The Art-Music, Literature and Linguistics Forum

Our Library => A. E. Taylor - Elements of Metaphysics (1909) => Topic started by: Admin on January 07, 2023, 07:01:32 am



Title: Book I Chapter 2 - 9
Post by: Admin on January 07, 2023, 07:01:32 am
9. We may perhaps specify one further characteristic which seems, at least, to belong to every datum of immediate experience. Every experience seems to be implicitly complex, that is, its aspect of content appears never to be absolutely simple, but always to contain a plurality of aspects, which, as directly felt, are not distinct, but are at the same time distinguishable as soon as we begin by reflection to describe and analyse it. From the nature of the case this complexity cannot be directly ascertained by inspection, for the inspection itself presupposes that we are dealing with the experience not as immediately felt, but as already sufficiently analysed and reflected upon to be described in general terms. Indirectly, however, our result seems to be established by the consideration that, as soon as we reflect upon the given at all, we find these distinguishable aspects within its content, and that, unless they were there implicitly from the first, it is hard to see how the mere process of reflection could have given birth to them. Thus, for instance, in even the most  rudimentary experience there would appear to be something answering to the distinction between the presentational quality of a sensation and its accompanying tone of pleasure or pain. It is difficult, again, not to think that in any sentient experience there must be some difference between elements  which correspond to more or less stable conditions of the sentient organism itself ("organic sensation") and those which correspond to relatively novel and infrequent features of the  environment. Some philosophers would indeed be prepared to go further, and to maintain that a more or less explicit consciousness of distinction between self and not-self, or again between subject and object, is logically involved in the very possibility of an experience. The question, as a psychological one, need not be raised here; it must, however, be carefully remarked that whatever view we may adopt as to the number and character of the aspects which analysis reveals within the  contents of the simplest experience, those aspects, as directly apprehended, originally constitute an unanalysed whole. Our various subsequent analyses all presuppose theories as to the ultimate what of experience which it is the business of Metaphysics to test.