Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Baldwin, James Mark
subjective existence, is tbe final necessity of 
thought, and yet that the perceptions and 
objects in consciousness are not the reality, 
and do not resemble, but only symbolize it. 
At the same time he marks this off from ‘ hypo¬ 
thetical realism,’ because that only asserts the 
existence of this real as an inference, not as 
a ‘ fact ’ (Psychol., ii. chap. xix). Lewes calls 
his theory reasoned realism, which he dis¬ 
tinguishes not only from crude or natural 
realism, but also from the transfigured. It 
asserts that the reality of an external existence, 
a not-self, is given in feeling, and indissolubly 
woven into consciousness. Here realism 
seems to mean not externality to conscious¬ 
ness, but externality to the subject, or ego, in 
consciousness (Problems of Life and Mind, 
1V6-95). See also Real Idealism (or Ideal 
We shall now take up realism in the first 
sense. In one aspect the problem goes back 
to Socrates, who asserted that the object of 
knowledge (and hence the true, the certain, 
the real) was the universal, endeavouring in 
this way to overcome the subjectivism of the 
Sophists. In Plato, the universal appear as 
the ideas and the true or absolute beings; and 
an exposition of the method of arriving at 
them, of their nature and interrelations, and 
their connection with the various forms of 
reality and experience constitutes the chief 
object of his philosophy. It was long fashion¬ 
able to regard him as an extreme realist in the 
mediaeval sense, that is, as asserting the sub¬ 
sistence of uni versais by themselves, inde¬ 
pendent of any relation to individuals—ante 
res. Aristotle is largely responsible for this 
interpretation, since he continually polemicizes 
against the Platonic separation of the ideas ; 
he is the authority with the Scholastics. But, 
in the first place, the ultimate reality with 
Aristotle, the pure form, has the same tran¬ 
scendence which he attributes to the Platonic 
idea, so far as existence is concerned. It is, at 
bottom, the lack of dynamic connection with 
the world which Aristotle, whether rightly or 
wrongly, criticizes in Plato—a lack which he 
attempts to fill by his theory of the form as 
the end, which matter as the potential always 
attempts to realize, and hence moves towards. 
But, in the second place, and more signifi¬ 
cantly, the whole mediaeval and modern con¬ 
ception of realism is foreign to the interests of 
Greek philosophy, both Platonic and Ari¬ 
stotelian. Plato and Aristotle are interested 
in showing that the real is universal, and 
under what conditions it becomes or is indi¬ 
vidual ; but the interest in the obverse ques¬ 
tion, the reality of the universal and of the 
individual, is one which depends upon the 
whole intervening period, indicating indeed 
that the starting-point has been reversed. 
It could not arise until the psychological 
movement had gone far enough to corre¬ 
late the universal and subjective thought. 
This is not to say, of course, that mediaeval 
thought did not naturally and inevitably 
identify its own problems with those of Greek 
thought, and even cast them in the terms of 
that thought. Neo-Platonism, with its express 
derivation of the hierarchy of successive forms 
of thought and being from the more universal 
as the more real, was the immediate cause of 
this identification, so that realism is the first 
to make its appearance, which it does in 
full-fledged form in Scotus Erigena (q. v., 
and also Scholasticism). It is a matter of 
moment that realism is the doctrine of those 
who are especially interested in philosophic 
content, while nominalism appears, at first, 
rather as a merely formal and logical doctrine. 
As such, it is a passage in the translation by 
Boethius of Porphyry’s introduction to the 
Categories of Aristotle which started the discus¬ 
sion—a treatise, it must be remembered, which 
at this period was known only quite apart 
from the metaphysics and physics of Aristotle. 
The passage raised the problem of genera and 
species, (1) as to whether they subsist in 
themselves or only in the mind ; (2) whether, 
if subsistent, they are corporeal or incorporeal; 
and (3) whether separated from sensible 
things, or placed in them. Roscelin appears 
as an extreme nominalist, holding that the 
universals are only abstractions from parti¬ 
cular things (are post res), and in them¬ 
selves are only words (voces) or names(momrâa). 
William of Champeaux asserted realism in its 
most extreme form. Only genera are sub¬ 
stances; individuals are only their attributes; 
manhood is essential, Socrates accidental. 
Moreover, every universal is real ; whiteness 
would be real even if there were no white 
thing. These extreme views obviously de¬ 
manded some attempt at mediation. This 
was supplied by Abelard. He held that 
a universal, even as a name, is yet more than 
a name ; it is a predicate, or sermo. This is 
reached only by conception, which, comparing 
individual things, reaches that which ‘ natur¬ 
ally ’ is a predicate. So far Abelard would be 
classed as a conceptualist. But he goes on to 
develop the idea of a natural predicate. Since, 
universals are the instruments of all know-


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