Paul Weiss's method(s) and system(s).
The release of a systematic metaphysical treatise, Being and Other Realities,(1) and Volume 23 of the Library of Living Philosophers, The Philosophy of Paul Weiss(2), then, calls for an exposition of this latest expression and an inquiry into both Weiss's method and its role in the development of his thought up to this point. In what follows, the somewhat novel doctrine of Being and Other Realities will be briefly summarized. Then, Weiss's philosophical method(s) and their role in the development of his system(s) will be addressed. The expressions "method(s)" and "system(s)" refer to the totality of Weiss's different methods and systems; their unities are not entirely clear. What Weiss's "method," is, that is, which one is foremost, has perplexed Weiss's readers for some time.(3) It continues to do so. Here, several methods will be identified, including one based on his early theory of the propositions used in perceptual judgment. This will shed light on the continuity and consistency of his many systematic expressions. Although not an in-depth study of Being and Other Realities, this article is an attempt to place that work in the context of Weiss's entire opus, hopefully making both more accessible.
The central insight in Paul Weiss's philosophical writing is that Being constitutes a multiplicity of individuals, held together by universal constraints, which contour all there is in at least four irreducibly different ways. The goal of the theoretical articulation of this insight is to reveal the fault lines of the fundamental dimensions of Being. If successful, it would ground a complex pluralism, preventing the accommodation of multiple perspectives from degenerating into perspectivalism or unrestrained relativity. Consequently, puzzles pressed upon us in our current intellectual scene, like those encapsulated in references to "alternative conceptual schemes," "multiculturalism," and "pluralisms" of all sorts, are situated within a metaphysical scheme with sufficient complexity to resolve them. Might a metaphysical theory resolve all such puzzles that reach into every contemporary intellectual endeavor, including semantics, ethics, politics, and ontology? Certainly, this is the sort of grand task which Paul Weiss has set for himself. He is not alone.(4)
Weiss has, however, expressed this fundamental pluralism in quite a number of ways. In Being and Other Realities, the doctrine is more complex than any previously offered. The book begins with a recapitulative introduction which takes us through this latest doctrine in summary form. Weiss begins his inquiry, as he does elsewhere, with reflections on early experience and common sense. He moves on to an account of the fundamental realities and their relation to a necessary Being, ending with a discussion of the importance of metaphysics for ethics.
In Being and Other Realities, Weiss claims to discover the existence of four fundamental domains: the domain of persons, the humanized world, nature, and the cosmos.(5) "Domain" is not explicitly defined but three of its central meanings are clearly intended: a territory under one dominion; a field or sphere of activity or influence (for example, the domain of science); and the set of values for a variable which can be used as an argument for a given function. Domains are dominated by an "ultimate" which not only provides the domain with its defining character but also dominates the "actualities" therein, making them the kind proper to that field. Each actuality, no matter what its domain, is constituted by all the ultimates together, though it is made a member of its domain by the dominant position of the appropriate ultimate in its constitution.(6) Thus, "the Affiliator" determines an expanse occupied by "humanized" actualities.(7) These are entities which enter into the world of interacting humanity affiliated through language, tradition, custom, and habit. Inductions are grounded in primary affiliations; as a kind of reasonableness they help us make our way in the humanized world. However, even though we are present in this domain we cannot be thought of as only there, as only social realities. We have our private thoughts, our idiosyncratic tendencies, our creative powers which are not dominated by the humanizing activity of the Affiliator. Thus, from a position in the humanized world, from our ordinary experience of others as well as ourselves in the world of others, we can move into another domain, that of persons. "The Assessor" dominates the domain of persons, making them characteristically both value oriented and part of a value laden field. It is a retreat back into this world that makes ethical criticisms of prevailing moral standards possible.(8) Two other domains are delineated by Weiss: the domain of nature whose ultimate is called "Voluminosity," and the domain of the cosmos dominated by "the Coordinator." Voluminosity bulks out the natural world with objects in characteristic extensions or spans, like acorn to oak. Time is said to have a dominant role here. Weiss makes a case that perceiver and perceived are contemporaries in the humanized world, though their sources in nature or the cosmos may not be.(9) The cosmos is dominated by the Coordinator where unit bodies are related to one another in a structural order.(10)
Furthermore, there are realities which bridge domains, ourselves for instance. We are both persons with private thoughts and organic bodies; are we two actualities? According to Weiss, we exist as actualities in these two domains (as well as in the humanized world) but we are more fundamentally "individuals." Individuals, like "complexes" and "singulars," are subdivisions of another encompassing region named the "Habitat." The Habitat is where two ultimates, the "Rational" and the "Dunamis," dominate over the others. The Habitat is correlative to the Rational and Dunamis which function together as the "Dunamic-Rational." The Habitat is not a domain; rather, like its dominating ultimates, it cuts across all domains. The Habitat is inhabited by the individuals, complexes, and singulars which subdivide it, while the Dunamic-Rational is the vitalized intelligibility that is present in all transition or mediation.
