Free Essay

Transcendental Properties of Being


Submitted By kwezyman
Words 2742
Pages 11
Metaphysics is not just a science in Aristotle’s conception of it, but one that distinguishes itself from all the particular sciences by firstly raising the question of the first and most universal causes and secondly by taking as its subject of consideration ‘being’ simply as ‘being’ in its most universal and in its most concrete sense as present in experience. Implicitly, being must be taken as analogous from the very beginning of the investigation, not in the sense that it would diffuse the unity of this science into a mere difference of differences, but in the sense that it would raise this science to a higher kind of unity according to an order of different degrees of being as they relate to a primary analogate as the one to which all relate more or less distantly. To delve more deeply into this analogous subject of consideration one must further distinguish transcendental properties that follow being in its analogous and transcendental sense. In the end, when the question of a first, universal cause of being as being, or of a summit of being that would be totally transcendent, is finally raised, all of this a priori conception of being as analogous according to different degrees with its corresponding degrees of oneness, activity, truth and goodness must be brought into play in relation to things as they come under sense experience as moved, caused, contingent and exhibiting different degrees of perfection in being such as living, sensing and rational consciousness, in order to conclude to the truth of the proposition “God is.”
The Concept of Being
Being is a nature in the first cause, but in all other things, it is present as a participated act and not as nature or part of a nature. Being is predicable of all things whatsoever. Therefore it is not confined to any one of the Aristotelian categories. It runs through all the categories and extends beyond them to their first cause. That is why it is considered a transcendental predicate. ‘Transcendental’ understood as a characteristic found in all things and not what is beyond the world of sense experience. Being actuates potency in a way that is proportionally common to all. It makes the potency more than nothing, it makes a subject be.
Even though the being of sensible things is first known by the human mind and through it subsistent being is attained through mediation, it cannot serve as the nature to which all other instances are referred because it is not the nature of being. Subsistent being and participated beings are denominated like beings because the one is the nature of being and the others are, as beings, its effects. All the others are accordingly beings through reference to subsistent being. Being, as transcendental, is not above all its instances. It does not transcend to its primary instance, but transcends from it to all others. Subsistent being, accordingly, is not transcendental being, but is the cause of that being. It does not come under transcendental being. On the contrary, transcendental being comes under it. Being, one has to bear in mind, is participated not by formal but by efficient causality.
Transcendental Properties of Being
Philosophers have pointed out that Being or that-which-exists has universal characteristics. These are known as the transcendental properties of being. Classically, four have been identified - these are unity, truth, goodness, and beauty. Nevertheless, Being, just as it is predicated of all, differs on account of its transcendental character, it is likewise predicated of any properties it may have as being. Under normal circumstances a subject cannot be predicated of its properties because property plays a qualitative role. However the properties of being have to be even under that aspect in order to function in their qualitative role. “These properties will accompany being wherever being is located or found; and they may be called transcendental properties of being on that basis. As properties they will be in some way distinct from their subject.”1
1. Unity: Unity means that all true beings have “oneness” to them. A given thing is one thing. For example, many parts go into constituting one automobile. However, if the automobile is made into multiple parts by disassembling it, an automobile no longer exists. A heap of automobile parts is not an automobile. It is only their proper assembly into a unity that makes it an automobile. In the same sense, provided each thing is a being, it is a unity. The being of anything whatsoever consists in undividedness. In so far as anything is, it is one. Unity will follow upon being as a property everywhere. Therefore unity is conceptually and not really distinct from being.
It is necessary to point out here that Transcendental unity differs from numerical unity in the sense that the unity which is a property of being transcends all the categories; while numerical unity belongs to only one category of being – quantity. To conceive of a thing as existing and as one is to express the same thing from positive and negative points of view in two concepts. Transcendental unity cannot be regarded as a division being; rather being necessarily implies only unity. Multiplicity arises because each instance of participated being is a unit.
