Descrying the Ideal: The Philosophy of John William Miller

By Stephen Tyman | Go to book overview

5
Causes and Things

To one who feels called upon to advocate "reality" in opposition to idealism the issue often turns on the sanctity of things and their relations. We are, after all (are we not?) real entities ourselves caught up in the environment of other real entities, and this in such a way that what is possible for us is established by this limiting and constraining reality. Now this second point, given as a supporting consideration to the first, undoubtedly fails quite to exhaust the initial intention, for this is not really an entirely rational affair. We all know (do we not?) that there is a real world independent of us, that the very meaning of its worldhood is that it is so independent. And we all feel (must we not?) that to be deprived of this reality would be to lose our greatest resource of meaning, our only stability, and to lose all security of belonging. Therefore one inclines to fight for the reality of the world and what is in it with all the fangs and claws of the cornered beast, instead of the equipoise of the smooth intellectual titillated to thought by the challenge of a puzzle, weighing the pros and the cons for reality itself.

This is apparently as it should be, so far as it goes with the ingredient of emotion. Now emotion itself is surely more than a mere intensifier of what is first rationally understood, and

-94-

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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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