The reality of justified inference is Weiss's prime evidence for his claim that these paired ultimate realities, the Dunamic-Rational, exist. The possibility of moving from a premise to a conclusion in a rationally necessitated way needs to be explained. The formal connection between antecedent and consequent is fundamentally different than the dynamic movement from a premise to a conclusion; this indicates that though these are paired in justified inference they cannot have the same source. Weiss's claims about the Habitat and the Dunamic-Rational address two major philosophical problems: how I, for instance, can be both an organic body and a private person and still the same individual; and how it is possible to accomplish mediations and transitions of all sorts that move from one domain of reality to another, such as from the mind to the body or from the public world to the private.
In Weiss's account of mediation in the chapter entitled, "Mediators," he develops a theory of how not only the Dunamic-Rational but the other ultimates as well provide pathways along which we can "move" from one item to another. Each such move involves the presentation of some kind of reality (an idea, desire, action) to a source of possible mediation (justified inference, sympathy, creativity) which carries it toward or to its goal (conclusion, person, physical object) which then accommodates or rejects it. This three step process of transformation, wherein the independent reality of both the mediated and the mediator make a difference, is inherent in all mediation.(11)
The final stage of the speculative journey arrives at what is a new place for Weiss; an account of Being itself, the necessary Being which is the source of all else. This Being necessarily is and necessarily expresses itself. However, since for Weiss Being has always been a necessary plurality, in order for Being even to be possible its possibility must be sustained by that which opposes it. Being necessarily expresses itself in the contingent ultimates, which, because they are contingent, stand over against Being and sustain its possibility. They are not only the possibility of Being, they are an independently sustained possibility for Being. A critical discussion of Hegel's dialectic of master and slave introduces Weiss's claim that the ultimates act as Being's agents, making Being be, though in ways that are beyond its direct control. The role of a primordial ground formerly played by the Dunamis is now associated with Being.(12)
With this Weiss has completed his metaphysical quest and the remainder of the book passes into reflection on the meaning of the philosophic life and the interpenetration of metaphysics and ethics. This final chapter is compelling, urging an obligation to attempt to think the whole of things.
The first question for anyone familiar with Weiss's work is how he came to his present position. The development of Weiss's philosophy(13) raises legitimate questions about his method; the system(s) arise in part from the method(s), and on my interpretation develop according to a central method.
