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HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

INTRODUCTION

§ 1. Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Science PAILOSOPHY is the search for a comprehensive view of nature, an attempt at a universal explanation of things. It is both the summary of the sciences and their completion; both general science and a specialty distinguished from science proper; and, like its elder sisters, religion and poetry, forms a separate branch among the manifestations of the human mind,

The different sciences have special groups of facts for their subject-matter, and seek to discover the causes of these phenomena, or to formulate the laws according to which they are produced. In philosophy, on the other hand, the human mind endeavors to rise beyond such groups and their particular laws, and to explain the world as a whole, or the universal fact or phenomenon, by the cause of the causes, or the first cause. In other words, it attempts to answer the question, Why does this world exist, and how does it happen to be what it is ? 1

1 As a search for the first cause, philosophy is defined, more par. ticularly, as metaphysics, ontology, or speculative philosophy. The philosophy which abandons this search, and contents itself with being scientific synthesis, is called positive philosophy or positivism. Posi. tivism may simply be grounded upon the historical fact that systems constantly contradict each other, in which case it rests on a purely empirical basis, or it may be based upon the rational analysis of the human understanding. In the former case, it is scepticism, in the latter, criticism. Opposed to scepticism we have dogmatism, that is, the naïve or deliberate belief in the ability of the human mind to But though philosophy has its own subject-matter and e separate sphere of its own, it is none the less connected with positive science by the closest of ties; and science cannot break these bonds without danger to itself. It is from the positive sciences, and particularly from psychology and allied branches, that philosophy derives its methods and the matter for its systems. The sciences, without phil. osophy, are an aggregate without unity, a body without a soul; philosophy, without the sciences, is a soul without a body, differing in nothing from poetry and its dreams. Science is the indispensable foundation and the matter, as reach an objective knowledge of things and their first cause. Ration.alism claims to arrive at this knowledge by a priori reasoning; empiricism assumes no other method than observation and induction, or a posteriori reasoning. Pure, or a priori, speculation is the method preferred by idealism, which regards thought as the original fact, prior and superior to all reality. Empiricism, on the contrary, is based upon the view that thought, far from being the first cause, is derived from a preexisting reality; that is, upon realism in the modern sense of the word. (See also $ 33.) When the action of the first cause is considered unconscious and involuntary, as distinguished from teleological (or making for an end), realism becomes materialism and mechanism. Idealism in turn becomes spiritualism when it personifies the first cause, and regards it, not merely as an idea that realizes itself, but also as a being that hovers above things (supranaturalism, transcendentalism) and governs them according to its free-will (theism), or by means of unchangeable laws (deism); this is the dualism of mind and matter, of creator and nature, as opposed to pantheism, naturalism, or monism. Pantheism, naturalism, or monism identifies the idea of cause with the con pt of substance, and considers the first cause as the innermost substance of things (immanency of God), and the totality of its modes or phenomena, the universe, as a living unity (monism), as one and the same collective being governed according to the laws which follow from its own nature (naturalism). Monism is either absolute or plural, according as it considers the cosmic substance as an absolute unity, or as a collection of irreducible unities; it is atomism or dynamism, according as these unities are regarded as infinitely small extensions (atoms), or as absolutely unextended centres of force (dyna mides or monads).

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