In his epistemological system Mead begins with that which the chief philosophers rejected, the novel or exceptional, and makes it central. It is central in a respect which should be carefully explained. The novel or emergent is that with reference to which a present is defined, and a present is the seat of reality. In saying this Mead does not mean that “the past” and “the future” are meaningless terms. Nor does he reduce them to a present. Rather he holds (...) that neither the past nor the future exists. In fact, they are meaningful only in relation to a present and the various pasts and futures referred to in our statement of causal conditions and predictions belong to a present, which is their seat. Mead escapes the metaphysical problem as to whether the past or the future has some sort of being even now. Certainly in so far as he has a metaphysics at all it derives from his epistemology which is primary and represents a pioneering attempt to develop a theory of knowledge answering to experimental science. Consciously or unconsciously most contemporary scientists are still under the influence of bygone epistemological and metaphysical doctrines in their explicit statements of what constitutes reality and knowing. Yet in so far as they are successful in practice obviously they are free from the blind alleys and dead ends which these older theories lead to logically. However no one, not even the philosopher, has been able to formulate a consistent set of epistemological principles from which experimental scientific procedure follows logically. One thing, Mead contends, has been wholly neglected. It is the emergent. (shrink)
It seems that Whitehead's original problem, as evidenced in his earlier works, was epistemological and metaphysical dualism. His method of extensive abstraction is an attempt to bring the factual world and the abstract world of thought together. So far as his books on nature are concerned, then, Whitehead denied the ultimate reality of a static world and accepted the reality of dynamic relations analogous to the relations found in a biological organism.
"If we say that a straight line means a light ray in a vacuum, or means the edge of a sharpened knife, then the statement obtains an exact meaning only if we present the operations by which we produce a ray of light or the edge of a knife.".
This captivating new book, a milestone in Buddhist and comparative studies, is a compilation of seventeen essays celebrating the work and thought of Nolan Pliny Jacobson. A profoundly motivated interdisciplinary thinker, Jacobson sought to discover, clarify, and synthesize points of similarity among leading thinkers of different Oriental and Western cultures. For almost half a century, he articulated his vision of an emerging world civilization, one in which all people can feel and express their creative, constructive powers for the benefit of (...) others as well as for themselves. Jacobson believed that philosophy and the works of philosophers should be understood as a vital force enriching all civilizational experience. His own philosophic perspective was rooted in the conviction that novelty is the source of all experience and the center of a creativity that lives beyond words, arguments, and rational paradigms. Throughout his career, Jacobson explored Buddhist texts and personalities, spending much time in the Orient, particularly Myanmar and Japan. He also closely studied the works of numerous Western philosophers, including Whitehead, Dewey, Peirce, James, Hartshorne, and Wieman. Jacobson believed that American philosophy and Buddhism concurred in many ways, with the potential to form a powerful basis for the development of a world civilization. The essays in this volume are organized around Jacobson’s activities, publications, and interests. Authored by an impressive selection of scholars, the essays are grouped into four sections—"Historical Context," "Central Issues," "Practical Implications," and "The Japan Emphasis." Hajime Nakamura, Charles Hartshorne, Kenneth K. Inada, Seizo Oho, and numerous others discuss freedom, creativity, and Buddhism’s self-corrective nature, setting forth their reasons for sharing Jacobson’s ideas and visions. (shrink)
From the scientific standpoint, then, the crucial question concerning vitalism and mechanism is this: Does the belief in, or even a knowledge of, the existence of a vital principle have any scientific value? That is, can such a principle be of help in understanding phenomena scientifically, remembering that "scientific understanding" means to most scientists the ability to predict and control?
Today there is almost universal agreement among scientists and philosophers that no factual statement or hypothesis about the world of fact has meaning apart from experienceable phenomena. In general we say we must find evidence for every hypothesis or theory before we can consider it as even probably true. But when we state the relationship between hypotheses and evidence in this way, by implication we are still holding that hypotheses have priority over data or that the function of data is (...) to support pre-conceived ideas. This is, by implication, and acknowledgment of the primacy of rationalism over empiricism or of reason over sense data, or of explanation over that which is to be explained. (shrink)
In this article we will explain and defend the proposition: “A statement which prescribes the conditions for its verification is a scientific statement.” We will confine our consideration to factual statements alone, although it may be true that our proposed proposition refers to formal, analytic statements also.If prescribing the conditions for its verification is the only necessary qualification for a statement to be scientific then obviously the means of arriving at such a statement is irrelevant. It does not matter whether (...) we have performed many experiments or none before making a scientific statement. There are, of course, reasons for having a systematic method of arriving at the formulation of scientific statements, but this does not make them more, or less, scientific. (shrink)