Unit 7 - Aiken_19th_Century_Overview

Unit 7 - Aiken_19th_Century_Overview - (from: Great Ages of...

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(from: Great Ages of Western Philosophy, V, The Age of Ideology, The Nineteenth Century Philosophers, selected, with an introduction and interpretative commentary by Henry David Aiken, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1957) Nineteenth Century Philosophy Overview * * * (from: Chapter I, Philosophy and Ideology in the Nineteenth Century ) During the preceding period ( my note: 17 th -18 th century ), philosophers were already much concerned with the problem of method. But they did not, on the whole, seriously doubt that there is a common, independent, and objective reality which can to some ex-tent be understood. Nor did they question whether there is an objective way of thinking about reality, common to all rational animals, which does not radically modify or distort the thing known. Actually they did not deeply ponder the concept of objectivity itself; they merely used it to express a half-conscious conviction about the adequacy of the rational faculty to grasp its object and the correspondence between the thing itself and the thing- as-known. What they called “reason ” was conceived both as the intellectual faculty by which the laws of nature are apprehended and as the principle of order or lawfulness within nature which the intellectual faculty apprehends. The relation between man’s thinking about reality and reality itself was thus regarded as a non-distorting relation of “correspondence.” It was also thought to be a purely “external” relation which in no way affects the inherent character of the thing known. The pre-established harmony of the knowing mind and the real object of knowledge, in such a view, is a divine miracle for which man can only express his gratitude (pp. 14-15). * * * In the Age of Reason, the appeal to reason, or to nature, remained uncritical, precisely because most philosophers shared the same faith in reason and accepted essentially the same body of “rational” principles. Such appeals were no longer possible to Kant and his successors. And because of this they were obliged to undertake that strangest and most
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Unit 7 - Aiken_19th_Century_Overview - (from: Great Ages of...

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