Weiss's first book on systematic metaphysics (if one does not include his published dissertation),(14) was a defense of the obdurate substantiality of individuals, entitled Reality.(15) That title was meant to contrast with Whitehead's Process and Reality and Bradley's Appearance and Reality.(16) The persistence of individuals amidst the processive flow of change as well as their inwardness and reality as opposed to some absolute is established. When Weiss turned to the problems of ethics, he found that in order for there to be a common ideal for human beings to aim at, there had to be a nonactual reality, the Good.(17) He also became aware of the problem of a common time in which actualities could together move into the future. For the common good to be universally obligating, it must be more than simply the aggregated aims of the individuals that exist. Similarly, for actualities to move into the same future from within a common present, the time in which they find themselves cannot simply be the aggregate of their movements.(18)
Having discovered the necessity of acknowledging nonactual reality, Weiss embarked upon his unique philosophic quest: the delineation of the plurality of fundamental manners of being, or the universal constraints on actualities. In Modes of Being, the four modes-Actuality (now, importantly, conceived as a mode with instantiations), Ideality, Existence, and God-are elaborated and interwoven. The approach to the modes, in spite of Weiss's systematic intentions, is somewhat biased towards actualities since the investigation begins with them, their varieties, and the evidence present in them of transcending powers. They are caught up in rational networks, an on-going time-space-causal continuum, and the ultimate unity of the universe.(19)
The nature of the actualities and their relations to the transcendent modes occupied Weiss for the next twenty years.(20) This stage of the developing ontology has the strange consequence that the individual actualities receive their natures (rational structure), spatial, temporal, and causal characters, and even their own unity from transcendent sources. Analysis of the being and substantiality of actualities drove Weiss even further; he came to understand these as impositions of the finalities, Substance and Being. The whole system is recast as a pluralism whose members fall into two sorts: actualities and finalities. The actualities in First Considerations are like unextended points, almost insubstantial and unreal, mere positions where linear finalities intersect.(21)
This seems to constitute the collapse of Weiss's earlier project in Reality to save the substantial reality of individuals.(22) The problem is obvious in the procedure at the end of the chapter "Actualities" in First Considerations. There the actuality is described as having three degrees of relation to the finalities: as dominated by the finality, in a state of comparative equilibrium, and the finality as dominated by the actuality. These are named the actuality "by itself," "itself," and "in itself." For each degree of involvement with the various finalities, Weiss provides a term meant to describe its state, like "extended occupant," "expansive," and "distended," in terms of its involvement with Existence.(23) This attempt is strained because it is motivated systematically (there must be three ascertainable positions) but presented phenomenologically or descriptively (the experience of these fifteen interactions can be described or at least evoked by certain commonly used words). The assignment of particular words to particular states of interaction is unconvincing if one does not understand these words as Weiss does, or has not experienced actualities in this manner.(24)
The actualities at this stage are like points where the finalities intersect but then their inwardness is defended by describing them as pulling away from that intersection.(25) To use an image, it is as if the actualities are merely unextended points, constituted entirely by the intersection of the lines. However, they then achieve (somehow) an independence which allows them to pull away from their constituting finalities. They do this by imploding, like a collapsing star, into a black hole. As one tries to penetrate into their inwardness they retreat continuously into darker and darker, less intelligible, less extensive, less substantial, less real (?!),(26) less unified regions. They are like a verkehrte Welt, an inverted world, though Weiss denies Hegel's attribution of the opposite character to the interior as against the exterior; it is not a mere reversal but an interiorization of a sort peculiar to actualities.(27)
This presents the image of a plane surface of intersecting lines whose points of intersection are the endpoints of rays perpendicular to the plane. As such, the actualities as in themselves are isolated, brought into contact with one another only through the action of the finalities. It is perhaps predictable that since this account of actualities tends to isolate them as disparate points, the next dialectical move in Weiss's development will seek to pull them together again. How can the actualities be primordially together yet retain their individual identity? This would require a subterranean togetherness prior to the externalizing effect of the finalities.
Thus emerges the Dunamis, a primal, undifferentiated continuum. The Dunamis is the primordial source of actualities which are fragmentations of it. This allows new individuals to come to be who are more than aggregates; wholes possessing their own inwardness.(28) It accounts for the possibility of the togetherness of the deep interiors of diverse actualities in love, sympathy, and association.(29) It also allows creative persons to bring together the fundamental factors of reality to realize indeterminate ideals of excellence, beauty, justice, truth, and glory.(30) The Dunamis overcomes the isolation of the imploding actualities by providing a new deeper ontological ground of their togetherness. Conceived in terms of their relationship to the Dunamis, actualities are the peaks of waves on a vast ocean; as part of the ocean they are sunk in an undifferentiated continuum, as its peaks they achieve a passing state of elevation above it. As such peaks they interact with the finalities above, merging themselves with that structured world of actualities and finalities.
