The City of Reason

The City of Reason

The City of Reason

The City of Reason

Excerpt

In this book I have tried to state a philosophy of liberalism based on A. N. Whitehead's metaphysics of creative advance. My thesis is that man is inwardly free and, therefore, ought to be free outwardly. Man is inwardly free by virtue of his reason. Hence, the liberal ideal is a society which protects and promotes the exercise of that capacity: The City of Reason.

The book is not concerned with the form which particular institutions, political and social, might take in such a society. Rather it is concerned with the philosophical ideas which support the theory of a free society. It asks what reason is and why men ought to live by it. The answers which it suggests are derived from a Christian interpretation of Whitehead's philosophy. From that philosophy it derives a conception of reason as a method of inquiry, as an ideal of conduct, and as a kind of knowledge pointing toward the central intuitions of religious experience.

I have approached this task from a familiar problem of philosophy as it is raised anew by certain versions of modern skepticism. I have called that problem the problem of purpose. It might equally well be called the problem of irrationalism, or, even better, the problem of fatality: Why should man try to control his future and make his history in a world which seems to be governed by a blind and lawless fate? The doubt which this problem casts on many of the assumptions of science and ethics is examined and pressed home in the first two parts of the book. In developing this point I have been led to consider such matters as the problem of induction, Karl Mannheim's sociology of knowledge and John Dewey's theory of creative intelligence, as well as certain aspects of the Rousseauist, Kantian, and Hegelian theories of ethics and society, and of the Marxist philosophy of history. The third . . .

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