Owing to its unity the existent is self-contained and set off from everything else. As is apparent from the comparison between inorganic matter and a man, when there is an increase in the level of existence there is also an increase in unity; for, while the truly individual thing is very different to recognize in physical matter, man as a person manifests a clearly defined individuality. A complete lack of unity or absolute fragmentation is equivalent to nothing.
The indivisible is secure in its being owing to its simplicity, because it cannot be destroyed be separation. The divisible, on the other hand, is continually robbed of its being through separation, so that it either ceases to exist or at least no longer exists as an undamaged whole.
2. Truth: Where there is being, truth can be had by an intellect capable of knowing that being. Truth is grounded upon the being of a thing, not on its nature. Truth is reached when the intellect knows something as it actually is. It is what the mind strives to attain in its own endeavours. Precisely, truth is attained in a judgment when the judgment reflects the actual being of a thing. The truth of things is their intelligibility. When we look around us and observe clouds, houses, people, etc., we understand what we are seeing as meaningful and intelligible. We do not merely register a meaningless pattern of sensations. Truth, therefore, follows upon being when being is considered in relation to any intellect that can know it. The truth of a being is merely the being itself considered as knowable. “It adds no new reality to the thing, but is expressed in a new concept. Truth, in consequence, is conceptually and not really distinct from being.”2 Truth is said to be formally in the intellect rather than in things because it is what intellection achieves. The intellect gives cognitional being to the thing it knows. Truth is transcendental since all things are intelligible in terms of being. It is, therefore, a transcendental property of being.
3. Goodness: Goodness means that all proper beings fulfill a need or a desire in another - for example, the mother hen is for her chicks, the rain is for the earth, and male is for female. All true beings have this dimension of service. Goodness is being when considered in relation to appetite. It is merely being itself which is now conceived as appetible. It adds nothing real to being. The presence of appetite is known through consciousness in one’s own self. All creatures are appetible basically in their relation to the will of subsistent being, which produced them through free choice. All created things are also appetible to other things. Good, therefore, is that which all desire. Hence whatever is the object of appetite is good. It is not entirely synonymous with being nor adds anything real to being, but it adds to being a relation of suitability to the appetite. Every being is good because ‘to be’ itself is a perfection and therefore desirable. If what is known appears as perfection for the knower, it is desired when absent and enjoyed when possessed. “Goodness, unlike truth, is found formally in the thing sought for or enjoyed, and not in the appetite that seeks it.”3 Appetite is a tendency towards what is in the thing that constitutes its object. Goodness is located in the thing. The infinite being is good by its very essence; for its essence is the ultimate end of all things and therefore, the object of appetite. Finite things, on the other hand, are good only by participation, for they are an end only through their relationship to God, whom they imitate in a limited way. Goodness is based upon perfection, and accidents are necessary for the perfection of anything finite. “When all the required physical perfections are present, the thing is physically good, while the lack of this is called a physical evil,”4 like paralysis in man. In the same way, the required moral perfection in human conduct is called moral goodness like eating moderately; while its absence is moral evil, for example, gluttony. The transcendental character of goodness extends to all things, good and evil, in so far as they are beings. Anything evil is desired only on account of some goodness it possesses. Therefore, everything is transcendentally good. Any good sought for itself terminates the particular appetite. Just as all finite beings are caused by subsistent being, so all finite goods are subordinate to the infinite good that follows upon infinite being. Only the infinitely good can absolutely terminate all appetites because it alone is perfectly good and the perfectly being
4. Beauty: Beauty, of all the transcendental, is the most evasive and the most difficult to understand. It may not be strictly arranged alongside the other transcendental, for it is said to grow out of them as their fulfillment. “It consists in the accord of unity, truth and goodness to which the harmonious mutual penetration of intuitive knowing and satisfied willing corresponds. Existence and spirit achieve rest in beauty because there they have completely found themselves.”5 Beauty seems, therefore, a splendor that emerges from actuated form. It should be present wherever form is actual, wherever anything exists.
Paraphrasing, Aquinas defines Beauty as that which pleases when seen. Everything is beautiful in the measure that it has being. Beauty has:
(1) Integrity, suggesting that everything that is supposed to pertain to a given being is present.
(2) Proportion, which means that all of its components are related to each other in a right and harmonious way; and
(3) Clarity, in which it is meaningful and intelligible (and which can also mean that it has brightness of colour).
