A quote a day keeps the metaphysicians away

Adam Rose adam at pmel.com
Tue Sep 10 02:28:13 MDT 1996

"The great basic thought that the world is to be comprehended not as a
complex of ready made THINGS but as a complex of PROCESSES [ F.E.'s
emphasis ] , in which apparently stable things no less than the concepts,
their mental reflections in our heads, go through an uninterrupted
change of coming into being and passing away, in which, through all
the seeming contingency and in spite of all temporary regression, a
progressive development finally asserts itself - this great fundamental
thought has so thoroughly permeated ordinary consciousness especially since
Hegel's time that it is now scarcely ever contradicted in this general
form. But it is one thing to acknowledge it in words and another to carry
it out in reality in detail in each domain of investigation. If, however,
investigation always proceeds from this standpoint, the demand for final
solutions and eternal truths ceases once and for all; we are always
conscious of the necessarily limited nature of all knowledge gained. On
the other hand, we no longer permit ourselves to be imposed upon by
the antitheses, which are insuperable for the the old metaphysics, still
all too current, between true and false, good and evil, identical
and different, necessary and accidental. We know that these antitheses
have only a relative validity; that what is now recognised to be true
also has its hidden false side which will later manifest itself, just as
what is now recognised as false also has its true side, by virtue of which
it could previously be regarded as true, that what is maintained to be
necessary is composed of sheer contigencies, and that the so called
accidental is the form behind which necessity hides itself - and so on."

"The old method of investigation and thought, which Hegel calls "metaphysical",
which preferred to investigate THINGS as given, as fixed and stable, and
the survivals of which haunt people's minds, had much historical justification
in its day. It was first necessary to examine things before it was possible
to examine processes. One first had to know what a particular thing was
before one could observe the changes it was undergoing. . . . In fact,
while natural science up to the end of the last [ ie the 1700's - ADR ]
century was predominantly a COLLECTING science, a science of completed things,
in our century [ ie the 1800's - ADR ] it essentially an ORGANISING science,
a science of the processes, of the origin and development of these things
and of the interconnections which bind all these natural processes into
one great whole."


Adam Rose


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