The Story of Philosophy - Herbert Spencer Summary & Analysis

Will Durant
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Herbert Spencer Summary and Analysis

Kant's writing puts metaphysics into a dilemma. Historically metaphysics is an attempt to discover and explain the ultimate nature of reality. Kant determines ultimate reality to be a noumenon, or Thing-in-Itself, that can be conceived in thought but not experienced. Human intelligence cannot experience the phenomenon or appearance of reality. Before Kant, the Absolute is assumed to absorb all thought but after him metaphysics is abhorred. An historian of ideas can see a progression through three stages. Initially the subject or event is conceived theologically and explained as the will of a deity. The second level is a metaphysical stage explained in reference to a metaphysical abstraction. The final stage moves to positive scientific explanations from observation, hypothesis and experiment. Comte claims the metaphysical stage is not fully developed. Philosophy should attempt to coordinate all sciences with a goal...

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