As a condition for the fulfillment and perfect harmony of the one, the true and the good, beauty may be included with these three transcendental. Since our analysis applies as much to the spiritually perceptible as to the sensibly visible, there is a purely spiritual beauty. In the physical order, however, we usually apply the term “beautiful” only to what is intensely experienced, because beauty shines brightly in it. Yet metaphysical analysis finds at least a rudimentary beauty in every being because the complete destruction of harmonious wholeness, which makes contemplation and pleasure possible, is equivalent to the annihilation of being. As a transcendental property, beauty is conceptually but not really distinct from being.
Inter-relationship between the Transcendentals The account of the transcendental as stated above permits their intrinsic or essential connection to be seen. Through being, unity comes directly to an entity; it is given with being directly without any intermediary, and for this reason can be referred to as a pre-operative attribute of being. Truth and goodness build upon this; they are not merely educed from the unity of being, but rather are given through a type of operation, and thus are referred to as operative attributes. Intrinsic to truth is a relevance to or conformity with a spiritual knower and this comes to an entity in virtue of its being. In the same way, goodness implies a similar accessibility to or conformity with appetite and this too comes to an entity in virtue of its being. Further, since in knowledge there is only an imperfect or still incomplete union of spirit with being, while in appetition or love this union is complete or perfect, truth is ontologically prior to goodness. What begins in truth finds its completion in goodness. Beauty includes unity, truth and goodness simultaneously and in this sense is their completion and perfect harmony. Unity transforms an entity, making it a harmonious whole in which truth is so luminous that it is not merely grasped discursively, but is perceived directly. But the perception of truth also embraces goodness, which leads one from the disquiet of appetite to the quiet of pleasure or delightful enjoyment. These transcendental properties of being and their contrarieties are basic to the proper understanding of the essence, structure and functioning of being as such, and of the different expressions of being. “They touch on the innermost definition of being as existent reality both in se and quo ad nos.”6 Whatever is, is a thing. If it is a thing, it is something. If it is something, it is one. If it has unity, it is true. If it is true, it is good and a good thing is beautiful.
As to the treatment of the individual transcendental attributes of being, all are agreed that unity, truth and goodness are found in every being. We would add beauty to this, although those who regard beauty as pertaining essentially to sensible intuition do not follow us here. The four attributes discussed “lend themselves to predication in either of two ways, depending on whether one emphasizes being itself (esse), or what has being (ens).”7 The corresponding formulas read: (i) Being is unity, truth, goodness and beauty, where the “is” expresses formal identity. (ii) Every being, so far as existence comes to it, is one, true, good and beautiful, all of which are implied by this formal identity. Other attributes, some of which as ascribed to being are either not actually transcendental, or are included under one of the attributes already mentioned.
The properties referred to as transcendental necessarily accompany being; being manifests itself in them and reveals what it actually is. Just as being is never found without such properties, so these are inseparably bound up with one another in the sense that they include and interpenetrate each other. Consequently, according to the measure and manner in which a thing possesses being, it partakes of unity, truth and goodness, and presumably, though it is but rarely obvious to human cognition, that of beauty; and conversely, according to the measure and manner in which a thing share in these properties, it possesses being. This implies that subsistent being is also subsistent unity, truth, goodness and beauty. The two further determinants that Aquinas, following Avicenna, names as attributes of being, viz, thing (res) and otherness (aliquid), although transcendental, do not stand out as special attributes in contrast to the others, but rather are reducible to these as co-constituted with them. Thus res goes with ens because being bespeaks “something” that accompanies being; this “something” is exactly the same as thing or the essence. In a similar manner, unity includes otherness because what is undivided in itself is necessarily divided or separate from everything else, for which reason unity as separate is already implied in intrinsic unity. ENDNOTES
1 J., Maritain, A Preface to Metaphysics: Seven Lectures on BEING. (New York:Mentor Omega
Books 1962), p. 81.
2 J., Owens, An Elementary Christian Metaphysics. (Texas: Bruce Pub. Comp., 2003), p.115
3 Ibid. p. 110.
4 P., Iroegbu, Metaphysics: The Kpim of Philosophy. (Owerri: International Universities Press
Ltd., (1995), p. 69.
5 J. P., Whalen (ed), New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14. U.S.A.: Cath. University of America,
Worshington DC., 1967), p. 241.
6 P., Iroegbu, op. cit. p. 68.
7 Ibid. p. 69.

