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Reconstruction in Philosophy

Reconstruction in Philosophy

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Published by: brotherimam on Jul 02, 2009
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some hold that the relation is " internal," some that

it is "

external," and others that it is sometimes one

and sometimes the other.

Unless logic is a matter of some practical account,

these contrarieties are so numerous, so extensive, and

so irreconcilable that they are ludicrous. If logic is

an affair of practical moment, then these inconsistencies


are serious. They testify to some deep-lying cause of

intellectual disagreement and incoherency. In fact,

contemporary logical theory is the ground upon which

all philosophical differences and disputes are gath-

ered together and focussed. How does the modification

in the traditional conception of the relation of experi-

ence and reason, the real and ideal affect logic?


It affects, in the first place, the nature of logic itself.

If thought or intelligence is the means of intentional

reconstruction of experience, then logic, as an account

of the procedure of thought, is not purely formal. It

is not confined to laws of formally correct reasoning

apart from truth of subject-matter. Neither, on the

contrary, is it concerned with the inherent thought

structures of the universe, as Hegel's logic would have


; nor with the successive approaches of human thought

to this objective thought structure as the logic of Lotze,

Bosanquet, and other epistemological logicians would

have it. If thinking is the way in which deliberate re-

organization of experience is secured, then logic is such



a clarified and systematized formulation of the pro-1

cedures of thinking as will enable the desired reconstruct,

tion to go on more economically and efficiently. In

language familiar to students, logic is both a science

and an art ; a science so far as it gives an organized

and tested descriptive account of the way in which

thought actually goes on ; an art, so far as on the basis

of this description it projects methods by which future

thinking shall take advantage of the operations that

lead to success and avoid those which result in failure.

Thus is answered the dispute whether logic is em-

pirical or normative, psychological or regulative. It is

both. Logic is based on a definite and executive supply?

of empirical material. Men have been thinking for ages.t

They have observed, inferred, and reasoned in all sorts

of ways and to all kinds of results. Anthropology, the

study of the origin of myth, legend and cult ; linguistics

and grammar ; rhetoric and former logical compositions

all tell us how men have thought and what have been the

purposes and consequences of different kinds of think-

ing. Psychology, experimental and pathological, makes

important contributions to our knowledge of how think-

ing goes on and to what effect. Especially does the

record of the growth of the various sciences afford in-

struction in those concrete ways of inquiry and testing

which have led men astray and which have proved ef-

ficacious. Each science from mathematics to history

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