Beyond Realism and Idealism

By Wilbur Marshall Urban | Go to book overview
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Chapter X
Realism, Idealism and Philosophia Perennis. Epilogue.

I --


THE theme, Beyond Realism and Idealism, has now been developed through the various stages of the argument as outlined in our introductory statement of the problem. Whether the general argument is convincing or the more specific attempt at a conciliation of realism and idealism of the preceding chapter is found tenable must be left for the reader to decide. In any case, nothing more can be added to the argument itself. There is, however, still a question that may significantly be raised. Granted that the case has been made out with some degree of convincingness, what is its meaning for philosophy and for the general culture of which philosophy is always the epitome?

That significance, I am bold enough to believe, would be very great. In the first place, if this position could be maintained, it would, as I have already suggested, free philosophy from many of the inhibitions from which it is now suffering and release its energies for the genuine problems of speculative thought which it has so long suppressed. In the second place, it would re-unite philosophy with the great stream of philosophia perennis from which it has been so long estranged. Since I believe both of these to be fundamental desiderata of our present culture this epilogue becomes an important part of our general study.


The arrest of spiritual initiative is an outstanding fact of our modern culture. The sources of our inhibitions are many and varied, but underlying them all is, I believe, the deep-seated feeling that there is no answer to the demand -- as fundamental as life itself -- we must know! Positivism in its various forms has sought to meet this depression by telling us that the problems generated by this demand are not genuine problems at all, but the human mind knows that this is not true. If these problems are meaningless, so also is life itself, for science as a human


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