The Intelligible World; Metaphysics and Value

The Intelligible World; Metaphysics and Value

The Intelligible World; Metaphysics and Value

The Intelligible World; Metaphysics and Value

Excerpt

In the last resort there are only two kinds of philosophies: those that find the world ultimately meaningful and intelligible and those that do not. The present book claims to belong to the first of these, and as such to be a part, however modest, of the Great Tradition in philosophy. That there is such a tradition -- that it is continuous and is characterized both by common presuppositions and by a common form -- is the underlying thesis of the book. Following an ancient usage, I have given it the name of philosophia perennis. From Plato to Hegel this perennial philosophy has been characterized by the notion of an intelligible world, in some sense "beyond" the sensible and the phenomenal. Hence the title of the book.

In contrast to this tradition -- and often in violent conflict with it -- there has always been a party of more or less organized opposition. To this tendency, as it expresses itself to-day, I have given the name of Modernism in philosophy. When the term "modernism" is used, in religion, in morals, in art -- and even in science -- we are aware, not only of common elements, but also of common presuppositions, which we may call philosophical. Philosophic modernism is from one point of view a new name. for old ways of thinking; from another point of view it represents novel forms of thought, starting from novel premises and ending in quite new and startling conclusions. One of the tasks which I have set myself in the present work is to bring to light the common presuppositions, as well as the more important consequences, of those movements of thought which have been typical of the last quarter-century. I can only express the hope that the exposition, and, as I believe, ultimate exposure of these ways of thinking, may be helpful in enabling the reader to come to grips with the fundamental, spiritual, and philosophical issues of our time.

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