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Attributes of Being

...Metaphysics: The Transcendental Attributes of Being A research paper submitted to [Professor Name] In Partial Fulfillment of the requirements For The course [Course Name] [Seminary Name] By [Student Name] Place Date Introduction While Plato had also covered the notions surrounding the properties of being, Aristotle was the first to bring the term transcendental to the context of the attributes of being. Plato offered valuable insight regarding the four transcendental attributes of being. [1] Aristotle shaped the transcendentals in a specific manner and refined his own perspective. Later philosophers also expanded the discussion surrounding the transcendental attributes of being. These transcendentals become significant in the context of theology because they possess a link with Christian theology and unfold in the form of what man desires. For explicating the four transcendental attributes of being, it becomes significant to first explore the definition of an attribute. An attribute falls under the category of that aspect which does not exist in the form of the embodiment but originates from the same. As regards ‘being’, it can only give rise to what is also being and thus, a ‘being’ cannot spawn attributes or properties while discussing these terminologies in a firm manner. Nevertheless, while approaching the subject in a broader manner, an attribute can be defined for a specific perspective on being as long as it applies to each instance of being and overall entities...

Words: 1802 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Kant's Transcendentalism

...Kant's transcendental idealism has the dual aspect of being difficult to interpret and widely discredited. Kant's relevancy has been on the decline since his day, largely due to a wide variety of attacks from modern analytic philosophy. One of their main targets has been Kant's distinction between appearances and things in themselves. This distinction is integral to Kant's entire transcendental idealism; their attacks risk undermining the entire critical philosophy. These attacks are largely based on the two world interpretation of Kant's philosophy. This perspective is the most common of Kant's viewpoint; appearances and things in-themselves occupy distinct metaphysical realms. Noumena exist independently of phenomena and cause some of them,...

Words: 1534 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

The Mind in Idealism

...THE MIND IN IDEALISM Philosophy of mind is widely considered a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind–body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as one key issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body, such as how consciousness is possible and the nature of particular mental states. One of these issues that do not presume a relationship of a mind and body is the conception of mind in Idealism. Philosophically, idealism is the view that fundamental reality is the make-up of mind and ideas only. This essay will discuss at length what the mind generally means to the idealist especially in the classical sense as espoused by George Berkeley and then proceed to analyse the concept of mind or self in the radical transcendentalism of Joseph von Schelling and conclude with Edmund Husserl, a 20th century philosopher and reputed founder of Phenomenology Idealism is the form of monism that sees the world as consisting of minds, mental contents and or consciousness, according to Stoljar (2005). Idealists are not faced with explaining how minds arise from bodies: rather, the world, bodies and objects are regarded as mere appearances held by minds. According to Stoljar, accounting for the mind–body...

