Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/5

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INTRODUCTION

further problems which are conditioned by the antithesis of fact and value as it appears in psychic life, the problem of knowledge, and the problem of evaluation.

2. The problem of knowledge springs from the inquiry into the presuppositions of knowledge and the limits within which our thought processes are valid (thus including the sphere of psychological investigation). The primary origin of thought is spontaneous, a reaction produced by events which are not the result of thought. To what extent are we then justified in ascribing real meaning to the results of thought? Wherein does the truth of knowledge consist?

3. Whilst the problem of knowledge has special reference to the intellect, the problem of evaluation grows out of the inquiry into the validity of judgments pertaining to human conduct and social institution—particularly those that rest on the processes of will and emotion. What constitutes the standard for such a judgment? Upon what foundation does the validity of the concepts of good and bad rest? And is it possible to apply these concepts with logical consistency? The scope of the problem becomes increasingly comprehensive the moment we test the validity of the judgment, not only as pertaining to human conduct and vital forms, but likewise to Being and the universe in general. We then pass from the problem of ethics to that of religion.

4. Finally we may also inquire concerning the nature of Being, of which thinking, feeling and volitional being are but a single part. This gives rise to the problem of Being, i.e. the problem of cosmology or metaphysics. Is it possible to elaborate a general world theory according to scientific methods? And what would be the nature of such a theory? If we organize our experiences and