The problem, though, is that apparently the whole system has changed and its original goals abandoned. From a defense of substantial actualities against process philosophy and absolute idealism, we progressed to a modal metaphysics where actualities were the instantiations of the mode Actuality and the other modes were responsible for the togetherness of the actualities. However, the dissolution of Actuality into Substance and Being led to the isolation of the actualities which then had to be brought back together again by the Dunamis. Now, the togetherness of the actualities, and even that of the actualities and finalities, is mediated by the Dunamis. Is this not a return to what process philosophy had originally asserted? Is progress being made? This stage raises the question of whether or not, in Weiss's case, an "Aristotelianism has been surrendered to a dynamic neo-Platonism."(31)
However, the doctrine of Being and Other Realities is again different, as we have seen. The problem of the nature of the actualities and their relations to the ultimates changes because they are no longer the only kinds of particular. Besides the actualities in the domains, there are now individuals, complexes, and singulars subdividing the Habitat. The difference between these particulars is said to be that the inhabitants of the Habitat are said to "possess and own" their expressions in the domains, while these, the actualities, are owned.(32) Aristotle's distinction between form and matter seems to be embodied in the correlativity of the vitalized intelligibility of the Dunamic-Rational and the subdividable Habitat since these individuals are subdivisions of an omnipresent reality. What, though, is the fundamental kind of particular?
Puzzles regarding the relationship between the Habitat and the domains concern not only the different kinds of particular but also about the derivation of the domains themselves. Weiss makes no attempt in Being and Other Realities to inform those familiar with his earlier work what its connection is to this scheme.(33) This is distressing because he argues vehemently against his critics in First Considerations that he has a solid account of metaphysical evidence and that the finalities he has discovered can be discovered by any impartial inquirer.(34) Now, however, it is not these universal constraints that are evidenced. What has replaced them looks much more like the ontological or metaphysical presuppositions of the fundamental disciplines of physics, biology, anthropology, and ethics. This new approach follows the exploration of creativity in Creative Ventures. In that work, Weiss finds a number of fundamental enterprises which are creative, namely, art, the formation of character, leadership in both society and state, and mathematics. These enterprises do not define domains, however.
This doctrine appears similar to that of Stephen C. Pepper.(35) Pepper's attempt to deal with a diversity of perspectives takes the existence of world hypotheses as an empirical fact and tracks down their "root metaphors." One wonders if the actual diversity of disciplines and schools of thought which exist motivate Weiss to assert the existence of domains instead of the universal constraints previously conceived as modes or finalities. Weiss nowhere says that this is what he is doing and given his general approach it is unlikely that he would want to. If Weiss, like Pepper, began from the empirical fact of various disciplines and hypotheses and then ended with a moderated skepticism, it might be different.(36) Weiss, however, claims to begin with the more abiding aspects of ordinary experience, not with the data of science or the contemporary intellectual scene. Furthermore, although he illustrates his claims by reference to various schools and practices, he claims that what he finds is out there, accommodating or resisting his speculative grasp of it. This makes the burden on Weiss's philosophical evidence enormous. The philosophical evidence available for the existence of these domains is problematic because it should be of the sort detailed in Modes of Being and the paired Beyond All Appearances and First Considerations. However, that evidence does not seem to point clearly in the same direction. Is Voluminosity, the governing ultimate of the domain of Nature, the same as Existence? Is the Rational the same as Possibility? Is the Coordinator related to an earlier finality or mode? Is Being the same as the early Dunamis, or God (Unity)? These could just be questions of adjustment, refinement, and development.(37) However, if that cannot be shown, then the suspicion that contemporary debates are driving the delineation of domains gains strength.
