chapter  5
44 Pages

Philosophers and problems of fact

THIS FINAL CHAPTER adds nothing to the discussion of principles in Chapters Two to Four, but it seems to me to be useful by way of supporting evidence, although it only deals with examples selected somewhat at random. The problem is the following. The three main fields that deal with the problems of knowledge are those of norms, facts, and intuition. It is perfectly natural for philosophers to deal with the question of norms, for if we try to deal with problems of principles and foundations, we are forced to discuss norms. Logic is the science of formal truth, and a logical demonstration must be accepted. But these formal norms need to be coordinated with the totality of problems, and it is therefore natural that reflection should be concerned with these questions of coordination. Intuition, on the other hand, is, for those believing in it, a direct grasping of the object and gives us truth, i.e. it is both normative and ontological or factual. The ideal of a mode of knowledge peculiar to philosophy therefore always involves an appeal to intuition, and hence it is once again normal that philosophy concerns itself with intuitive knowledge. There remains, on the contrary, problems of fact, and in this respect two positions are possible.