The Ways of Knowing: Or, the Methods of Philosophy

By Wm. Pepperell Montague | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VIII
THE METHOD OF OBJECTIVISM
THERE are three forms of objectivism or naïve realism which are sufficiently distinct and significant to warrant separate expositions. We may name them:
I. Extreme or Primitive Objectivism.
II. Moderate or Common-sense Objectivism.
III. Relativistic or New Objectivism.

I
EXTREME OR PRIMITIVE OBJECTIVISM.

The method of interpreting the epistemological situation which is the most natural, simple, and primitive is to conceive of every experienced object as existing, and as existing independently of the fact that it is experienced. Just as a chair can stand in the relation of nearness to a table without in any way depending for its existence upon that relation, so from this most extreme of realistic standpoints, any object can stand in the relation of being known by someone without being in any way affected thereby. "Things are (apart from us) just what they seem (when experienced by us)." This appears to be the standpoint of the child and the savage. The conception that some of the things that we apprehend exist only as and when we apprehend them is a conception that results from a relatively high degree of reflection. And yet long before that reflection is reached, a distinction is made between such manifestly peculiar events as those that appear in dreams and illusions, and the events that figure in walking life as common

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