In which case the desideratum is more data p. Its disadvantage lies in its productivity of error p. But then the theory a distorts the facts of meaning p. The Nature Of Thought Vol. How does an imperfectly realized end complete itself?
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During a visit to Toronto in , their mother Emily fell down stairs while holding a kerosene lamp. She died of burns the next day. The Rev. Francis briefly left them in her care to pastor a church in Helena, Montana.
In the four moved south to Edinburg, Ohio. Upon being diagnosed with tuberculosis , Francis was advised to seek the drier climate of the American West. In , Francis Blanshard bade his mother and sons goodbye. The family moved northwest to Bay View, Michigan , while Francis moved alone to Albuquerque, New Mexico , where, in , he died, alone in a tent. Realizing their need for good education, the family relocated to Detroit in so the boys could graduate from the well known Central High School.
Soon both were at the top of their class, joined the debating team, and Brand was made class Poet. Brand also excelled at baseball. Brand discovered philosophy while majoring in classics. Joseph , who greatly influenced him, and met F. Bradley and T. German submarine warfare forced him to return to the USA via Japan. Fate reunited the Blanshard twins at Columbia University where Paul was studying the new field of Sociology.
The brothers participated in a project run by their shared mentor and friend, John Dewey. On this project they met Frances Bradshaw of Smith College - see below. Brand obtained his M. After a short teaching stint at Michigan, he taught at Swarthmore College from to He spent the remainder of his career at Yale University until his retirement in At Yale, he served as chairman of the Department of Philosophy for many years. In , he delivered the Gifford Lectures in Scotland.
In he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Merton College. It came as a great blow to him when Frances died in He completed her book Frank Aydelotte of Swarthmore, publishing it in In , after what he later described as "loneliness, failing health, and failing motives," he married Roberta Yerkes, a daughter of his Yale colleague Robert M.
Brand Blanshard died in at the age of 95, in New Haven, Connecticut. He was also generally regarded as one of the last absolute idealists because he was strongly influenced by British idealism especially F. Bradley and Bernard Bosanquet. However, this influence was felt primarily in his views concerning logic, values, and epistemology.
He departed from absolute idealism in many respects, so much so that he explicitly disavowed being an idealist in an essay in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard in his reply to Charles Hartshorne. Blanshard sharply distinguished epistemological idealism the position that all objects of direct experience exist only in consciousness from ontological idealism the position that the world in itself is mental, or made of mind-stuff. Rather, he thought it all but certain that the material world exists independently of mind and rejected the basic dictum of Berkeleian ontological idealism, that esse est percipi to be is to be perceived.
Strongly critical of positivism , logical atomism , pragmatism , and most varieties of empiricism , he held that the universe consists of an Absolute in the form of a single all-encompassing intelligible system in which each element has a necessary place. Moreover, this Absolute—the universe as a whole—he held to be the only true " particular ", all elements within it being ultimately resoluble into specific " universals " properties, relations, or combinations thereof that might be given identically in more than one context.
He regarded his metaphysical monism as essentially a form of Spinozism. Also strongly critical of reductionist accounts of mind e. Thought, he held, is that activity of mind which aims at truth , and the ultimate object of thought is full understanding of the Absolute.
Such understanding comes about, in his view, through a grasp of necessity: to understand or explain something is to see it as necessitated within a system of which it is a part. Blanshard held the law of causality , properly understood, to be a logical law and believed that effects logically determine their causes as well as vice versa. Strictly speaking, he admitted, we cannot prove that there are no atomic facts, bare conjunctions, or sheer surds in nature, but we can take it as our working hypothesis that relations of necessity are always to be found; until and unless this hypothesis meets with absolute defeat, we are justified in adopting it at least provisionally.
In his early work The Nature of Thought, he defended a coherence theory of truth though this is not the main thrust of that book, which, as the title makes explicit, is an essay in philosophical psychology. In his later years, however, he came to think that the relation between thought and object was sui generis and might be described, about equally inadequately, as either "correspondence" or "coherence"; at any rate, he admitted, the "coherence" between thought and its ideal object differs from the coherence that may obtain among thoughts.
He also backed away from his early more or less Bradleian claim that the ultimate aim of thought was identification with its object. He defended a strong doctrine of internal relations. He maintained, with longtime friend and philosophical colleague A. Ewing , that the doctrine would have caught on far better had it been more accurately described in terms of "relevance" rather than of "internality". His doctrine on this point was that no relation is entirely irrelevant to the natures of the terms it relates, such relevance and therefore "internality" being a matter of degree.
