Academic Illusions in the Field of Letters and the Arts: A Survey, a Criticism, a New Approach, and a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Study of Letters and Arts

By Martin Schütze | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
A THEORY OF INTEGRAL VARIABLES

A work of letters and arts is a closed organic whole, which cannot be reduced to elements of dialectic-absolutistic deduction ("conceptual universals") or of factualistic inference, i.e., to constants of generalization having their centers of relation in meanings not ultimately determined by such a work; but only to elements of ultimately integral unity within such a work. These elements represent a type of abstract thought different from, and coordinate to, the type which is characterized by constants. Thought in terms of integral variables is an ultimate and authentic process of understanding and "cognition," i.e., of rationality. The fundamental fault of the academic tradition in the study of letters and arts, or the humanities, has been the substitution of constants, or external reflections, for the proper integral variables, or meanings of intrinsic consistency. The principle of cultural personality. The problem of absolute existentiality, involving the two fundamental modes of organizing experience, and personality, or the "soul." Implications of the integrality of personality. Integral personality in a philosophy of life. How is personality understood? Poetic-artistic-cultural "idea" or meaning and its proper evidence. Some fundamental theses.

We have simplified in our survey the multitudinous academic approaches to the meanings, forms, and values of the humanities, to two principal types, namely, dialectic absolutism in its two chief variants of "rationalistic-classic" and "irrationalistic-romantic" speculation, and of factualism. From these academic types we have differentiated a third type, generally misinterpreted and rejected in the academic tradition, namely, vitalistic individualistic naturalism, which was developed ultimately by Herder into his theory of historic-genetic- organic personality.

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