FOUNDATIONS OF EMPIRICISM

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1 FOUNDATIONS OF EMPIRICISM

2 Other Books by JAMES K. FEIBLEMAN DEATH OF THE GOD IN MEXICO (1931) CHRISTIANITY, COMMUNISM AND THE IDEAL SOCIETY (1937) IN PRAISE OF COMEDY (1939) POSITIVE DEMOCRACY (1940) THE MARGITIST (1944) THE THEORY OF HUMAN CULTURE (1946) JOURNEY TO THE COASTAL MARSH (1946) THE REVIVAL OF REALISM (1946) AN INTRODUCTION TO PEIRCE'S PHILOSOPHY (1946) THE LONG HABIT (1948) AESTHETICS (1949) ONTOLOGY (1951) PHILOSOPHERS LEAD SHELTERED LIVES (1952) TREMBLING PRAIRIE (1952) THE DARK BIFOCALS (1953) THE INSTITUTIONS OF SOCIETY (1956) THE PIOUS SCIENTIST (1958) INSIDE THE GREAT MIRROR (1958) RELIGIOUS PLATONISM (1959) Co-Author (with J. W. FRIEND) 0/: SCIENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF MAN (1933) THE UNLIMITED COMMUNITY (1936) WHAT SCIENCE REALLY MEANS (1937)

3 FOUNDATIONS OF EMPIRICISM by JAMES K. FEIBLEMAN TULANE UNIVERSITY MARTINUS NIJHOFF / THE HAGUE / 1962 Photomechanica/ reprint 1969

4 ISBN ISBN (ebook) DOl / by Martinus Nijhoff. The Hague, Netherlands All rights reserved, including the right to translate or to reproduce this book or parts thereof in any form

5 CONTENTS Preface IX INTRODUCTION I. An Introduction to Metaphysics for Empiricists 3 PART ONE. CATEGOREMATICS II. On the Topics and Definitions of the Categories (1) The Number and Source of the Categories (2) A Sample of the Range of Categories (3) The Problem of Definition: Plato (4) The Problem of Definition: Aristotle (5) The Categories Analyzed in Definitions III. Some Typically Selected Categories (A) On the Universal (B) On the Individual (C) On Substance (D) On Quality (E) On Relations (1) Unary Classes and Unique Members (2) Class and Members (3) Membership and Inclusion PART TWO. AXIOMATICS IV. On the Theory of Induction ( 1) Induction and Probability (2) Logical Induction, Emperical Probability (3) Phenomenological Bearings (4) Problems in Scientific Induction (5) General Conclusions V. On the Connections Between the Two Worlds 109 VI. A Logically Primitive and Empirically Verifiable Ontology 120 VII. Propositions and Facts 133 (1) Introduction 133 (2) Epistemology 135

6 VI CONTENTS (3) Independence and Overlapping (4) Propositions Alone (5) Facts Alone (6) Propositions and Facts Together (7) The Methodology Required (8) Properties of Systems PART THREE. SYSTEMICS VIII. The Domain of Finite Ontology (I) Categorematics (2) Axiomatics (3) Systemics (4) Ethics (5) Practics (6) Historics (7) Epistemics IX. The Range of Dyadic Ontology ( 1) Ontologies of the Pure Type (2) Variations of the Pure Type (3) Variations of the Mixed Type (4) The Structure of Intensity PART FOUR. ETHICS X. An Objective, Empirical Ethics 177 ( 1) Ethics as a Field of Inquiry 177 (2) Empirical Elements: The Objects Named 180 (3) Empirical Structure: The Names Combined into Elementary Propositions 183 (4) Logical Elements: The Elementary Propositions Combined into Complex Propositions 187 (5) Mathematical Structure: The Complex Propositions Translated into Axioms 190 (6) Applications 192 XI. Ethical Variations on a Theme by Rosmini-Serbati 196 XII. The Ethics of Action 209 PART FIVE. PRACTICS XIII. The Rational Unconscious XIV. Culture as Applied Ontology XV. Toward an Analysis of the Basic Value System XVI. The Natural Society XVII. Language and Metaphysics

7 CONTENTS VTl PART SIX. HISTORICS XVIII. History of Dyadic Ontology 295 (1) Introduction 295 (2) The Orphic Theogony 296 (3) The Pre-Socratic Dichotomy 298 (4) The Platonic Synthesis 299 (5) The Speusippian Excess 300 (6) The Aristotelian Correction 301 (7) The Idealistic Restoration 302 (8) The Nominalistic Reaction 303 (9) The Realistic Equilibrium 305 (10) The Realistic Exploration 306 (11) Conclusions 308 XIX. Aristotle as Finite Ontologist 310 XX. Kant and Metaphysics 327 PART SEVEN. EPISTEMICS XXI. The Range of Sensational Epistemology 357 XXII. Knowing About Semipalatinsk 364 XXIII. An Ontology of Knowledge 370 (1) The Appearance of Knowing 371 (2) Knowledge's Ontological Status 374 (3) Ontological Aspects of Language Systems 376 (4) Ontological Structure 379 Index 383

