Beyond Realism and Idealism

By Wilbur Marshall Urban | Go to book overview
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Chapter V
Beyond Realism and Idealism: Reconciliation, Vital and Theoretical. The Concilience of Idealism and Realism.

I --


WE have now stated the conditions of any transcendence of the opposition of realism and idealism. In the present chapter I propose to attempt to show how on the basis of the recognition of these conditions it is possible to argue for the positive reconciliation of the two positions. This involves the development more fully of the argument suggested at the conclusion of the preceding chapter.

In the introductory chapter we stated in a general way the programme of this part of our study. The necessity of both positions and of the values which they presuppose -- for the individual and social like alike -- constituted the starting point of our problem. Life, we there maintained, creates the opposition, but life also knows how to reconcile it. 'This vital reconciliation gives us a right,' we further maintained, 'to expect that a mode of reconciliation can be found in theory as in life, as indeed normal to the entire process of consciousness.' 'Life,' it is true, solves only 'existential' problems, never theoretical questions, but it is equally true that no theoretical questions can be permanently solved if the solution does not, in the last analysis, relate itself to the vital problems of existence.

But how shall we state this vital reconciliation in terms of theory? There are, in general, three ways in which this solution may conceivably be attempted. We may describe them respectively as (a) the psychological; (b) the pragmatic; (c) the dialectical or metalogical.

The idea of a vital reconciliation, and of one normal to the entire processes of consciousness leads naturally to the notion that the problem is in essence psychological and can be solved only by transferring it to the psychological universe of discourse. This solution has actually been proposed by C. G. Jung.

The argument developed by Jung is extraordinarily suggestive. He points out 'how, as a rule, the partisans of the opposing positions attack each other fiercely externally, always seeking


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