The Ways of Knowing: Or, the Methods of Philosophy

By Wm. Pepperell Montague | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

THE grand divisions of philosophy are: I. Methodology, II. Metaphysics, and III. Theory of Value.

The Theory of Value is concerned with the nature of ideals and with the ways in which they may be made actual. It may be subdivided into: (1) the study of the good and of the means of realizing it in conduct, which is Ethics; and (2) the study of the beautiful and of the means of realizing it in art, which is Æsthetics.

Metaphysics is concerned with all questions of a general and fundamental character as to the nature of the real. It may be subdivided into: (1) Analytical Metaphysics or Ontology, which is the study of the basic categories of the sciences; and (2) Synthetic Metaphysics or Cosmology, which is the study of the generic conclusions of the sciences, and which, by the inter-relating of these, produces a unified picture of the world as a whole.

Methodology may be subdivided into: (1) Logic, and (2) Epistemology, which deal respectively with the ways of attaining and with the ways of interpreting knowledge.

It is clear that these three main divisions of philosophy are partly, though only partly, independent of one another. What ought to be in the way of goodness and beauty is not necessarily determined by what actually exists. To that extent the ideals of ethics and aesthetics are independent of the conclusions of metaphysics. But the manner in which our ideals can be realized is obviously controlled by the kind of world we live in; hence, from the standpoint of the practical moralist and artist the philosophy of values is to some extent bound up with the theories of metaphysics. The same mixture of dependence and independence is to be found in the relation between metaphysics and methodology. What criteria we shall use to attain truth will depend largely upon the nature of the reality

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