Congenital Transcendentalism and 'the loneliness which is the truth about things'

Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 33:125-138 (1992)
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I take the phrase ‘congenital transcendentalism’ from Santayana who defined it as ‘the spontaneous feeling that life is a dream’. ‘The loneliness which is the truth about things’ is a phrase of Virginia Woolf's. The thesis I will advance is that many expressions of doubt or denial of the shareable world are self-misunderstood manifestations of the state indicated by Woolf's expression. But the loneliness of which Woolf speaks must not be construed as the kind of loneliness which can be assuaged by family, friends, lovers or company. Nor is it the loneliness which a convinced solipsist might experience. It is rather the loneliness of ‘that “I” and that “life of mine'” which is ‘untouched whichever way the issue is decided whether the world is or is not’



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