Reason and Life: The Introduction to Philosophy

Reason and Life: The Introduction to Philosophy

Reason and Life: The Introduction to Philosophy

Reason and Life: The Introduction to Philosophy

Excerpt

The book which the reader has before him bears a generic sub-title: The Introduction to Philosophy. It belongs, then, to a literary genre which has been cultivated with some pertinacity for rather more than a century. This book, however, differs not a little, in its structure and content, from works which have been published under the same title in the past. And the reason for this difference is not merely the desire to be original or to improve on the earlier works, but a different idea of philosophy and, even more, of the very sense of talking of an introduction to it.

The ways in which this has been carried out can be reduced to three kinds; sometimes we find a combination of two of them. The first is that of the introductions that can be termed "systematic", that is, those in which the repertory of philosophical problems is briefly set forth and, usually, in these, a system of solutions is indicated. The second is that of the "historical" introduction, which watches the evolution of philosophy in its general outline, with the object of understanding its meaning and trend. The third, less frequent, setting out from the assumption that at whatever point you approach philosophy you make contact with the reality of it, singles out a problem (or group of problems) and attempts to study it in detail; the choice is not a matter of indifference, but the assumption is that, at least in principle, any problem, provided it is an authentic philosophical problem, is valid and may be made use of.

In my opinion, these three kinds of introduction to philosophy are radically deficient. This does not mean that a reader may not, by their means, find his way into philosophy; but this can also be done in many other ways: by the reading of a classical text, the thorough investigation of a scientific question, or just by personal meditation; the fact that these may be used for the end in view is not enough, therefore, to justify them as concrete literary forms fully and efficaciously fulfilling the promise of their usual title: Introduction to Philosophy. We must take this . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.