Basal Concepts in Philosophy: An Inquiry Into Being, Non-being, and Becoming

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Scribner, 1894 - Metaphysics - 308 pages
"The motive of this volume is a desire to restore the primacy of certain conceptions which are in danger of disappearing from our modern thinking, and to reform others which, as I think, have been wrongly or inadequately conceived. Reflection has led me to dissent from monistic pantheism on the one hand, and from agnosticism on the other, two of the leading tendencies in the thought of our century, and to seek a metaphysical basis for philosophy that may adequately ground a rational theory of knowledge and being. With this end in view, I have sought to reconstruct philosophy upon the trinal categories of being, non-being, and becoming, and also to reform the current methods of metaphysics by showing that a completely rational idea of being can be achieved only when we represent it under our highest and most concrete categories and translate it into self-conscious personal spirit. The result is a spiritualistic metaphysic which leads us to ground the world of reality in an Absolute possessed of supreme intelligence, goodness, and love. The order in which the basal concepts emerged in my own thinking, is substantially as follows: Having, by historic study and reflection, become convinced of the identity of the logos with the principle of conscious personality, I began to see its value as a means of penetrating the opaque absolute of the agnostic creed, and obtaining an intelligible conception of its inner nature and connection with the relative. The application of the logos-category led directly to the personal construction of being and to the idea of the Absolute as personal, self-conscious spirit. It was at this point that the dualistic light came to me in an intuition of the immanent movement or dialectic of spirit. For it became clear that the activity of a self-conscious spirit must be first of all intellectual, and that its primal intellection would be dual in its nature, including a positive intuition of being's self or the logos, and a negative intuition of its not-self or the a-logos. And reflection made it clear also that the logos and a-logos are primal and mutually exclusive opposites, and that while spiritual being is to be conceived as exercising internally the activity which intuites the positive and negative terms, yet the object of the negative intuition, the a-logos, must be excluded from being as its opposite; that is, as non-being. The exclusion of non-being from being as its opposite, never to be identified with it, laid the foundations of a dualistic creed, and through it of a reform of spiritual dialectic in the direction of a non-pantheistic theory of creation and the connection of the Absolute with the sphere of relativity. For it became clear that the primal intuition of non-being would motive an outgo of volitional energy into the negative sphere for its suppression and annulment and that the nature generated out of it would not be pure being but becoming, a creature including in its constitution opposite moments of being and non-being. Thus, through the conception of the negative datum, I began to see that an answer might be forthcoming to the hitherto unresolved problem, why the creative energy of the Absolute falls short of an absolute result and only produces the finite and imperfect. The book itself must answer the question how far the solution is to be regarded as satisfactory"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
 

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Page 65 - James sees now the primordial fact of our immediate experience to be that of the specious present , the practically cognized present is no knife-edge , but a saddle-back, with a certain breadth of its own on which we sit perched, and from which we look in two directions into time.
Page 65 - there be three times, past, present, and to come:" yet perchance it might be properly said, "there be three times; a present of things past, a present of things present, and a present of things future.
Page 127 - ... sin. But so smoothly and so inevitably, as we have before said, did he always appear to follow that law of the moral order, which to us it costs such effort to obey, that only in the very wrench and pressure of his violent death did any pain of dying, any conflict between the law of the flesh and the law of the spirit, in Christ become visible.
Page iii - THE motive of this volume is a desire to restore the primacy of certain conceptions which are in danger of disappearing from our modern thinking, and to reform others which, as I think, have been wrongly or inadequately conceived.
Page iii - The order in which the basal concepts emerged in my own thinking, is substantially as follows : Having, by historic study and reflection, become convinced of the identity of the logos with the principle of conscious personality, I began to see its value as a means of penetrating the opaque absolute of the agnostic creed, and obtaining an intelligible conception of its inner nature and connection with the relative. The application of the...
Page 16 - The intuition of this is as old as Socrates and Plato. In modern philosophy Hegel is the one thinker whose system has embodied the insight most clearly *• and adequately ; and for this reason, in spite of all its shortcomings, Hegelism reaches the high-water mark of modern speculation. Its failure, therefore, to ground rationally the sphere of relativity in the Absolute has thrown modern thought back upon itself in a wave of philosophic despair.
Page 39 - Non-being as an objective and antithetic term in reality thus arises as a necessary consequence of being itself when conceived as spirit and construed in the light of the logos-principle. How, then, can the category of non-being be shown to be philosophically necessary ? Its value arises chiefly as a principle of disjunction and discrimination. So applied it brings some vital philosophical conceptions to the birth which it would otherwise be very difficult
Page 40 - The negative sphere is being's opposite, and is negative in the sense that it lacks the ground-principle of self-existence which is the essence of being. Logically then, a creature originating in this sphere will be relative and mutable, its ground and rationale being not in itself but in another. In the idea of the negative we thus find the key to a problem over which all philosophy has puzzled ; namely, how an absolute energy could produce a creature that is only relative. The outgoing energy can...
Page 39 - In the first place it makes a disjunction between the immanent and the exeunt energizing of the Absolute not only conceivable but also rational, in the motive it supplies for it in spirit's intuition of its own negative and opposite. The very self-assertion of being which is its essence will lead it to assert itself against and upon its opposite for its suppression and annulment.
Page 36 - Non-being cannot be conceived as any kind of activity, or as a potency out of which anything develops. It has no type and can be represented by no positive, constructive categories. It negates all positive predication. The only guiding clew we can have to its characterization is that of antithesis and opposition.

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