Conditions of Rational Inquiry: A Study in the Philosophy of Value

Conditions of Rational Inquiry: A Study in the Philosophy of Value

Conditions of Rational Inquiry: A Study in the Philosophy of Value

Conditions of Rational Inquiry: A Study in the Philosophy of Value

Excerpt

A reader on opening a book may expect an indication, at least in general terms, of the themes to be discussed in it; but in the present case I find myself in some difficulty. Among the older logicians 'judgement' was a recognized topic -- judgement viewed in one way at least. And the phrase 'value judgement' has also a fairly wide currency. But little need seems to have been felt of bringing the two notions together, nor again of linking them with a third, which I can hardly even find a plain or simple name for: let me call it merely thought, conceived as a process or growth, or progressive inquiry. It will be, perhaps, the best statement of my general aim to say that I hope to establish connexions holding between these several concepts which may serve to make all of them more intelligible.

To say that one cannot even express one's project in any existing language may sound too like a huge claim to originality. But after all we can name one set of humps rather than another as a single hill or ridge of hills, and not alter the landscape; the change nonetheless has its significance. It is, I fear, bibliographically inconvenient; for such a plan must overrun the departments of logic and ethics, and perhaps of epistemology too. But I have to confess that I am not convinced that the breaking-down of bibliographical departments, tiresome as it may be, is always entirely reprehensible in one who sets out to be a philosopher. One cannot but follow where the argument seems to lead, but I admit that if I have followed it rightly it leads over very various ground. Along with 'value judgement' we have another, older notion, also much discussed, that of 'moral judgement'; indeed, though the two cannot be strictly coextensive, they are often taken as introducing much the same topics. And together they are treated as largely self-contained. My contention shall be, on the contrary, that a proper prolegomena to moral philosophy, at least to . . .

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