Words: 2973 - Pages: 12

Free Essay

The True Nature of Reality

...Philosophy 1500 14 May 2015 Prompt 1 The True Nature of Reality When it comes to describing the nature of our reality, philosophers have been in search of a system that truly and completely explains everything. It is noteworthy that numerous system have developed over the past few centuries. However, in this paper only four notable theories (dualism, materialism, idealism and transcendental idealism) will be explored. Each theories provide adequate explanation of reality but there are limitations and shortcomings when one contemplate carefully. The theories will be explored and critique by using the mind body problem, The Chinese room, the radical emergence theory. Moreover, one should consider which theory describes the nature of reality with least logical incoherencies. Substance Dualism is a theory that describes “mind and matter” as “two distinct things” (Nagel Thomas 206). Furthermore, substance dualism categorize matter as “physical or material substance” and mind or soul as “non-physical or immaterial substance” (Lacewing Michael) “Substance Dualism”). So, dualism is the proposal that human being as a living, thinking entity not only includes brain and physical matter but also a non-physical substance to account for the mind. The famous seventeenth century French philosopher René Descartes claimed that as “a subject of conscious thought and experience, he cannot consist of spatially extended matter”. He therefore states that “his essential nature must be non-material...

Words: 1964 - Pages: 8

Free Essay


...Transcendental Philosophy One needs specific initiation into the classics of transcendental philosophy (Kant’s "Criticism," Descartes’s "Metaphysics," and Fichte’s "Doctrine of Science") because all say farewell to the common sense view of things. The three types of transcendental thinking converge in conceiving rational autonomy as the ultimate ground for justification. Correspondingly, the philosophical pedagogy of all three thinkers is focused on how to seize and make that very autonomy (or active self-determination) intellectually and existentially available. In the concrete way of proceeding, however, the three models diverge. Descartes expects one to become master of oneself and "the world" by methodologically suspending his judgement on what cannot qualify itself to be undoubtable. Kant leads us to the point where we can triangulate universal conditions of the possibility of knowledge through individually acquiring the competence to judge the legitimacy of encountered propositional claims. Finally, Fichte confronts us with the idea of the identity of self-consciousness and objectivity. (1) Transcending ordinary life and experience to a somewhat higher being is surely not the scope of transcendental philosophy. What the revolutionary achievements of Descartes, Kant, and Fichte have generically in common is to account for the legitimacy of our knowledge claims or, in other words, for the possibility of autonomy. The business of that kind of philosophy is to rationally...

Words: 4837 - Pages: 20

Free Essay


...analysis. Affine functions | Quadratic function | Continuous function | Trigonometric function | An affine function | A quadratic function. | The signum function is not continuous, since it "jumps" at 0. | The sine and cosine function. | f(x) = ax + b. | f(x) = ax2 + bx + c. | Roughly speaking, a continuous function is one whose graph can be drawn without lifting the pen. | e.g., sin(x), cos(x) | Further types of function * differentiable, integrable * polynomial, rational * algebraic, transcendental * odd or even * convex, monotonic * holomorphic, meromorphic, entire * vector-valued * computable * Proposition In logic and philosophy the term proposition refers to either (a) the "content" or "meaning" of a meaningful declarative sentence or (b) the pattern of symbols, marks, or sounds that make up a meaningful declarative sentence. In classical logic, the meaning of a proposition includes having the quality or property of being either true or false, and as such propositions are claimed to betruthbearers Example | Name | Result | $a and $b | And | TRUE if both $a and $b are TRUE. | $a or $b | Or | TRUE if either $a or $b is TRUE. | $a xor $b | Xor | TRUE if either $a or $b is TRUE, but not both. | ! $a | Not | TRUE if $a is not TRUE. | $a && $b | And | TRUE if both $a and $b are TRUE. | $a || $b | Or | TRUE if either $a or $b is TRUE....

Words: 276 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Art over Media

...The philosophers tell us that art consists essentially, not in performing a moral act, but in making a thing, a work, in making an object with a view not to the human good of the agent, but to the exigencies and the proper good of the object to be made, and by employing ways of realization predetermined by the nature of the object in question. Art thus appears as something foreign in itself to the sphere of the human good, almost as something inhuman, and whose exigencies nevertheless are absolute: for, needless to say, there are not two ways of making an object well, of realizing well the work one has conceived -- there is but one way, and it must not be missed. The philosophers go on to say that this making activity is principally and above all an intellectual activity. Art is a virtue of the intellect, of the practical intellect, and may be termed the virtue proper to working reason. But then, you will say, if art is nothing other than an intellectual virtue of making, whence comes its dignity and its ascendancy among us? Why does this branch of our activity draw to it so much human sap? Why has one always and in all peoples admired the poet as much as the sage? It may be answered first that to create, to produce something intellectually, to make an object rationally constructed, is something very great in the world: for man this alone is already a way of imitating God. And I am speaking here of art in general, such as the ancients understood it -- in short, of art as the...

