- Paperback: 583 pages
- Publisher: Adamant Media Corporation (January 22, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402187637
- ISBN-13: 978-1402187636
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,391,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay
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First published in 1893, this is the chief metaphysical work of British Idealist philosopher F. H. Bradley (1846-1924). The book is divided into two parts: 'Appearance' exposes the contradictions hidden in our conceptions of the world; in 'Reality', Bradley builds his account of reality and considers objections to it. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Bertrand Russel didn't reply.
This is the difference between East and West.
Surely, Russel must have thought, the unknown is by definition void? This is logical.
Why is Bradley claiming to be living in void?
In India, the philosophical method of Bradley is jnana yoga. Indians claim that the path of knowledge can lead to enlightenment. But only the highly gifted philosopher can transcend. The unknown and unknowable are known only to the jnani. So FH Bradley was really experiencing the state of the Buddha, a state beyond description, like the way a Bach melody is beyond description, not because it is impossible, but because it is of a higher magnitude of ponderance than that of logic. The Absolute is lost to Bertrand Russel because a giant can never fit into the shoes of a dwarf.
This explains the cryptic statement of FH Bradley.
As you can see, FH Bradley was born on the wrong continent.
FH Bradley was ahead of his time. His meditations on the Absolute were lampooned by philosophers like Bertrand Russell but the terrestrial logical mind, forever in the dark, can only snigger like a Monty Python actor because, as Goethe wrote.
"I see the learning in what you say.
What you don't touch, for you lies miles away
What you don't grasp, is wholly lost to you
What you don't reckon, you believe not true
What you don't weigh, this has for you no weight
What you don't count, you're sure is counterfeit".
Goethe is describing the mentality of Bertrand Russel.
Why else is idealism lampooned in the academy and not taken seriously? I'm reading chunks of Bradley's Appearance and Reality and even tho the wording is stiff and Victorian, I have come across these ideas in india.
He observes, "The arrangement of given facts into relations and qualities may be necessary in practice, but it is theoretically unintelligible. The reality, so characterized, is not true reality, but is appearance." (Ch. III, pg. 21) He states, "time perishes in the endless process beyond itself. The unit will be for ever its own relation to something beyond, something in the end not discoverable. And this process is forced on it, both by its temporal form, and again by the continuity of its content, which transcends what is given. Time, like space, has most evidently proved not to be real, but to be a contradictory appearance." (Ch. IV, pg. 36) Later, he adds, "Time... must be made, and yet cannot be made, of pieces." (Ch. VI, pg. 52) He also asserts, "cause and effect is irrational appearance, and cannot be reality." (Ch. VI, pg. 49)
He admits, "We have been led up to the problem of personal identity, and any one who thinks that he knows what he means by his self, may be invited to solve this. To my mind it seems insoluble, but not because all the questions asked are essentially such questions as cannot be answered. The true cause of failure ... [is] that we will persist in asking questions when we do not know what they mean, and when their meaning perhaps presupposes what is false... in personal identity the main point is to fix the meaning of person; and it is chiefly because our ideas as to this are confused, that we are unable to come to a further result." (Pg. 69) He adds, "it is evident that, for personal identity, some continuity is requisite, but how much no one seems to know... Personal identity is mainly a matter of degree... If you ask me whether a man is identical in this or that respect, and for one purpose or another purpose, then, if we do not understand one another, we are on the road to an understanding... even then we shall reach our end only by more or less of convention and arrangement. But to seek an answer in general to the question asked at large is to pursue a chimera." (Ch. VIII, pg. 73)
He laments, "The end of metaphysics is to understand the universe, to find a way of thinking about facts in general which is free from contradiction. But how few writers seem to trouble themselves much about this vital issue." (Ch. X, pg. 103) He says, "the whole result of the Book may be summed up in a few words. Everything so far, which we have seen, has turned out to be appearance. It is that which, taken as it stands, proves inconsistent with itself, and for this reason cannot be true of the real. But to deny its existence or to divorce it from reality is out of the question. For it has a positive character which is indubitable fact, and, however much this fact may be pronounced appearance, it can have no place in which to live except reality. And reality, set on one side and apart from all appearance, would assuredly be nothing. Hence what is certain is that, in some way, these inseparables are joined. This is the positive result which has emerged from our discussion. Our failure so far lies in this, that we have not found the way in which appearances can belong to reality. And to this further task we must now address ourselves, with however little hope of more than partial satisfaction." (Ch. XII, pg. 114-115)
