Do Philosophers Disagree?

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Do Philosophers Disagree?

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There is only one real ‘system‘ in philosophy; all historically so-called systems are but disconnected and overrated, fragmentary intimations of this unique system. The real system of philosophy, i.e., that of the world, is infinitely larger than the ‘world model’ of any one philosopher. It is so large that no discernible system approximates to it. And yet, the system-principle needs to be upheld, since it coincides with thinking itself. The ratio of any one formula expressed by any philosopher to the real world system is similar to the ratio of the individual contribution of a scientist to the whole of knowledge embodied in ‘the sciences’. The difference is that the individual scientists bring parts to a whole, while philosophers bring partial wholes.


The truth of ‘eclecticism’ or ‘synthesism’ lies in the thesis that has just been described. Its mistake is that it addresses too narrow a combination of linguistically opposed or logically disconnected positions. Hence there arise many illusionary contradictions - ‘contradictions’ being the result of a pressure of different scales within too narrow a dimension.


Between all or most known philosophical positions, there are ‘unknown’ gaps, comprising logical and intuitional relations between the known positions. The known positions are like inexact and disconnected points in an unknown structure that await to be filled in adequately.


Philosophy is not ‘knowledge’ in the scientific sense; nor is it a body of everyday opinions, or of unverified but definable scientific assumptions. It is a cognitive activity of its own, with criteria of its own. Its distinctive hallmark is not ‘probability’, but an inherent incompleteness of its statements.


Apart from ‘discovery’, building the ‘real’ system of philosophy, i.e.., by finding new truths, the most important activity is not that of logical inference; it is the realising activity of the mind


There are two kinds of abstractions that are often confused: abstracting from known particulars and abstracting from unknown particulars. An example of the difference is abstracting from any normal concept, such as ‘lion’, where the abstraction is made from all known particulars of all individual lions and abstracting from concepts such as the Eleatic ‘One’, that is indivisible, has no parts, no spatiality, no temporality, etc., i.e. abstractions that do not ( or do not merely) arise through the omission of known particulars, but constitute constructs from something that is necessarily an ‘under-determined whole’. Examples of abstractions of this kind are: Substance, Spirituality, the Relationship between mind and matter; also the concept of God.


The genuine, and for a long time to come, the main activity of the mind consists in doing the exact opposite of what is commonly supposed . It is not to criticize or find out what is faulty, but to find out that which is true in any and every philosophical view that is put forward, or at least every view of historical repute. This means refusing to accept as ‘final’ any contradiction between conflicting views, since final contradictions properly belong to the end of philosophical enquiry. Consistency can never be achieved through an analytical or a merely critical procedure; consistency or systematicallity is the joint product of two faculties, differentiation and imagination. When a contradiction between conflicting views is exposed and the matter is left at that, progress as regards the amount of philosophical truth has not been made, as is usually assumed; what has been achieved is regress. The usual analogy, that one needs to destroy the ‘false’ before one can build the ‘true’ is wrong. The analogy is more like preferring to abolish the faculty of seeing altogether rather than seeing a distorted and partly illusory picture. The series: false- zero - true (where zero represents the result of a criticism that annihilates a position) is to be replaced by the series: zero - false - true. Only in pure formal logic, where contradiction is applicable, is there ’refutation’ and ’falsity’. In philosophy, there is no complete refutation, only the right localisation of a statement. Greater comprehensiveness constitutes the criterion of a proposition, both for itself and for that which is less comprehensive.