This is not the empirical experience of an object, but a metaphysical experience of the ground of his or her personal being. This experience is in itself the experience of God. God is something experienced.
Such arguments are perforce weaker than those based directly on the fact of change in the universe. Meehan, Efficient Causality in Aristotle and St. V, 2, p. Technically, if initial conditions were able to be specified with sufficient precision — which might mean dozens of decimal places — the chaotic systems could be made predictable for any desired time into the future, though their behavior would remain extremely erratic by normal standards.
In fact, however, the necessary degree of precision is chimerical because of quantum mechanical limitations, random noise, and limitations imposed by the atomic structure of the measuring instruments.
Philosophically , one could go on maintaining that any arbitrary degree of precision in measurements has meaning; scientifically, in terms of what can physically be measured, it does not. Watkin, New York: Sheed and Ward, , p. Joaquin Redondo; hereafter, HD. Joaquin Redondo.
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Thomas, Summa Theologica , 1 q. Zubiri, HD, p. Causality has been a key concept throughout the history of philosophy. One of its main uses has been in securing proofs of the existence of God. A review of the history of causality discloses five distinct phases, with major changes to the uses and understanding of causality. In this phase, causality was considered to be a principle of nature.
Later phases rejected proofs based on causality understood in this fashion but still relied upon the same basic idea of causality for other purposes. The whole notion of causality became very confused, especially after developments in physics during the 20th century. Zubiri pointed out that there are really three elements conflated in our idea of causality: real production of effects, functionality, and power of the real. The type of functionality involved varies greatly and can involve notions unknown to Aristotle, Hume, or Kant.
But especially important is the case of causality involving human beings, since knowledge of direct production of effects is available there that is absent elsewhere. The creation of a new philosophical system is a staggeringly difficult task, fraught with myriad dangers, pitfalls, and problems. Only one of supreme genius can undertake this enterprise with any expectation of success, and then only when old ways of thought have shown themselves inadequate to cope with the march of human knowledge. It is fortunate that these conditions have been fulfilled in our day and in the person of Xavier Zubiri Of course the history of philosophy is littered with corpses of failed systems.
Each expected to put paid to this situation once and for all with his own new and improved philosophy, only to see it fall to the same fate. At the outset, this requires an analysis of intelligence—something which must logically precede any type of rigorous epistemology or Kantian critique. As Robert Caponigri, translator of Sobre la esencia put it,. The theory of intelligence is logically antecedent to the epistemological question and every epistemological theory eventually reveals that it presupposes a theory of the intelligence in its account of what and how man can know.
He believes that philosophy must start from the fundamental fact of experience, that we are installed in reality, however modestly, and that our most basic experiences, what we perceive of the world colors, sounds, people, etc. Without this basis—and despite the fact that knowledge built upon it can at times be in error—there would be no other knowledge either, including science.
However, at the most fundamental level, that of direct apprehension of reality, there is no possibility of error; only knowledge built upon this foundation, involving as it does logos and reason, can be in error. Zubiri points out that it makes sense to speak of error only because we can—and do—achieve truth. Zubiri notes that. The reality of a material thing is not identical with the reality of a person, the reality of society, the reality of the moral, etc. But on the other hand, however different these modes of reality may be, they are always reity, i. Much of the work is devoted to analyzing the process of intelligence, and explaining how its three stages primordial apprehension, logos , and reason unfold and yield knowledge, including scientific knowledge.
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Zubiri seeks to reestablish in a radical fashion the basis for human knowledge, as the principal step in his restructuring of philosophy. This task goes far beyond any type of Kantian critique—something that Zubiri believes can only come after we have analyzed what human knowledge is, and how we apprehend. For Zubiri, perception of reality begins with the sensing process, but he rejects the paradigm of classical philosophy, which starts from opposition between sensing and intelligence.
According to this paradigm, the senses deliver confused content to the intelligence, which then figures out or reconstructs reality. The Scholastics said, nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu nisi ipse intellectus. This is sensible intelligence, and according to Zubiri, the entire paradigm is radically false.
This link to reality must be the cornerstone of any theory of the intelligence:. By virtue of its formal nature, intellection is apprehension of reality in and by itself.
This intellection…is in a radical sense an apprehension of the real which has its own characteristics…. Intellection is formally direct apprehension of the real—not via representations nor images. It is an immediate apprehension of the real, not founded in inferences, reasoning processes, or anything of that nature. It is a unitary apprehension. The unity of these three moments is what makes what is apprehended to be apprehended in and by itself. Otherness consists of two moments, only the first of which has received any attention heretofore: content what the apprehension is of and formality how it is delivered to us.