Words: 412 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

What Is Critical Junc

...3.2 God in the Critique of Pure Reason's Transcendental Dialectic 3.2.1 The Ens Realissimum The Transcendental Dialectic's “Ideal of Reason” contains the best known and most frequently anthologized components of Kant's philosophy of religion. In addition to its portrayal of the ens realissimum, one finds within it Kant's objections to the Ontological, Cosmological and Physico-theological (Design) arguments for God's existence. It is thus the text most central to the negative elements of Kant's philosophy of religion and is integral to the widely held view that Kant is deeply hostile to faith. The general aim of the Transcendental Dialectic is to expose reason's excesses, its drive to move beyond the limits of possible experience, and to bring all concepts into a systematic unity under an “unconditioned condition.” The Transcendental Dialectic begins with a critique of reason's illusions and errors within the sphere of Rational Psychology. It then moves on to a critique of cosmological metaphysics, and then to the “Ideal of Reason” where Kant turns to Rational Theology and its pursuit of religious knowledge. As Kant explains, underlying all the traditional proofs for God's existence is the concept of the ens realissimum, the most real being. Reason comes to the idea of this being through the principle that every individuated object is subject to the “principle of complete determination.” While the generality of concepts allow them to be less than fully determined (e.g...

Words: 13468 - Pages: 54

Free Essay

What Is Truth

...and therefore cannot grasp the perception of the next dimension. The second dimension consists of moving lines which turns into shapes along two axis’, this dimension can fully understand the first dimension but yet again the next dimension is inconceivable. In the third dimension the same idea is applied, the shapes formed along the second dimension are moved and twisted into, as we perceive it, three dimensional shapes that are multisided and multifaceted. The same rule applies where the third dimension can understand the first and second dimensions. In respect of the first three dimension does it not make sense that the next dimension, the fourth dimension, would also be squared making shapes along four plains? With human understanding being caught in the third dimension there is no definite way to prove what the fourth...

Words: 2376 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Critical Anlysis

...the "mob" (majority rule) and the "elite" (group of nobles) in his country (Johansen 22). He felt that majority rule was irrational and volatile because the average person lacked knowledge and self-restraint, making decisions from emotional responses based on desire and sentiment (Johansen 25). When is comes to metaphysics, Plato’s Theory of the Forms is by far the nucleus of it. For Plato, Forms are timeless essence or entities that rule the well being of a person. Also according to Plato, Forms are transcendental because they depend on the declaration that there is a plane of being outside of our ordinary existence (Tovar 10). Plato divided metaphysics into four levels of reality and four epistemological ways of apprehending the Forms. The four levels of reality are images, sensible objects, lower forms, and higher forms (Tovar 22). The four epistemological ways of apprehending are imagination, perception, reasoning and understanding. When is comes to his epistemology, he tied his dualistic notion of being and becoming. Being is said to be unchangeable and becoming is the way the world appears. Plato though that whatever is relative and always shifting could not be true. So basically Plato is saying the becoming is something that is not real. When it comes to truth and knowledge, these two things are found in another realm of reality. For Descartes metaphysics, it comes down to three things. First would be mind and body. Descartes considered mind and body were...

Words: 1010 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Sneakerhead Subculture

...soft core members (Fox 1987; Kates 2002; Beverland et al. 2006). Hard core members are strictly enslaved to the core value while soft core members only have peripheral relationship with the group. Being the key opinion leaders, hard...