Sympathetic to theism but skeptical of traditional religious and theological dogma, he did not regard his Absolute as having the characteristics of a personal God but nevertheless maintained that it was a proper subject of rational religious inquiry and even devotion.
His admiration for this temper extended his philosophical loyalties across "party lines", especially to the one philosopher he regarded as exemplifying that temper to the greatest degree: Henry Sidgwick. He also spoke highly of Bertrand Russell.
Theologically, Blanshard was raised Methodist but tended toward theological liberalism from an early age, a tendency that became more pronounced as he grew older.
In ethics, he was broadly utilitarian ; however, he preferred the term " teleological " since the term "utilitarian" suggested that all goods were instrumental and he believed with, e. Joseph and W. Ross that some experiences were intrinsically good. He also denied that pleasure is the sole good, maintaining instead with T. Green that experiences are good as wholes and that pleasure is not, strictly speaking, a separable element within such wholes. Disagreeing with G. Moore that the " naturalistic fallacy " is really a fallacy, he gave an entirely naturalistic analysis of goodness, holding that an experience is intrinsically good to the degree that it a fulfills an impulse or drive and b generates a feeling-tone of satisfaction attendant upon such fulfillment.
He regarded the first of these factors as by far the more important and held that the major intrinsic goods of human experience answer to the basic drives of human nature; he maintained that these two factors together provide not merely a criterion for but the actual meaning of intrinsic goodness.
He defined all other ethical terms, including "right", in terms of intrinsic goodness, a right act, for example, being that act which tends to produce the greatest amount of intrinsic goodness under the relevant circumstances.
The little that Blanshard wrote on political theory mainly in Reason and Goodness owed much to Green and Bosanquet. Blanshard argued that there is excellent reason to regard this "ideal" will as in fact real, and contended that it provided the foundation for a rational political theory. The state is justified if, and precisely insofar as, it helps individual human beings to pursue and achieve the common end which is the object of their rational will.
He did not develop this doctrine to the point of advocating any specific form of political organization or social structure, but in his Schilpp autobiography, he described an early sympathy for socialism and to having voted the "straight Democratic ticket" over the previous odd years. A firm believer in clarity of exposition, and himself one of the ablest writers of philosophical prose in the English language, he wrote a short book "On Philosophical Style" in defense of the view that philosophical profundity need not and should not be couched in obscurity and obfuscation.
Both this book and his Reason and Analysis are probably best understood as complementary facets of his extensive work on metaphilosophy never labeled as such. His extraordinarily thorough and telling critique of these approaches in "Reason and Analysis" has profoundly therapeutic implications for how philosophy might be done, and the topics, including metaphysics, with which it may properly be concerned.
However, his incisive critiques of Wittgenstein, Russell, and Moore, though almost superhumanly fair, placed him very much at odds with the main currents of Anglo-American philosophy. At the same time he was unsympathetic to what he saw as the anti-rationalism, and tendency to obscurantism, of Existentialism, which placed him at odds with some tendencies in Continental philosophy. Finally, his most ambitious book, "The Nature of Thought", reached publication immediately before the outbreak of war, which severely limited the reception it received.
On his philosophy[ edit ] If there is anything in my philosophy that I should hope might last, it is the quite unoriginal but none the less important thesis that the rational life is at once the worthiest of lives and the most valuable. On the world[ edit ] Many philosophers of the present day are convinced that every existing thing and event is logically unconnected with any other and could disappear from the world without necessarily affecting anything else. Such a rubbish-heap view of the world I cannot accept.
On mind and consciousness[ edit ] What mind is like can be understood only from within. I have never been able to accept the realist view that the objects of direct experience are independent of consciousness. Indeed everything we sense or feel seems to me to exist only in consciousness. If science could get rid of consciousness, it would have disposed of the only stumbling block to its universal application. Raab" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. On the eternal[ edit ] I do not think that G.
The world for me is a necessary system, and in the degree to which the thinker can surrender his thought to that system and follow it, he is in a sense participating in that which is timeless or eternal. This has been part of the thought of all the great rationalists from Plato through Aquinas and Spinoza to Hegel and McTaggart.
On Bertrand Russell[ edit ] What he loved above all—rationality—and what he hated above all—cruelty—were surely the right things, whether he found them in the right places or not.
The Nature of Thought
The Nature of Thought by Brand Blanshard