8 PREFACE For some centuries now the western world has endeavored to choose between rationalism and empiricism; or, when a choice was found impossible, somehow to reconcile them. But the particular brands of both which were taken for granted in confronting the problem were subjective: individual human reasoning stood for rationalism and private sense experience for empiricism. Since Plato it has been known that reasoning and feeling are often in conflict. No wonder that a standard for deciding between them or for harmonizing the two was found difficult to come by. Fortunately, due to the revival of realism, a way out presented itself, and we could now consider rationalism and empiricism on some kind of objective basis. In other words, rationalism is a theory about something outside us, and reasoning involves the utilization of a logic which in no wise depends upon our knowledge of it. Similarly; sense experience reveals the existence of data which can be reached through the senses but which in no way relies upon experience for its existence. Thus both reasoning and sensing bring us fragmentary news about an external world which contains not only logic and value but also the prospects for their reconciliation. The implicit philosophy of nominalism is self-liquidating. Where is the proposition which asserts or takes for granted the sole reality of actual physical particulars to get its reality? The meaning of it as a proposition has no place among the particulars. At the other extreme objective idealism had operated without restrictions: the reason alone conceived of universals and there was no limit set to the number and variety of universals. Thus both the restriction to physical particulars and the older extrapolation of universals were alike in their inadequacy, so far as reliable knowledge was concerned. Prospects of relief for this impossible situation gradually emerged from some of the findings of symbolic logic, from recent studies in the foundations of mathematics, and from the analysis of the methods of empirical science. What does it mean, for instance, that complex mathematical systems have appli-

9 x PREFACE cations to data discovered instrumentally at deep empirical levels? The amended ramified theory of types, GOdel's incompleteness theorem, Zermelo's axiom, together with other and similar methodological devices, are responsible for the return to a modified and chastened ontology, an ontology which consists in all and only those propositions which are required to systematize empirical findings. These are not presented piecemeal; instead, something of the point of view which is required for their understanding is offered. Finite metaphysics aims at something new in the world. It marks the attempt to discover a solution to the necessity for avoiding the wild extrapolations of "eternal and ubiquitous truths" on the one hand, and the absolute denial of the independent reality of abstractions on the other. Philosophy as an enterprise is not self-defeating, as it first appears. It may be described in this connection as the foredoomed search for absolute answers to ultimate questions. No finalities are forthcoming except to those who are satisfied by authority. The life of philosophy consists not only in the rare discovery of first principles but also in the more frequent construction of arguments. Yet the fact remains that our existence is enriched by proximate guesses and intensified by the search. Like it or not, we live by such activities and our hope lies in them. No more justification is needed for those to whom the abundance of the good life is an end. For surely the demand for completeness (in ethics, "abundance") operates here just as much as does that for consistency (in ethics, "the good"). Moreover, such a compromise is a practical necessity, inasmuch as we conduct our lives by means of interim answers and we live for the hope imbedded in the continuance of research. The aim of this work is to free it from its history, in short, to set up a metaphysics within the limits of logic and empiricism. Metaphysics in this new sense is the final stage in the ordinary process of resolving the conflicts and contradictions revealed by ordinary experience. Accordingly, the term, metaphysics, will be used here in Aristotle's sense as the study of first principles, to distinguish it, more or less arbitrarily, from ontology, to which in usage it is very close. Metaphysics is critical, while ontology is speculative. More specifically, metaphysics is the criticism of the field of inquiry which ordinarily bears the name, and ontology is the constructions which are found in it. In other words, ontologies are the constructions which logic finds in the metaphysical field within the limits imposed by empiricism. Metaphysics as criticism literally means that we are planning to use

10 PREFACE logical devices to set up a method for discovering empirical formulas. This book thus continues and extends, and in some ways refines, the point of view advanced in systematic form in my Ontology (1951). The philosophy as a whole is planned in three volumes, of which the present volume is the second. The third is to be an epistemology. The first was systematic, with style explanatory; this one is probative, with style oracular; and a third is projected which shall be demonstrative, with style analytical. The position may be characterized as a variety of Platonic empiricism. That is to say, it recognizes the independence of abstractions, but seeks to limit assertions concerning their number and scope to just those for which evidence can be found among the elements of experience. The development of such a finite ontology has raised critical questions which are best dealt with by metaphysics. My thanks are due to the following journals for permission to reprint here chapters which first appeared in their pages: The Philosophical Quarterly (Scotland); The journal 01 Philosophy, Revista P01'tuguesa de Filosolia (Portugal); The Review 01 Metaphysics; journal 01 Philosophy and Phenomenological Research; Tulane Studies in Philosophy; Les Etudes Philosophiques (France); Ethics; The journal 01 General Psychology; The American Anthropologist; Rivista di Filosolia (Italy), GiO'Tnale di Metalisica (Italy), Revista Mexicana de Filosolia (Mexico), Revue Philosophique (France), Methodos (Italy), and Dialectica (Switzerland). "The Rational Unconscious" was read before the southern regional conference of the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology of Tulane University, on March 13, "On the Theory of Induction" was read before the Yale Philosophy Club on March 21, New Orleans January, XI

11 A SYSTEM OF PHILOSOPHY I LoGIC II ONTOLOGY III METAPHYSICS Ontology (1951) Foundations 0/ Empiricism (1962) IV EPISTEMOLOGY V ETHICS VI AESTHETICS VII ANTHROPOLOGY VIII SOCIOLOGY A esthetics (1949) The Theory 0/ Human Culture (1946) The Institutions 0/ Society (1956) IX PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE X THEOLOGY The Pious Scientist (1958) and Religious Platonism (1959) XI PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION XII PHILOSOPHY OF LAW

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