The Ways of Knowing: Or, the Methods of Philosophy

By Wm. Pepperell Montague | Go to book overview

cendental certainties of the philosophers we could substitute the modest phrase working hypotheses," a great deal of needless criticism would be obviated; and even the more extravagant conclusions of those who speculate about the universe would receive a patient and sympathetic hearing.

To sum up: the negative method of scepticism should have a place in the federation along with the five positive methods as a necessary prophylactic for each of them, and as a constant reminder of the limitations of human faculty and the need of tolerance and open-mindedness, especially on the part of philosophers.


CONCLUSION.

We have now completed the first half of our undertaking, viz., a survey of the branch of methodology comprising the problems of the philosophy of logic. Treating logic, not in the restricted sense of a science consisting of rules for getting valid conclusions by deduction and induction from premises already accepted, but in the broader sense of a philosophical inquiry as to the sources of human belief and the consequent criteria for determining its truth, we outlined six distinct attitudes or theories which have been held with regard to the problem. These theories which we named Authoritarianism, Mysticism, Rationalism, Empiricism, Pragmatism, and Scepticism, were each of them based upon an attempt to extend a definitely given source of knowledge into a controlling method for the determination of truth. These definitely given sources from which the methods severally take their origin are testimony, intuition, reason, sense-perception, practice, and doubt. We began by considering the theories separately in a manner designed to emphasize their divergencies. And in connection with each we devoted some time to a consideration of both the ontological and the ethical beliefs which were usually affiliated with them. These separate expositions and criticisms were followed by the more comparative and eirenical treatment of the present chapter, in which we have endeavoured to show, I. that, in spite of the divergencies of the various logical theories, they are nevertheless

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