Another question brought to the fore by the articulation of domains concerns cosmic evolution. Weiss admits that the cosmos existed before nature, and nature before there were humans. This is undisputed today. However, does it not indicate the need to address the relation among the domains? Can there be a nature without a cosmos; a humanized world or domain of persons without nature? The earlier domains seem to be necessary, even if not sufficient conditions for the later. Weiss does not seem to make much of it. He resists the notion of cosmic evolution.(38) Yet, if his system were still cast in terms of modes or finalities, this question would not arise. The eternal modes or finalities would affect all actualities regardless of whether they were evolving or not; that would be a matter of contingency.
The derivation of the domains raises not only these questions about the development of the doctrine but also some about the method. The theory of domains is reminiscent of those which reduce the multiplicity of philosophical systems through an analysis of their central ideas and their possible combinations. Yet while Weiss speaks positively of Pepper,(39) he disparages Richard McKeon.(40) About his own procedure Weiss writes:
For my own purposes, I have again and again made private use of a
"combinatory method," mainly to see whether or not I had neglected
some possible alternative. It has not, I think, governed any of my inquiries
or discussions, serving primarily as a check, not as a guide or precondition.
My focus has been on realities and how they are known.(41)
A procedure which takes abstract ideas and considers all their possible combinations is, from Weiss's perspective, reductionist; all the possibilities are determined a priori and the interpretation of both reality and all other systems is based on merely mechanical manipulation. Perhaps such a procedure has a greater role in Weiss's speculations than he realizes. He justifies it in his discussions of the proofs for the existence of God in Modes of Being, where the possible interactions of the modes are the possibilities of testimony to the existence of any one mode.(42) In Being and Other Realities, Weiss writes:
The six ultimates are instantiated in every connection and in everything
that is connected. A primary set of mediators can, consequently, be
marked out by attending to the different ways that the six ultimates
could begin and end at one another. There would then be 6X6X6--or, if
we distinguish space, time and causality, 8X8X8--cases, exhibiting the
primary ways by which it is possible to pass from any one of six types of
beginning to any one of six types of ending.(43)
Weiss has practiced a combinatorial method consistently and to great effect. This method need not lead to a wooden grasp of reality but can be a method through which one focuses on the whole of things as complex and interrelated.
In fact, the easiest way to explain Paul Weiss's metaphysical system to those unfamiliar with it is to use an image: that of the Rubik's Cube. This is a cube divided into sections which rotate perpendicularly, with four sides of solid primary colors and one side black and one white. The object of this puzzle is to return the mixed colors to their original solid state. This is illustrative of what Weiss has tried to do in several ways: he moves from the mixed of ordinary experience to the speculative grasp of the unmixed ultimates; the primary colors represent the four domains, the white and black the Dunamic-Rational; the possibility of alternative perspectives and basic understandings of experience is the result of perceiving the cube from one side and one side could have many possible appearances; philosophical pluralism explores the alternative visions to reach a better grasp of the Whole; there is, however, no single grasp of the Whole, and so on. This image, though undoubtedly flawed, is of far more use in exploring Weiss's method and metaphysics than his dismissal of a combinatorial method would indicate.
Why does Weiss minimize the role of this type of method? For the same reason that he is so critical of the use of hypotheses. Both the creative use of hypotheses and the manipulation of concepts remain a priori exercises. If we engaged in no more than these, according to Weiss, we would not be evidencing the ultimates. However, as we shall see later, according to my interpretation of Weiss's method this is not entirely true. Though one might make a distinction between conceptual analysis and evidencing the ultimates, they are more closely connected than Weiss realizes.
