An Introduction to Philosophy

By James H. Ryan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE PROBLEM OF THE ONE AND THE MANY

The Problem. -- At the very outset, it is only fair to impress upon the student that the problems of philosophy are of so intricate a character that they cannot be stated always in such clear-cut fashion so that each one forms a distinct question in itself, to which an equally distinct and separate reply can be given. While there are indeed many problems of a most fundamental kind, yet each one of these has relations more or less intimate with other problems, so that a complete answer often entails a reply to questions raised in a totally different field of philosophy. For example, we cannot discuss the central problem of metaphysics, namely, that of the one and the many, without glancing at the same time at the problems of psychology and of epistemology. If the universe is one, it follows that it must be either a materialistic or a spiritualistic universe and if so, all reality, including man, must be either matter or spirit. Likewise, the theory of knowledge which we accept will color our views of the nature of reality, for if consciousness can only know its own states, then, at least as far as knowledge goes, the only universe which exists must be a product of the mind. In philosophy one central problem always leads to another, with the result that it is often of the utmost importance not only to solve correctly a specific question, but to keep constantly before our minds the possible bearings of every solution upon other closely related domains of thought.

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An Introduction to Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Chapter I - Philosophy, Its Meaning, Scope, And Methods 1
  • References 23
  • Chapter II - The Problem of the One and the Many 25
  • References 53
  • Chapter III - The Problem of the Nature of Reality 54
  • References 72
  • Chapter IV - The Psycho-Physical Problem 74
  • References 108
  • Chapter V - The Problem of Life 109
  • References 143
  • Chapter VI - The Problem of Knowledge 144
  • References 201
  • Chapter VII - The Problem of the Nature and Criteria Of Truth 203
  • References 242
  • Chapter VIII - The Problem of Freedom 243
  • References 272
  • Chapter IX - The Problem of Morality 273
  • References 303
  • Chapter X - The Problem of the Self 304
  • References 340
  • Chapter XI - Philosophy, Science, and Religion 341
  • References 392
  • Index 395
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