He argues, "The Reality... must be One... There is plainly not anything which can fall outside the Real... this Absolute is experience... it is a whole superior to and embracing all incomplete forms of life... And because it cannot contradict itself, and does not suffer a division of idea from existence, it has therefore a balance of pleasure over pain. In every sense it is perfect... We have a general principle which seems certain. The only question is whether any form of the finite is a negative instance which serves to overthrow this principle. Is there anything which tends to show that our Absolute is not possible?... we have discovered as yet nothing. We have at present not any right to a doubt about the Absolute. We have got no shred of reason for denying that it is possible. But, if it is possible, that is all we need seek for. For already we have a principle upon which it is necessary; and therefore it is certain." (Ch. XX, pg. 213-214)
He points out, "though my experience is not the whole world, yet that world appears in my experience, and... it is MY state of mind. That the real Absolute, or God himself, is also MY state, is a truth often forgotten... My way of contact with Reality is through a limited aperture... Everything beyond, though not less real, is an expansion of the common essence which we feel burningly in this one focus. And so, in the end, to know the Universe, we must fall back upon our personal experience and sensation... My self is certainly not the Absolute, but, without it, the Absolute would not be itself. You cannot abstract wholly from my personal feelings; you cannot say that, apart even from the meanest of these, anything else in the universe would be what it is." (Ch. XXI, pg. 229) He suggests, "The soul and the body may be regarded as two sides of one reality, or as the same thing taken twice and from two aspects of its being." (Ch. XXIII, pg. 285)
He contends, "We may say that God is not God, till he has become all in all, and that a God which is all in all is not the God of religion. God is but an aspect, and that must mean but an appearance, of the Absolute." (Ch. XXV, pg. 396-397) He adds, "Metaphysics has no special connexion with genuine religion, and neither of these two appearances can be regarded as the perfection of the other. The completion of each is not to be found except in the Absolute." (Pg. 402) He adds, "The Absolute is indeed evil in a sense and it is ugly and false, but the sense, in which these predicates can be applied, is too forced and unnatural... Ugliness, evil, and error in their several spheres, are subordinate aspects. They imply distinctions falling, in each case, within one subject province of the Absolute's kingdom." (Ch. XXVI, pg. 432)
He deals with Immortality of the Soul: "This is a topic which for several reasons I would rather keep silence, but I think that silence here might fairly be misunderstood... The period of personal continuance obviously need not be taken as endless...what is meant is an existence after death which is conscious of its identity with our life here and now. And the duration of this must be taken as sufficient to remove any idea of unwilling extinction or of premature decease..." (Ch. XXVI, pg. 444-445) He continues, "A thing is impossible absolutely when it contradicts the known nature of Reality... A bodiless soul is possible because it is not meaningless, or in any way known to be impossible. But I fail to find any further and additional reason in its favour.... In this unknown field we cannot particularize and set out the chances, but in another sense the field is not quite unknown... When you add together the chances of a life after death---a life taken as bodiless, and again as diversely embodied---the amount is not great... If we appeal to blank ignorance, then a future life ... may fail wholly to be possible... But a possibility, in this sense, stands unsupported face to face with an indefinite universe... Among those grounds we certain find a part which favours continuance; but, taken at its highest, that part appears to be small. Hence a future life must be taken as decidedly improbable." (Pg. 446-448) But he concludes, "A personal continuance is possible, and it is but little more. Still, if any one can believe in it, and finds himself sustained by that belief--after all it is possible. On the other hand... surely there are few greater responsibilities which a man can take on himself, than to have proclaimed... that without immortality all religion is a cheat and all morality a self-deception." (Pg. 452)
He ends the book, "It costs little to find that in the end Reality is inscrutable. It is easy to perceive that any appearance, not being the Reality, in a sense is fallacious... The positive relation of every appearance as an adjective to Reality, and the presence of Reality among its appearances in different degrees and with diverse values---this double truth we have found to be the centre of philosophy. It is because the Absolute is no surrendered abstraction but has a positive character... that appearances themselves can possess true differences of value... in the end we are left without a solid criterion of worth or of truth or reality. This conclusion---the necessity on one side for a standard, and the impossibility of reaching it without a positive knowledge of the Absolute---I would venture to press upon any intelligent worshipper of the Unknown. The Reality itself is nothing at all apart from appearances... there is no way of qualifying the Real except by appearances, and outside the Real there remains no space in which appearances could live... The Reality comes into knowledge... The Reality is our criterion of worse of better... without it, lowest and highest would, for all we know, count the same in the universe... Reality is spiritual... Outside of spirit there is not, and there cannot be, any reality, and, the more that anything is spiritual, so much the more is it veritably real." (Ch. XXVII, pg. 488-489)
The kind of speculative metaphysics endorsed by Bradley has, of course, gone seriously "out of fashion" since this book was written more than 120 years ago. But it remains one of the most interesting and thought-provoking of such treatments, and is nto without value to modern students of philosophy and metaphysics.