Words: 1147 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Emerson Final

...Emerson is often considered the father of the transcendental philosophical tradition. Transcendentalists believe in three major principles: individualism, idealism and the divinity of nature. The Transcendentalists believed that an individual could “transcend” or go beyond the physical world of the senses into a different world of spiritual experience through free will and intuition. Emerson and the Transcendentalists believed that God was not distant and unreachable, but knowable through our own souls and through a deep connection with nature. The central themes in all of his works were individuality, freedom, human self-realization and relation to nature. In his essay on Nature, Emerson explores the relationship between humans and nature. He asserts that the beauty of nature can be understood by people only when one is in solitude. The true understanding of significance of nature is hindered by the hustle and bustle of daily life. Emerson is of the view that we take nature for granted. For example, we take the stars for granted because we know that they will always be there. However, although they are “accessible” in that they are visible to us, they are also inaccessible due to the distance between us. We can never physically touch them. However, there is an inter-connectedness among the nature, soul and the divine that we miss. “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” He feels that we must view nature from the eyes of a child. A child sees things in new an unbiased...

Words: 2122 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Dignity of Art

...The philosophers tell us that art consists essentially, not in performing a moral act, but in making a thing, a work, in making an object with a view not to the human good of the agent, but to the exigencies and the proper good of the object to be made, and by employing ways of realization predetermined by the nature of the object in question. Art thus appears as something foreign in itself to the sphere of the human good, almost as something inhuman, and whose exigencies nevertheless are absolute: for, needless to say, there are not two ways of making an object well, of realizing well the work one has conceived -- there is but one way, and it must not be missed. The philosophers go on to say that this making activity is principally and above all an intellectual activity. Art is a virtue of the intellect, of the practical intellect, and may be termed the virtue proper to working reason. But then, you will say, if art is nothing other than an intellectual virtue of making, whence comes its dignity and its ascendancy among us? Why does this branch of our activity draw to it so much human sap? Why has one always and in all peoples admired the poet as much as the sage? It may be answered first that to create, to produce something intellectually, to make an object rationally constructed, is something very great in the world: for man this alone is already a way of imitating God. And I am speaking here of art in general, such as the ancients understood it -- in short, of art...

Words: 1350 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

The Concept of Nature

...John Milton. An idyll was originally a short, peaceful pastoral lyric, but has come to include poems of epic adventure set in an idealized past, including Lord Alfred Tennyson's take on Arthurian legend, The Idylls of the King. The Biblical Song of Songs is also considered an idyll, as it tells its story of love and passion by continuously evoking imagery from the natural world. The more familiar form of surviving pastoral poetry that has retained its integrity is the eclogue, a poem attuned to the natural world and seasons, placed in a pleasant, serene, and rural place, and in which shepherds often converse. The first eclogue was written by Virgil in 37 B.C.E. The eclogue also flourished in the Italian Renaissance, its most notable authors being Dante and Petrarch. It became something of a requirement for young poets, a form they had to master before embarking upon great original work. Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and Edmund Spenser’s The Shephearde’s Calendar are English triumphs of the form, the latter relying on the months of the year to trace the changes in a shepherd's life. In "Januarye," Spenser compares the shepherd's unreturned affection with "the frosty ground," "the frozen trees" and "his own winter beaten flocks." In "April" he writes "Like April showers, so streams the trickling tears." It was the...

Words: 6645 - Pages: 27

Premium Essay

Epistemology In Western Philosophy

...This skepticism gives no foundation on knowledge, as not only knowledge cannot be derived by reason, but also senses experiences are not reliable – it often deceives us. Kant’s Transcendental Philosophy The mention of Kant’s epistemology is necessary as his idea is revolutionary. Since Descartes’ “Cogito, Ergo Sum”, modern philosophy has shifted its approach to subjectivity, and the trend reaches its peak in Kant’s philosophy. To what he called “Copernican Revolution” – from concerning the objectivity of knowledge to subject’s cognitive ability. In Kant’s view, human are not born as blank sheet, but was given the concept of time, space, causality, etc. The acquisition of knowledge is then possible under such a framework, where those concepts are stated under 4 categories of pure understanding. Kant attempted to look for a type of proposition that is informative and universal – to respond Hume’s view that what is universal...

Words: 1125 - Pages: 5