Knowledge, Life and Reality: An Essay in Systematic Philosophy

By Trumbull Ladd George | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

PHILOSOPHY aims to reach a point of view from which all the various aspects, and indeed the entire history, of human experience shall appear as forming some sort of a Unity. As a speculation, it strives after a synthesis that shall seem to harmonize the conflicting thoughts and imaginings to which human life, under its present conditions, unceasingly gives rise. As a so-called "science of the sciences," it would gladly afford a sympathetic and authoritative interpretation to each one of the particular sciences, in such manner as to satisfy and confirm them all. But from its very nature, the aims and efforts of philosophy are destined to only an incomplete fulfillment. The problems of human life and of physical nature, as they appear to the unscientific mind, are sufficiently complicated. But all the researches and discoveries of the positive sciences only serve to disclose even more perplexing and profound problems. So far, however, as these belong within the sphere of science, strictly so-called, they admit, more or less freely, of the application to their solution of scientific methods. These are the methods of direct observation of facts or the critical examination of historical evidence, and of generalization on the basis of these facts,--aided, whenever this is applicable to the subject, by mathematical calculations, and verified or corrected by experimental demonstration. Where science ends, and philosophy begins--although it must be confessed that in practice no clear line of demarcation is universally available--such strictly scientific methods cannot be employed. Critical and reflective thinking over the material provided by the various aspects of human experience, as al-

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