The ground and goal of human life - PDF book by Charles Gray Shaw

The ground and goal of human life 

The ground and goal of human life

Of all the problems which confront the philosophic mind, none is superior to or more im- portant than a form of inquiry that seeks to relate the individual to the world. The special form which this problem assumes expresses itself in terms of " subjectivity " and " objectivity," although these conventional methods of speech may fail to convey to the reflective mind the significance of the problem and the severity of the situation in connection with which that problem must be discussed.

The subjective includes the human self with its perpetual tendency to say, " I think " and " I will," while the objective has direct reference to the organized realms of the physical and political, the scientific and the social. 

To the individualistic " I think," the physical order may not respond; to the subjective " I will," the social order may pay no heed. As a result, the thinker may feel forced to resort to a sharp subjectivism which declares, " le monde n'existe pas pour moi," or he may relapse into sullen objectivism which feels no sense of responsibility for that which is unique in human life. 

The form of philosophy which seeks to meet this problem of human life in the world, may, for want of a more adequate term, be called Philosophy of Life; that which is peculiar to such a method of speculation is its attempted combination of the metaphysical and the moral. 

It might seem as though one could examine the forms of the world without taking into account the leading species which that world has produced, just as it might appear plausible when one asserts that he may pursue his ethics without asking questions concerning the nature of the world in which the ethical subject is to exhibit its ideals.

Indeed, traditional metaphysics here and traditional ethics there have agreed to divide the tw^in fields be- tween; hence moralist and metaphysician separated much after the manner of Lot and Abraham. Now philosophy of life proceeds upon the assumption that such separation is injurious.

Can a man be himself? Has he a right to attempt a passage outward from the subjective " I think " to an objective " I am "? This is the question which philosophy of life feels constrained to propose, even when it realizes that the self-satisfied thought of the day is inclined to assume that the self is all that it may hope to be. 

Nothing in the realm of contemporary culture is more confusing than the fact that those who have the least interest in the human self, the scientific and social thinkers, have persisted in assuming that that self exists, while those who have the most interest in the self, the aesthetical, ethical, and religious individualists, are never guilty of taking the self for granted. 

The objective thinker should say, " the self does not exist," and should go his Scientifico-social way rejoicing; the subjective thinker should say, " the self does exist " and no longer seek to affirm the ego. The actual situation is the very reverse of this which would seem to be the expected one. Individualism feels called upon to regard the self, not as a physical fact, but as that which can come into being only after due self-affirmation.

 If there were no world of things, individualism might rejoice in sheer selfhood; but the world of things does exist, so that the human self, instead of silhouetting itself against the blue of spiritual life, must strive to shine through the opaqueness of an alien world-order. Man is eyer3rthing else but himself, while his most natural- tendency is to elaborate forms of thought whichever tend to eliminate himself from the world.

Can man do his work; or, has man a work which he may call his own? If it is hard to say, "I am," it is no less difficult to assert, " I do " ; for the inner life is usually marked by a decided nescio and non facto. Were there no social order, and did the ego feel free to act upon his own initiative, self-activity and the joy of self-expression would take their place in the timer consciousness of the self-propelled individual; but, with the actual conditions of social life hemming the individual about, pervading his nature within, it is evident that self-expression must be impelled from within outward in opposition to the alien forces of the larger human order. Man does everything but his own work; his most natural motive is to will himself out of the world of work. 

To the metaphysical doubt concerning the existence of the self in the natural order, there is thus added a moral compunction as to the right one has to express himself in the social world; apparently, it was vain for the individual to think of self-existence, while it was vicious for him to pretend to do that which he calls "his own work." As metaphysics has surrendered its forms to impersonal nature, morality has loaned its forces to the selfless social order; hence, there is no true " I am," no just " I do."


