This dissertation is the fruit of some intellectual labour for nearly a decade and a half. Some of my papers, published during this period in different Indian journals of philosophy have been incorporated in this treatise, although none of them in its original form. The published articles have been extensively re-cast and re-set to bring them in line with the present trend of thought and most of the materials of this dissertation are fresh and previously unpublished. Yet the substance of my papers published in Philosophical Quarterly, Amalner (now defunct), Journal of Indian Philosophical Association (Amravati), Calcutta Review (Calcutta University), Proceedings of the Indian Philosophical Congress, Rabindranath, Birth Centenary, Vol.III (Santiniketan), Rabindra Bharati University Journal, etc. has been incorporated in it.
I sent one of my published papers, a critique of Classical Logical Positivism, to Professor A.J. Ayer for his opinion. One of my former students, who was then a student of Professor Ayer in London, acted as the bridge. My student, after some time, wrote back to me the written comment of Professor Ayer on my paper, which ran as follows:
‘It [the article] seems to me to give a good summary of what might be called the classical logical positivist position. The best critical point is that the verification principle has never yet been adequately stated in a way that establishes a tenable frontier between science and metaphysics. I wish, however, that the writer and gone on to suggest some alternative criterion, or perhaps to argue that no criterion was possible or necessary; but I dare say he will be more venturesome on some other occasion.’ Since then I have been interested in finding the desired criterion of demarcating the boundaries of science and philosophy and the present dissertation is the result of that interest.
I could not, however, be adversely critical of the modern analytic movement in England and America as I have followed it. The problem of meaning, and, consequently, the problem of analysis of linguistic expressions, seem to me to be central in philosophy. Meaning does not hang in the air; it is a parasite on symbolic devices—verbal or non-verbal. This leads me to conclude that language and thought are identical, though both fall short of reality. Philosophy is concerned with the meaning and significance of speakable contents with the realm of facts. Ontology or metaphysics does not give us a knowledge of reality, whether singular or plural, sensible or super-sensible. It only analyses the meaning of being or reality as such and deduces consequences of such definitions.
I have endeavoured to establish here that analyses of crucial concepts and categories that govern our experience of everyday world, as given by recent Anglo-American language- philosophers, are not final and there may be several alternative analyses of such concepts, giving rise to alternative philosophical theories. In compliance with this view I have analysed the concepts of ‘the true’ and ‘the good’ in Chapter VI and of ‘the personal’ and ‘the impersonal’ in the last chapter in a somewhat original manner. Of course, my studies are naturally limited and I do not claim my analysis to be anything final. But I have sought to practise analysis which, I think, is true philosophical work. What my thesis seeks to do is not the demolition of earlier views in this regard, but removal of what appears to me the lapses and shortcomings in them by positive and constructive analysis.
I have maintained a radical distinction between science and philosophy with reference to the distinction between ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’ (Chapter VII). I maintain that philosophy understands ‘meanings’ whereas science knows ‘facts’. Hence they differ both is their subject-matter and in their methods of investigation. The method of philosophy is speculative and not empirical like that of science. Hence science and philosophy do not meet at any point. Philosophy never gives us any knowledge of facts—empirical or transcendental.
I have received some hints from the writings of Professor Krishnachandra Bhattacharyya of the University of Calcutta as I have understood that subtle thinker. I, of course, take the entire responsibility for the view propounded here. Though I have sought to follow tradition in philosophy, my approach to the problems may appear to be novel.
I further seek to show that ‘arguments’ and ‘explanations’, used by a scientist and a philosopher respectively are radically different. I maintain that ‘the logic of proof’ can be distinguished from ‘the logic of elaboration’ (Chapter IX) and that the former is scientific argument whereas the latter is used in matters philosophical. Here also the reader may find some new and original thoughts. I have tried to revive important subtle ideas that were lost in the jungle of various theories and verbal duels in the history of Western philosophy. A perusal of the dissertation may show that even the ancient thinkers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as well as the ancient Indian philosophers realised that the true business of philosophy was really concerned with meanings; only latter thinkers sometimes diverged from the main current of thought. We are, even today, interested in philosophical theories propounded by Aristotle, though we are not so interested in his scientific theories. In philosophy tradition goes on but in science it is not so.
|Chapter One||Age of Analysis||1|
|Chapter Two||Language and Thought||9|
|Chapter Three||Language and Reality||20|
|Chapter Four||Philosophy and Ordinary Language||41|
|Chapter Five||Criterion of Meaning||70|
|Chapter Six||The True' and 'The Good'||110|
|Chapter Seven||Knowing and Understanding||137|
|Chapter Eight||Meaning, Implication and Philosophy||152|
|Chapter Nine||Arguments and Explanations (Scientific and Philosophical)||169|
|Chapter Ten||Philosophy and Self-consciousness||183|
Item Code: NAM014 Author: Sibapada Chakravarti Cover: Paperback Edition: 1982 Publisher: Rabindra Bharati University Language: English Size: 8.5 inch x 5.0 inch Pages: 218 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 220 gms