Another method Weiss employs is to make what he characterizes as a "fresh start." This explains the differences in his systematic expressions, it displays a confidence in the powers of speculative thought rarely seen in professional philosophers, and it is at the root of the difficulty his critics have in grasping the method itself. There are numerous places where Weiss alludes to this but his statement of it in his "Intellectual Autobiography" is very clear.
I have tried to produce comprehensive accounts a number of times: in
Reality, Modes of Being, First Considerations, and am trying to do this
again in "Being and Other Realities." They are not so many detached systems,
nor parts of one grand project. They are works freshly undertaken,
forming a series of interrelated emphases in a single endeavor.(44)
I tried to begin afresh again and again, to subject both the parts and the
whole to new doubts and new probings. Unfortunately, over the decades,
changes in nomenclature seemed to have hidden from others
what was constantly maintained.(45)
Basic philosophical inquiry, as opposed to participation in more limited controversy, requires putting aside one's own doctrines and starting from common sense where we all are. Weiss considers it dogmatic to begin an enquiry directly from the perspective of prior philosophical committments. To do so would be to "yank what was newly discovered into a frame that had been previously provided."(46) It would be an example of attempting to make the facts conform to the theory. But what can Weiss mean here? Does not any rational inquiry require a prior commitment to a method which is trusted or has proven itself in previous inquiries? Weiss evidently believes that to begin with the assumption of the adequacy of a chosen method necessitates that whatever cannot be accommodated by it will be overlooked or misinterpreted. For example, beginning from a commitment to the formal techniques of logical analysis, I might find many questions unresolvable and therefore declare them pseudo-questions, or poorly formed. What might have been fruitfully analyzed by means of a broader or different method is simply discarded. There is ample evidence, in this century alone, of the real potential for this kind of philosophical error.
However, if we do not begin our inquiry committed to some method, what are we to do? How can we begin if we do not have a first step? Weiss has consistently held that we begin "where we are," that is, in the midst of common sense experience. This is a world of changing and persistent persons, animals, and things, related and unrelated, and so forth.(47) From there we move, developing our method as we go: "The method is forged as it proceeds."(48) Weiss is expressing here a confidence not in method per se but in our ability to come to know the truth through reflection and speculation. Method is a means to avoid error, and a particular method usually embodies a conception of where the major sources of error lie. For example, Descartes has recourse to clear and distinct ideas to eliminate the error engendered by the confused ones; Hume avoids the error of dogmatic rationalism through the requirement that appropriate impressions for any metaphysical term be supplied.
One of Weiss's methods is to be anti-method: the use of a method assumes we know where truth and error lie. Method is inherently reductionistic and Weiss's philosophy is an experiment in anti-reductionism. Richard Rorty claims that all rational inquiry is reductionist, though he attempts "to specify a point of diminishing returns in the reductive process, and thus to locate the limits of reductionism."(49) Weiss, instead, makes use of a "well entrenched anti-reductionist method."(50) Instead of relying on a predetermined method, we should press forward in a somewhat naive fashion, accepting as real and true to some extent whatever it is that we encounter. This defends the "reality," that is the non-illusory, causal, significant character of individuals, time, space, obligation, society, and so forth, against the various kinds of reductions of them common to specialized disciplines and philosophical systems. Anti-reductionism asks whether the ontology explicitly or implicitly connected to a philosophy (or a specialized discipline presented as a philosophy) is sufficient to explain what we otherwise accept in common sense. Thus, eliminative materialism cannot account for its own articulation; there is no one to articulate it.(51) Not only obvious reductionisms are dealt with in this manner. For instance, Weiss looks at process philosophy and asks, Are active, enduring human beings as we know them in ordinary experience, and as they are understood in law, morality, and so on, really societies of occasions? This is not a question of direct observation but one of reflective experience. Can occasions act? Has what was understood in a quite definite and limited sense, like "occasion," been allowed to unaccountably expand to cover instances with which it has nothing in common?
