Descrying the Ideal: The Philosophy of John William Miller

By Stephen Tyman | Go to book overview

2
The Active Psyche

The last chapter has shown John William Miller to have a unique approach to the question of epistemology. What his theory of act tends toward is in fact a solution to the enigma of epistemology precisely by departing from its field of questioning at the decisive point. One might say, then, that for Miller metaphysics or ontology supersedes epistemology. One could as easily say that Miller resists "epistemologism," the view that issues of method and procedure take precedence over structural or doctrinal ones. In order to understand the full nature of Miller's resistance here, though, we must come to a deeper sense of the scope and implication of Miller's alternative.

We have made a first pass at this problem by saying that Miller thinks foundationally the structural characteristics of the kind of mediate life he calls the midworld. We live directly and immediately in this medium that Miller says must be presented in the active voice: it is accessible only through one's own enactment even while it bears, in the strictly formal register, a surplus of meaning such that it can at the same time be thought as the condition that enables that activity to occur.

We have also made a start toward appreciating the profound sense in which Miller is committed to the efficacy and

-22-

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Descrying the Ideal: The Philosophy of John William Miller
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • 1 - View from the Midworld 1
  • 2 - The Active Psyche 22
  • 3 - Ethos and Responsibility 44
  • 4 - Refractions of Historicity 69
  • 5 - Causes and Things 94
  • 6 - Idealism and Disclosure 115
  • Notes 133
  • Works By John William Miller 137
  • Bibliography 139
  • Index 143
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