Philosophic Thought in France and the United States: Essays Representing Major Trends in Contemporary French and American Philosophy

By Marvin Farber | Go to book overview

EXPERIENCE AND TRANSCENDENCE

Gaston Berger*

Philosophy is reflection which does not accept limitations from the outside, and the philosopher is a man who puts questions to their last end. That is why all philosophers find themselves confronted with the same problems, and their particular fields cannot be distinguished by their content. The variety comes only from the starting point, the chosen order, and the recommended procedures. But it is always the same matter which is considered. It is just looked at from different viewpoints and with different eyes.

In a book like this, repetitions are, of course, unavoidable. We shall try only to limit them. To speak of Experience and Transcendence is to state the problem of the validity and of the nature of metaphysics. As some of the greatest French metaphysicians of the moment have personally explained their theories in this volume, and as some contributors, like MM. Havet and Duméry have given a general review of French contemporary philosophy in fields closely related with metaphysics, we shall find ourselves excused from giving here a summary of all the doctrines. Therefore we shall restrict our historical account to what is necessary in order to understand the present situation; we shall describe, afterward, this situation; we shall point out finally which statements seem to be valid and which tasks should be fulfilled.


I. IMMANENCE AND TRANSCENDENCE

A complete positivism begins by eliminating metaphysics, and suppresses, by and by, all philosophical research. It tries to demonstrate that philosophical problems are nothing but pseudo-problems, the delusive character of which could be established by a strict logical analysis: science is thus the only useful and valid knowledge. Any pretension to

____________________
*
Born in 1896. Professor of philosophy, University of Aix-Marseille. President of the Society of Philosophical Research. Editor of the quarterly review Les études philosophiques. Author of Recherches sur les conditions de la connaissance ( 1941), and Le cogito dans la phénoménologie de Husserl ( 1941).

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