Predictably, an anti-reductionist program would develop by the precipitation of new irreducibles and an expanding ontology. If hopeless, it would expand endlessly into uselessness as an intellectual scheme. Or it might go around in circles, never really able to settle on a determinate ontology. Weiss's anti-reductionism has done neither, though the ontology is fuller than is generally preferred and it may seem unsettled and inconsistent. Is anti-reductionism an uncritical acceptance of everything? What is the principle of restraint which keeps us from accepting too much? Or, to rephrase Rorty's question, Where is the point of diminishing returns for speculation; what are the limits of anti-reductionism?
This is not a problem which bothers Weiss, who writes:
Occam's law is otiose. No responsible thinker multiplies realities beyond
necessity. Rather, almost everyone ignores some and, too often
precludes the understanding of those that are irreducible, persistent,
and presupposed in an intelligible, systematic account of what is and
could be real.(52)
This remarkable statement encapsulates the strength and weakness of Weiss's anti-reductionist method: he is consistently able to show the omissions of other philosophies, yet there seem to be "more things in Weiss's philosophy than there are in Heaven and on earth."(53) If anyone is "guilty" of multiplying entities it is Weiss, so it is his obligation to show that he has not, thereby moving philosophy in a new direction.
While a "fresh start" may embody Weissian doctrines about method and reductionism, it would seem, nevertheless, to be an entirely appropriate procedure to begin where his last philosophical system left off and tell us what he thinks he has missed. Given, say, the system articulated in Modes of Being or First Considerations, what is there which is not adequately explained? Why does what was conceived as a mode, and then as a finality, become an ultimate? How are these prior articulations inadequate in a way which is improved by the latter? In Weiss's latest work, he writes: "I have not looked at most of my previous works in many years. That fact and a poor memory have made it possible for me to write this book with a becoming innocence."(54) On the contrary, by not referring to his earlier work, Weiss denies himself and his readers the benefit of his own criticisms and an account of how the earlier and later versions reflect upon one another. Weiss believes the accounts are consistent, only he has not made it clear exactly how or where. If he were writing philosophical dialogues or epigrams this would not be a problem. Instead, Weiss has been one of the foremost spokesman for systematic philosophy. The challenge has been left to others to see if a consistent system can be derived from Weiss's work. If it is simply a case of changes in nomenclature hiding what has been constantly maintained, then Weiss, or someone else, ought to be able to state the constant doctrine clearly and explain away the appearance of inconsistency and the choice of ever new nomenclature. Weiss's methods and systems need to be more clearly articulated; each would illuminate the other
Some critics take Weiss's "adumbration" to be his sole method for uncovering philosophical truth.(55) Adumbration is an experience of the real which exceeds our articulations of it. In our articulate knowledge of what is real in perception we are always aware that there is something more; analysis and speculation manifest the real because we are always aware of something of which we are ignorant; knowing is a "knowing of."(56) According to some, this must be a form of "rational intuition," the only other reasonable candidate being abduction.(57) There is some reason for this interpretation, given the dual nature of adumbration. The real is known through adumbration in both perception and speculation.(58) The perceptual and speculative aspects of adumbration comprise the following: the sense that we have from within perceptual experience, though not easy to isolate, that the perceptible is continuous with a more intensive, substantial reality which is the source of the perceptible; of the way in which it is impossible for us to consider anything in completely formal terms absolutely devoid of any material reference or content.(59) These aspects of experience are at the core of Weiss's philosophy and constitute his strongest evidence for the possibility of pursuing metaphysical speculation. Neither is unmistakable, nor certainly are the more specific instances of them which Weiss uses to justify his claims about the existence of various ultimates, metaphysical entities, and Being itself.
Weiss's account of experience is bolstered by the host of commentators who praise his skill at phenomenological analysis. It comes mostly from philosophers who are not themselves members of the phenomenological school of Husserl, though, and Weiss resists it.(60) Husserl brackets the phenomena, thereby transforming the question of the thing-in-itself. According to Weiss, appearances bracketed off from their sources are inert.(61) Weiss's descriptions of experience stand in opposition to those who concentrate on perceptual data as well as those who seek to intuit eidetic structure. In Weiss's descriptions the intelligible and perceptible are deeply intertwined with an adumbrative element which we can follow through the appearances.
