The new realism (1912) by Edwin B. Holt. PDF ebook

The new realism: cooperative studies in philosophy by Edwin B. Holt.

The new realism



The book was published in 1912:  cooperative studies in philosophy by Edwin B. Holt, Walter T. Marvin, William Pepperrell. Montague Ralph Barton. Perry.Walter B. Pitkin And Edward Gleason Spaulding

The new realism may be said to be at the present moment some- thing between a tendency and a school. So long as it was recog- nized only by its enemies it was no more than a tendency. But war has developed a class-consciousness, .and the time is near at hand, if indeed it is not already here, when one realist may recog- nize another. 

This dawning spirit of fellowship, accompanied by a desire for a better understanding and more effective cooperation, has prompted the present undertaking. It is perhaps inevitable that the new realism should for a time remain polemical in tone. 

A new philosophical movement in- variably arises as a protest against tradition, and bases its hope of constructive achievement on the correction of established habits of thought. Neo-realism is still in a phase in which this critical motive dominates, and is the chief source of its vigor and unanimity. Before, however, a philosophy can come of age, and play a major part in human thought, it must be a complete philosophy, or must at least show promise of completeness. If it is to assume the role, it must undertake to play the whole part. 

The authors of the present book thus entertain the hope that they may have succeeded not only in amplifying, clarifying, and fortifying the realistic critique, but also in exhibiting that critique as a basis for the solution of special philosophical problems, and for the procedure of the special sciences. 1 The following introduction expresses opinions common to the several authors of this book, but it has proved convenient to make use of parts of the following articles which have already appeared in print. Montague. 
The new realism is not an accident, nor a tour de force, nor an isolated and curious speculative eruption. Whatever may be thought of its correctness or power to endure, it must at least be accorded a place in the main current of modern thought. 

It is a fundamental and typical doctrine definable in terms of the broad play of intellectual forces, and peculiarly characteristic of their present conjunction. The historical significance of the new realism appears most clearly in its relations with 'naive realism/ 'dualism' and 'subjectivism.' The new realism is primarily a doctrine concerning the relation between the knowing process and the thing known; and as such it is the latest phase of a movement of thought which has already passed through the three phases just indicated. 

Neo-realism, in other words, seeks to deal with the same problem that has given rise to 'naive realism,' 'dualism' and 'subjectivism'; and to profit from the errors as well as the discoveries for which these doctrines have been responsible. 

The theory of naive realism is the most primitive of these theories. It conceives of objects as directly presented to con- sciousness and being precisely what they appear to be. Nothing intervenes between the knower and the world external to him. Objects are not represented in consciousness by ideas; they are themselves directly presented. This theory makes no distinction between seeming and being; things are just what they seem. Consciousness is thought of as analogous to a light that shines out through the sense organs, illuminating the world outside the knower. 


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