Philosophical Mysteries is one of a series developing a systematic philosophy of orders and the categories called “Ordinal Pluralism.” To consider it in depth it should be separated neither from its predecessor Transition to an Ordinal Metaphysics nor from its successor Perspective in Whitehead’s Metaphysics. Yet a review cannot enter into the details of Ross’s whole program, nor its exact dependence on that of Justus Buchler’s Metaphysics of Natural Complexes and other interpretations of Buchler’s admirable contribution, such as Beth (...) Singer’s Ordinal Naturalism. (shrink)
It is a commonplace that Marxist theories of order deal with the transition from one order to another, whereas most non-Marxist theories of order, whether of ideas or of societies, stress the stability of some established order, showing how, by gradual modification, it avoids the violence of revolutionary change. Wild's theory is one of the few non-Marxist theories of revolutionary transition. It stresses the breakdown of the mythical order and emergence of cosmic order which repairs the defects of its predecessor (...) and what we are now enduring, the breakdown of the cosmic order. Out of the ruins is growing a new order, the personal order. That philosophers should attend to the transition from order to order is the precept and practice of Whitehead in Adventures of Ideas, and in Modes of Thought. Wild's theory resembles both the Hegelian-Marxian dialectic of orders and the Whiteheadian doctrine of orders. Wild's theory, although it does not mention Whitehead's, is in certain respects more like the latter than the former. Any order is from a perspective with limitations that become evident when we compare it with alternative perspectives; and although this implies that there is no absolute or final order, no framework within which all phenomena fit, it does not imply that there is no order or no knowledge at all. Most Hegelians will find Wild's theory lacking synthesis, and most Marxists would feel Wild had failed to grasp necessity, specifically material necessity, in the process. The transitions spring rather from the inadequacies of personal perspective: any interpretation is bound to the man in his situation and therefore must be superseded. The resemblance of Wild's theory to Whitehead's goes deeper than form because they are moved by esteem for the human individual and distrust of powerful groups that tend to overpower free men. Both refuse to bend the knee to collective order. Wild could well accept as this own this statement from Adventures of Ideas. There are. (shrink)
Although Santayana insisted that his book on Hermann Lotze was merely a journeyman's task imposed upon him by his master Josiah Royce, the evidence of the text is otherwise. Santayana is warmly engaged not only in refuting Royce's absolutism, he is also giving the first expression to his own aesthetic naturalism. Santayana uses Lotze's pluralistic system to rebuke his teacher's monism, particularly when the unity of the world is interpreted as the adventures of a single mind and everything that happens (...) is said to be for its satisfaction. Santayana might have wished to write on Schopenhauer, but in Lotze also he found an ally in the cause against the idolatry of power and human purpose which so oppressed him in the doctrines of divine providence and the secularized version of inevitable progress. (shrink)
A paper on Hume's metaphysics might be exceedingly short: we might say that Hume pricked bubbles but blew none. Most readers of Hume think there is nothing here to write about, unless anti-metaphysics be a form of metaphysics. l Hume's good repute rose with agnosticism and positivism, and it is characteristic of the Germans to credit Hume with being the awakener from dogmatic, that is, metaphysical, slumbers. Add to this those who deplore Hume as the antithesis of classical philosophy, and (...) we have a chorus who would laugh down the claim that Hume had, as he claimed, a system . And indeed who cannot quote Hume's eloquent conclusion about ‘divinity or school metaphysics’: ‘Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion’ ? 2. (shrink)
Paul Elmer More's philosophy was self-styled ‘dualism’, and because developed initially from a student's enthusiasm instigated by a book on Manicheism, has often been misinterpreted. In this paper, on the basis of More's long development, I shall try to survey the nuances of his ‘dualism’ or ‘dualisms’, the various aspects of ‘dualism’ which he developed largely through case studies of thinkers of the past. In a significant way, to parody William James, the Shelburne Essays might well be called ‘The (...) Varieties of Dualistic Experience’, and of course for More ‘dualistic’ was virtually a synonym for ‘religious’. Out of these studies issued a Christian Platonism, or more precisely, a philosophy of the Incarnation, particularly in Christ the Word . The subsequent volume in a series called ‘The Greek Tradition: From the Death of Socrates to the Council of Chalcedon’ is The Catholic Faith . Although More called his dualism ‘absolute’, and it is sometimes presented as ‘absolute dualism’, the ‘sacramental idea’ at the heart of Christianity is said to rest ‘ultimately upon a dualistic conception of the world, in accordance with which matter and spirit are essentially distinct yet mutually interdependent. It implies on the one side that matter can be indefinitely adapted to spiritual uses, and on the other side that spirit requires now, and, so far as our knowledge and imagination reach, will always require the aid of some sort of corporeal instruments. It points to a divine purpose unfolding itself in a continuous process wherein the stuff of existence is…transmuted into an ever finer medium of order and beauty and righteousness and joy. (shrink)
In that ‘Cock and Bull’ story, Tristram Shandy , Laurence Sterne satirises philosophic disputation. Since the subject is a nose, the philosophers, divided already along Catholic and Lutheran lines, become Nosarians and Anti-nosarians. The doctors belong to the two universities of Strasburg. On ‘which side of the nose [would] the two universities split’? 'Tis above reason, cried the doctors on one side. 'Tis below reason, cried the others. 'Tis faith, we cried. 'Tis a fiddle-stick, said the other. 'Tis possible, cried (...) the one. 'Tis impossible, said the other. God's power is infinite, cried the Nosarians, he can do anything. He can do nothing, cried the Antinosarians, which implies contradictions. He can make matter think, said the Nosarians. As certainly as you can make a velvet cap out of a sow's ear, replied the Antinosarians. (shrink)
The main theme is kinds of order considered in relation to one another. Is there a unitary order that underlies experience, existence, and the good? Or is one of those fundamental, and the other two derivative? Or are there such contrasts and differences between certain orders that the furthest we can honestly go is to contrast them, setting one against the other?
It has been forty-four years since an important American philosopher, Ralph Barton Perry, gave two cheers for Puritans in Puritanism and Democracy. Obviously, since we have neglected the deepest heritage of American history and use "Puritan" only in the disparaging sense of "puritanical," Neville must reassure us that he is far from a stereotype. He has written a charmingly personal book. On the cover is the smiling Leonora, a daughter, in white neck piece, as in our pictures of the first (...) Thanksgiving, photographed by her sister Naomi. Bob's gifted artist wife Beth designed the cover of the book, and on the back we see the author enjoying the art of fencing. (shrink)
The concept of order has been subjected to clarification both by Linguistic Analysts and by Phenomenologists. Since the question of the parallelism of the work of these schools, or their overlap and possible collaboration, is now seriously raised, it seems appropriate to examine the methods and results with reference to this common, or similar, problem.
Philosophers have for centuries kept diaries, and these “commonplace books” are, as in the case of Berkeley, G. E. Moore, and Wittgenstein, among their most valuable legacies. The philosopher poised on the edge of discovery hesitates between different answers to an old question. More excitedly, the philosopher may reject old questions and search for words to state a new question to which the answer is unknown.