The Great Wall Crumbles

The Great Wall Crumbles

The Great Wall Crumbles

The Great Wall Crumbles

Excerpt

In the following pages I have endeavoured to outline a metaphysic which affirms the reality of at least three different classes of entity, matter, life, and objects of value. This view naturally presupposes a thoroughgoing pluralism which involves a denial of the conception that the universe is fundamentally a unity, and many will for this reason alone find difficulty in accepting it. Even those who, like the Monadists, argue for a number of distinct and independent spiritual units as ultimate cosmic constituents, do not envisage a qualitative difference in kind between the units thus affirmed.

The desire to affirm a fundamental unity as the nature of the real has dominated most of the great philosophies since the Renaissance. Swayed by this desire, philosophers have endeavoured to bring the heterogeneous elements presented for their consideration under the aegis of a universally applicable formula, or to exhibit them as aspects of an all-embracing unity. In so doing they have been led, or so it seems to me, to do violence to the variety and complexity of the admitted facts of experience.

Starting with no initial presumption in favour of Monism—for there is no necessary reason that I have been able to find, why the universe should be or should be reduced to one thing rather than to two, to π, to e, or to the square root of minus one—I have been constrained by the desire to do full justice to every side of our experience,to admitthe existence of at least three independent reals. That life exists and cannot be adequately represented as an emanation from or offshoot of matter is, I think, matter of agreement among most philosophers. Even among the scientists, the drift away from materialism, at any rate in its nineteenth-century form, grows yearly more marked. I have started, then, from the presumption that the universe, whatever else it may be, is not wholly material. Now most of those who have been concerned to vindicate the autonomy of life have proceeded to claim that it is all-embracing; the assertion that life is a distinct and in some sense independent factor in the universe . . .

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.