Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 71 pages of information about Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy.
to have been.  If, from moment to moment, the self was a spiritual energy astir within, in retrospect the living present seemed, as it were, to extend its tentacles and to communicate its subjectivity to his whole personal past.  The limits of his personality were those of his memory, and his experience included everything that his living mind could appropriate and re-live.  In a word, he was his idea of himself:  and this insight opens a new chapter not only in his philosophy but in the history of human self-estimation.  Mankind was henceforth invited not to think of itself as a tribe of natural beings, nor of souls, with a specific nature and fixed possibilities.  Each man was a romantic personage or literary character:  he was simply what he was thought to be, and might become anything that he could will to become.  The way was opened for Napoleon on the one hand and for Fichte on the other.

III

Page 9. __All_ ideas must be equally conditioned._

Even the mathematical ideas which seem so exactly to describe the dynamic order of nature are not repetitions of their natural counterpart:  for mathematical form in nature is a web of diffuse relations enacted; in the mind it is a thought possessed, the logical synthesis of those deployed relations.  To run in a circle is one thing; to conceive a circle is another.  Our mind by its animal roots (which render it relevant to the realm of matter and cognitive) and by its spiritual actuality (which renders it original, synthetic, and emotional) is a language, from its beginnings; almost, we might say, a biological poetry; and the greater the intellectuality and poetic abstraction the greater the possible range.  Yet we must not expect this scope of speculation in us to go with adequacy or exhaustiveness:  on the contrary, mathematics and religion, each in its way so sure, leave most of the truth out.

IV

Page 9. He cannot be aware of what goes on beyond him, except as it affects his own life.

Even that spark of divine intelligence which comes into the animal soul, as Aristotle says, from beyond the gates, comes and is called down by the exigencies of physical life.  An animal endowed with locomotion cannot merely feast sensuously on things as they appear, but must react upon them at the first signal, and in so doing must virtually and in intent envisage them as they are in themselves.  For it is by virtue of their real constitution and intrinsic energy that they act upon us and suffer change in turn at our hands; so that whatsoever form things may take to our senses and intellect, they take that form by exerting their material powers upon us, and intertwining them in action with our own organisms.

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Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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