself above the natural state of mind, above the senses and inferences from the senses into its own unadulterated element, and by assuming, accordingly, at first a stand-aloof and negative attitude towards the point from which it started.

Through this state of antagonism to the phenomena of sense its first satisfaction is found in itself, in the Idea of the universal essence of these phenomena: an Idea the Absolute, or God which may be more or less abstract. Meanwhile, on the other hand, the sciences, based on experience, exert upon the mind a stimulus to overcome the form in which their varied contents are presented, and to elevate these contents to the rank of necessary truth.

For the facts of science have the aspect of a vast conglomerate, one thing coming side by side with another, as if they were merely given and presented — as in short devoid of all essential or necessary connection. In consequence of this stimulus, thought is dragged out of its unrealised universality and its fancied or merely possible satisfaction, and impelled onwards to a development from itself.

On one hand this development only means that thought incorporates the contents of science, in all their speciality of detail as submitted. On the other it makes these contents imitate the action of the original creative thought, and present the aspect of a free evolution determined by the logic of the fact alone.

see url Thus the knowledge of God, as of every supersensible reality, is in its true character an exaltation above sensations or perceptions: it consequently involves a negative attitude to the initial data of sense, and to that extent implies mediation. For to mediate is to take something as a beginning and to go onward to a second thing; so that the existence of this second thing depends on our having reached it from something else contradistinguished from it.

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In spite of this, the knowledge of God is no mere sequel, dependent on the empirical phase of consciousness: in fact, its independence is essentially secured through this negation and exaltation. No doubt, if we attach an unfair prominence to the fact of mediation, and represent it as implying a state of conditionedness, it may be said — not that the remark would mean much — that philosophy is the child of experience, and owes its rise to a posteriori fact. As a matter of fact, thinking is always the negation of what we have immediately before us. With as much truth however we may be said to owe eating to the means of nourishment, so long as we can have no eating without them.

If we take this view, eating is certainly represented as ungrateful: it devours that to which it owes itself. Thinking, upon this view of its action, is equally ungrateful. But there is also an a priori aspect of thought, where by a mediation, not made by anything external but by a reflection into self, we have that immediacy which is universality, the selfcomplacency of thought which is so much at home with itself that it feels an innate indifference to descend to particulars, and in that way to the development of its own nature.

It is thus also with religion, which whether it be rude or elaborate, whether it be invested with scientific precision of detail or confined to the simple faith of the heart, possesses, throughout, the same intensive nature of contentment and felicity. But if thought never gets further than the universality of the Ideas, as was perforce the case in the first philosophies when the Eleatics never got beyond Being, or Heraclitus beyond Becoming , it is justly open to the charge of formalism.

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Bearing in mind this first period of thought, the period of mere generality, we may safely say that experience is the real author of growth and advance in philosophy. For, firstly, the empirical sciences do not stop short at the mere observation of the individual features of a phenomenon. By the aid of thought, they are able to meet philosophy with materials prepared for it, in the shape of general uniformities, i.

When this is done, the particular facts which they contain are ready to be received into philosophy. This, secondly, implies a certain compulsion on thought itself to proceed to these concrete specific truths.

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The reception into philosophy of these scientific materials, now that thought has removed their immediacy and made them cease to be mere data, forms at the same time a development of thought out of itself. Philosophy, then, owes its development to the empirical sciences. In return it gives their contents what is so vital to them, the freedom of thought — gives them, in short, an a priori character. These contents are now warranted necessary, and no longer depend on the evidence of facts merely, that they were so found and so experienced.

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The fact as experienced thus becomes an illustration and a copy of the original and completely self-supporting activity of thought. Stated in exact terms, such is the origin and development of philosophy. But the History of Philosophy gives us the same process from a historical and external point of view. The stages in the evolution of the Idea there seem to follow each other by accident, and to present merely a number of different and unconnected principles, which the several systems of philosophy carry out in their own way.

But it is not so. For these thousands of years the same Architect has directed the work: and that Architect is the one living Mind whose nature is to think, to bring to self-consciousness what it is, and, with its being thus set as object before it, to be at the same time raised above it, and so to reach a higher stage of its own being. The different systems which the history of philosophy presents are therefore not irreconcilable with unity.

We may either say, that it is one philosophy at different degrees of maturity: or that the particular principle, which is the groundwork of each system, is but a branch of one and the same universe of thought. In philosophy the latest birth of time is the result of all the systems that have preceded it, and must include their principles; and so, if, on other grounds, it deserve the title of philosophy, will be the fullest, most comprehensive, and most adequate system of all. The spectacle of so many and so various systems of philosophy suggests the necessity of defining more exactly the relation of Universal to Particular.

When the universal is made a mere form and co-ordinated with the particular, as if it were on the same level, it sinks into a particular itself. Even common sense in everyday matters is above the absurdity of setting a universal beside the particulars. Would any one, who wished for fruit, reject cherries, pears, and grapes, on the ground that they were cherries, pears, or grapes, and not fruit? But when philosophy is in question, the excuse of many is that philosophies are so different, and none of them is the philosophy — that each is only a philosophy.

Such a plea is assumed to justify any amount of contempt for philosophy. And yet cherries too are fruit. Often, too, a system, of which the principle is the universal, is put on a level with another of which the principle is a particular, and with theories which deny the existence of philosophy altogether. Such systems are said to be only different views of philosophy.

With equal justice, light and darkness might be styled different kinds of light. The same evolution of thought which is exhibited in the history of philosophy is presented in the System of Philosophy itself. Here, instead of surveying the process, as we do in history, from the outside, we see the movement of thought clearly defined in its native medium. The thought, which is genuine and self-supporting, must be intrinsically concrete; it must be an Idea; and when it is viewed in the whole of its universality, it is the Idea, or the Absolute. The science of this Idea must form a system.

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For the truth is concrete; that is, while it gives a bond and principle of unity, it also possesses an internal source of development. Truth, then, is only possible as a universe or totality of thought; and the freedom of the whole, as well as the necessity of the several sub-divisions, which it implies, are only possible when these are discriminated and defined.

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Unless it is a system, a philosophy is not a scientific production. Unsystematic philosophising can only be expected to give expression to personal peculiarities of mind, and has no principle for the regulation of its contents. Apart from their interdependence and organic union, the truths of philosophy are valueless, and must then be treated as baseless hypotheses, or personal convictions.

Yet many philosophical treatises confine themselves to such an exposition of the opinions and sentiments of the author.