Formality may be either formality of stimulation, in the case of animals, or formality of reality, in the case of man. The union of content and formality of reality gives rise to the process of knowing which unfolds logically if not chronologically in three modes or phases:. Thus in the field of reality, a thing has an individual moment and a field moment. This is in stark contrast to the notion of essence in classical philosophy. Roughly speaking, primordial apprehension installs us in reality and delivers things to us in their individual and field moments; logos deals with things in the field, how they relate to each other; and reason tells us what they are in the sense of methodological explanation.
A simple example may serve to illustrate the basic ideas. A piece of green paper is perceived. It is apprehended as something real in primordial apprehension; both the paper and the greenness are apprehended as real, in accordance with our normal beliefs about what we apprehend. This point about the reality of the color green is extremely important, because Zubiri believes that the implicit denial of the reality of, say, colors, and the systematic ignoring of them by modern science is a great scandal.
Three levels of sentient intelligence. Our fundamental source of knowledge about the world is our direct contact with it, not the highest level of our intelligence. This is illustrated in Figure 3. Reality must not be considered as some transcendental concept , or even as a concept which is somehow realized in all real things:.
The world is open not only because we do not know what things there are or can be in it; it is open above all because no thing, however precise and detailed its constitution, is reality itself as such.
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Figure 4. Reality in impression and reality beyond impression. An intellection much more difficult than that of quantum physics was needed in order to understand that the real can be real and still not be a thing. Such, for example, is the case of person.
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Being a thing is only one of those modes; being a person is another. Thus not every reality is true in this sense. Though it does not add any notes, actualization does add truth to the real. Rather, knowledge as a human enterprise is both dynamic and limited. It is limited because the canon of reality, like reality itself, can never be completely fathomed. It is limited because as human beings we are limited and must constantly search for knowledge.
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The limitation of knowledge is certainly real, but this limitation is something derived from the intrinsic and formal nature of rational intellection, from knowing as such, since it is inquiring intellection. Only because rational intellection is formally inquiring, only because of this must one always seek more and, finding what was sought, have it become the principle of the next search.
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Knowledge is limited by being knowledge. An exhaustive knowledge of the real would not be knowledge; it would be intellection of the real without necessity of knowledge. Knowledge is only intellection in search. Not having recognized the intrinsic and formal character of rational intellection as inquiry is what led to…subsuming all truth under the truth of affirmation. Understanding, then, requires sentient intellection and cannot exist, even for subjects such as mathematics, without it.
The scientific and the metaphysical are closely connected, because both are forms of knowledge emerging from the reason or third mode of human intellection. Articulating the relationship between them has been a difficult problem for at least three centuries of Western philosophy. For Zubiri, the relationship is as follows: reality unfolds in events observed by the sciences, which indeed allow us to observe aspects of it which would otherwise remain hidden. But this unfolding of reality is no different from its unfolding through personal experience, poetry, music, or religious experience.
All human knowing is of the real, because reality is the formality under which man apprehends anything. But philosophy is not looking to duplicate the efforts of science. For Zubiri, there are three serious problems with any positivistic approach such as this: 1 The meaning of statements cannot be identified with their method of verification, because this represents a hopeless confusion of the three levels of human intelligence. Verification methods involve concepts of reason, whereas the meaning of statements arises at the level of logos, coupled of course with primordial apprehension of reality.
So the idea of being able to capture it in a complete way, or to say all that can be said about it utilizing rational knowledge such as science, is doomed from the start. There will always be knowledge about the world which cannot be subsumed under science or any other form of rational knowledge , or captured in any human formula. Zubiri notes that art, literature, and music are other examples of rational knowledge that tell us about the world—tell us different things about it than science does.
Hence, the fundamental or constitutive openness of reality means that the search for it is a never-ending quest; he believes that the development of quantum mechanics in the twentieth century has been an example of how our concept of reality has broadened. Zubiri believes that any attempt to base theology on complex rational arguments, such as the proofs of the existence of God by Aquinas or Scotus, fails because it makes too many controversial philosophical assumptions at the outset, as do attempts to ground human knowledge in general on theories at the level of reason.
Rather, one must start from something much more modest, namely something in our personal experience.