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John Dewey reflected upon the traditional philosophic works and saw that they were out of tune with a world that is constantly changing. The goal of traditional philosophy was to discover concrete truths from which to build a philosophical metaphysics. Dewey realized that truth is dependent upon many different factors (instruments), and changes according to those factors. Dewey asks is philosophy the search for truth or the best way to find the truth? He defends the idea that concrete truth cannot be obtained, therefore; the best thing to do is find what is the true meaning according to the values we place upon it our current culture. Therefore, in the 14th Century the idea that the world was flat and the sun, moon, and planets was true, because according to the facts available to that culture it was the best theory they could muster. Dewey recognizes the importance of the context, situation and problem we are involved with and uses reflection and criticism to dispute former philosophies and cure them of any ills they have; specifically, there use of selective emphasis. In "Dewey's Metaphysics," Richard Rorty accuses John Dewey of the greatest sin a philosopher can make. Dewey, according to Rorty, is guilty of his own criticism. Dewey's goal of developing a Naturalistic Metaphysics, or a god's eye view of the world, places a precondition, a selective emphasis on his philosophy which is the same mistake made by the philosophers he criticized.
Hume, David, 1711-76, Scottish philosopher and historian. Hume carried the empiricism of John Locke and George Berkeley to the logical extreme of radical skepticism. He repudiated the possibility of certain knowledge, finding in the mind nothing but a series of sensations, and held that cause-and-effect in the natural world derives solely from the conjunction of two impressions. Hume's skepticism is also evident in his writings on religion, in which he rejected any rational or natural theology. David Hume lived in the constitutional monarchy of George II under the Prime Ministers Walpole, Pelham and Pitt, a Britain which had thoroughly established a stable bourgeois system of government and was interested in building its Empire. Hume died in the year of the American War of Independence. Hume denied theological doctrines and acknowledged the evils that religion had wrought upon humanity. How was one to develop then a "secular" system of philosophy and morality. What answer could be given to Berkeley's "proof" that the concept of a material world beyond sensation was a "metaphysical absurdity"? How could we get on with science and industry, trade and conquest, without religion? Hume accepted Berkeley's proof, but developed the philosophy of Skepticism, a British compromise, in which, while the knowledge we gain from experience cannot constitute theoretical knowledge or necessity, it is good enough for practical purposes, sufficient for practical life. Hume says:
04/05/2006 0 Comments | Add Comment
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The prerequisites before embarking on a metaphysical path requires the two following things: a belief in a God and the possibility of an afterlife. If these two concepts are not met, one will have trouble grasping the concepts of metaphysics. Also, if an individual has more traditional views of religion, this will also serve as an obstacle to learning metaphysics, as metaphysics takes a non-traditional route to religion, otherwise known as spirituality. Actually, this fact alone makes metaphysics
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