Thursday, 3 July 2014

Taking a Leaf from Taylor's Book.


There are several missing pages from the scanned copy of Elements of Metaphysics by A.E. Taylor (Cornell U.). Whether they were abstracted by a student for special study or by accidental loss it is interesting to see what was on them. I hereunder consider pages 254/5 :
It begins:
#8, The question now is, whether the whole of the spatial and temporal construction is more than imperfect and therefore contradictory, appearance.

The argument proceeds quite briskly. Our view of space and time is conditioned by our very own here and now. The Absolute which alone has the grasp of the fullness of reality is not limited by the perceptual data on which our concepts are based.

For Reality, for the absolute experience, must be a complete individual whole, with the ground of all its differentiations within itself.

It is a while since I looked at Peter Strawson’s Individuals. I recall that he too viewed the here and now as the basis of our conceptual schema and that this was irreducible or what he called primitive. I don’t remember him having any truck with ‘Reality’. He certainly wouldn’t have brought it up in the Common Room. One can imagine embarrassed coughing and the energetic stuffing of pipes.

Taylor adds to his necessary elimination of the personal view by the comprehensive.

Perceptual space and time are aggregates of lesser parts, which are themselves spaces and times; thus they are relations between terms, each of which contains the same relation once more in itself, and so imply the now familiar infinite regress.

Strawson stops this backward reeling with his notion of the primitive.

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