The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking

The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking

The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking

The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking

Excerpt

I am very conscious of the incomplete character of this study. That is partly due to my own deficiencies; perhaps it is also partly due to the present state of the subject. We are, I believe, at the end of a period of metaphysical thinking; and the proper method and scope of a new constructive movement of metaphysics, in relation to logic, science and religion, has yet to be determined. In the meantime, though few of us may be able to embark upon systematic metaphysics in the grand style, we are perhaps justified in making the venture of writing, and so inviting criticism, if we can see a line of thought concerning method which may prove capable of further development. To make the venture may be the more necessary in present circumstances, when we have few opportunities of face-to-face discussion.

The general view which I am putting forward in this book is that metaphysics starts from the articulation of relationships, which are judged to be constitutive of an experience or experiences in a significant way. (I have tried to show what might be meant by "significance" here by considering the notion of "Importance".) A conceptual expression of such a relationship is then extended analogically as a co-ordinating idea, in terms of which further ranges of experience may be interpreted; or it is used in making a judgment concerning the nature of "reality". I am convinced that metaphysics is in some sense an analogical way of thinking; and that we should not leave it exclusively to the Thomists to explore its possibilities in this respect. But I can well believe that the indications I have given of the kinds of judgment and evaluations which may underlie the selection of metaphysical analogies, and still more what I have said about their scope, limits and justification, may need supplementing . . .

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