Problem 4
1. Selfhood, Scientism, and Sociality S
2. The Anti-Scientific and Anti-social 29
3. Higher Synthesis 12
Part One
The Naturalization of Life 19
I. The Transmutation of Mind and World 19
1. The Self as Thinker 21
2. The Empirical Ego 25
II. The Actual Naturalization of Life 33
1. The Surrender to Naturalism 34
2. The Ambiguous Elevation of the Physical 40
(i) The Naturalistic and Humanistic /)l
(2) The Objective and Subjective 47
3. The Elevation of the Biological 52
(i) Positivism and Humanism 53
(2) Biology and Psychology 57
III. The Insufficiency of Scientism 62
1. The Sensational Inadequacy of Scientism 63
2. The Volitional Impotence of Scientism 70
3. The Intellectual Disappointment of Scientism 75
Part Two
The Struggle Jor Serfhood
I. The Struggle for the Joy of Life 87
1. The Inward Enjoyment of Life 88
2. The Independence of Soul-States 97
3. The Rights of Aestheticism 107
(i) The Aesthetic and Analytic 108

(2) Aestheticism as Individualism 116
II. The Struggle for the Worth of Life: 121
1. Selfhood in Worth 122
2. The Individualistic Initiative I33
3. The Demands of Immoralism 145
III. The Struggle for the Truth of Life 163
1. The Truth of Selfhood 164
(i) The Passion for Predication 165
(2) Humanistic Criteria of Truth 170
2. The Affirmation of the Self I7S
3. The Claims of Irreligion i85
Part One
The Socialization of Life 207
1. The Transvaluation of Self and Society 208
1. Selfhood in Selfishness 209
2. Selfhood in Strength 220
II. The Practical Socialization of Life 225
1. The Socialization of Work 226
2. The Socialization of Morality 234
(i) The Social Source of Morality 235
(2) The Social Sanction of Morality 243
III. The Inadequacy of the Social 252
1. Lack of Life-Content in Sociality 253
2. Lack of Life-Character in Sociality 263
Part Two
Thb; Repudiation of Sociality 273
I. Life the Place of Joys 274
1. Humanity and Happiness 275
( 1 ) Happiness as Willed 277
(2) The Consciousness of Happiness 287
2. The Individual as Decadent 292
(i) The Aesthetic Form of Decadence 293
(2) The Anti-Social Character of Decadence. 297
II. Life the Place of Values 304
I. The Humanistic Nature of Value 304
(i) Value and Desire 305
(2) Values as Volitional 311

2. The Individual as Pessixnist 318
(i) Pessimism as Nihilism 318
(2) The Pessimism of Will 324
III. Life the Place of Truths 330
1. Truth and Life 331
(i) Sociality and Truth 332
(2) Humanity and Truth.; 33S
2. The Individual as Skeptic 342
(i) Skepticism as Dilettantism 343
(2) Social Skepticism 349
Part One
The Joy of Life in the World-Whole 366
I. One's Own Life 367
1. Egoism and Individualism 368
2. Naturistic Possibilities of Selfhood 374
3. Social Possibilities of Selfhood 383
II. The Enjoyment of Existence 391
1. Joy and Pleasure 392
2. The Aesthetic Nature of Enjoyment 400
3. Enjoyment as Vision 410
III. The Aesthetic Synthesis 416
1. The Aesthetic Synthesis with Nature 417
2. The Aesthetic Synthesis with Humanity 426
Part Two
The Worth of Life in the World-Whole 437
I. One's Own Work 438
1. The Truth of Work in Nature 439
(i) Work as Creative 439
(2) Work as Intelligible 444
2. The Worth of Work 447
(i) The Eudaemonistic Element in Work 448
(2) The Characteristic Element in Work 452
IL The Character of World-Work 458
1. The Freedom of Work 459
2. The Value of Work 470

The Practical Synthesis 480
1. The Hedonic Synthesis 480
(i) Naturalism and Nihilism 481
(2) Sociality and Humanity 486
2. Value as Synthetic Principle 494
( 1 ) Man as Valuer 496
(2) Humanity a World of Values 501
Part Three
The Truth of Life in the World 509
L One's Own Self 51°
1. The Self as Knower 512
2. Selfhood and Solipsism 520
3. Individualism and Nominalism 528
II. Knowledge as Intellectual Life 536
1. The Understanding as Human 537
2. The Origin and Ground of Knowledge 542
3. The Object of Knowledge 551
III. The Intellectual Synthesis SSS
1. Knowledge as Interpretation 556
2. The Essence of Subjectivity S&1.
3. The Character of Objectivity 572

the book details :
  • Author: Charles Gray Shaw
  • Publication date: 1919
  • Company: New York city : The New York university press

  • Download 12 MB


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