A Humanly Realistic Philosophy

Peter Unger

in All the Power in the World

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195155617
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850563 | DOI:
A Humanly Realistic Philosophy

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We human beings are quite limited, it is painfully plain, in our experiencing, our thinking, and our understanding. Yet, even when mindful of our human limitations, we may perhaps aspire to a humanly intelligible philosophy of the world that is, nonetheless, a fairly substantial philosophy. This chapter provides some quite simple and obvious observations and then attempts to articulate some instructive implications of those observations. The implications may also be features of a humanly realistic philosophy. Each of us has a power to think, and a power to experience. When one's power to think is exercised, or his/her propensity is manifested, then he/she actually does think. Rene Descartes famously held that, at every moment of his existence, he was, and must be, conscious. In addition to having a propensity toward experience, quite certainly manifested in certain conditions, one may also have a real propensity toward unconsciousness. When writing philosophically about himself, David Hume is sometimes so extreme as to claim he cannot really have any idea of himself.

Keywords: humanly realistic philosophy; experience; thinking; understanding; propensity; David Hume; Rene Descartes; existence; unconsciousness; power

Chapter.  17705 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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