According to this doctrine it is not possible to remain in the realm of pure perception. We are forced back into the awareness of reality as not yet or completely appearing. Do we not experience, though not necessarily as this or that particular perception, the insistent presence of realities outside us? What is this experience? Can I bring it into focus, isolate it, and describe it clearly and accurately? Thought here undergoes a transition; from a focusing to an interpretation. This is where the perceptual aspect of adumbration gives way to its speculative aspect. The attempt to conceptualize and communicate the reality over against me reverses the direction of the original act of attention. Instead of concentrating on this vague resistance to my effort to consider the appearances in abstraction from their sources and contexts, I now start searching for words, metaphors, images, and theoretical terms to describe what I am experiencing. My attention now shifts to intellectual content. I consider the ideas, metaphors, perhaps philosophical theories. What is it that stands over against me? By means of ideas the nonperceptual, metaphysical character of an independent reality is adumbrated.
If this is what is meant by rational intuition, then it is an aspect of and a method for philosophy. The common way to refer to this, however, is "hypothesis" or "interpretation." What is the difference between these and adumbration? Hypotheses and interpretations are straightforwardly fallible. Adumbration seems to indicate some previously unnoticed quasi-perceptual faculty which penetrates to the natures of things infallibly. There is no such faculty. Analogies to any of the five senses will limp, and we do not understand how we "intuit" our own ideas. Nor is adumbration meant to be infallible; as a knowledge of our ignorance it is the grounds of a "contrite fallibilism."(62)
However, if this is all there is to adumbration and it is fallible, why is Weiss so dismissive of pragmatism and the use of hypotheses?(63) While he credits Peirce and Dewey with having made us more aware of the humanized world, he interprets pragmatism as being incapable of speaking of anything beyond that world.(64) Weiss has only recently come to accept the pragmatic elements in his own philosophy under the pressure of numerous sympathetic critics.(65) Yet, though he admits "there is some warrant for supposing that what I have been expounding is a `post-pragmatic metaphysics'," he insists that "`pragmatism', `speculative pragmatism' and `post-pragmatism' need supplementation by what is independently known about individual persons, nature, the cosmos, and what they all presuppose."(66) This cannot be known by any philosophy which makes epistemology central, which Weiss thinks pragmatism and others do.
Epistemology keeps many philosophers occupied over a lifetime, vainly
trying to solve a problem they antecedently define to be beyond solution.
If one begins with something in one's mind and has no way of moving
to anything outside that mind, one will obviously remain occupied
with what is in the mind. If, instead, one begins with something real, external
to oneself, but can find nothing that connects this with what is in
one's mind, it will obviously not be possible to end with what is understood.
If a beginning is made with categories, theories, desires, or
prescriptions, or with something external to them, one will not be able to
get from the one to the other unless there is something that is able to
transform what it initially accomodates into what is finally
accommodated by something else.(67)
In articulating the dialectical tension at the heart of the epistemological enterprise, he indicates his own particular solution: there must be "something" mediating the privately entertained idea or hypothesis and the publicly available humanized world. What is this something? The source of mediation, particularly from one domain to another, is the Dunamic-Rational. Weiss's criticism of the epistemological enterprise is that it forgets that its problems are the result of its own unusual preoccupations.(68) Usually we do not attend to appearances but pass beyond them to what they reveal and are able to do, so long before we can offer an epistemological theory. This must be the result of the nature of the realities involved, long before epistemology becomes an issue.
Weiss criticizes pragmatism for being trapped behind its hypotheses and even says that no advance is made when references are made instead to "habit, judgment, language, inference, dialectic, intention or hermeneutics" because these are each confined to some one domain.(69) His answer, which he believes is radically different, is given in a discussion of "purpose," particularly the philosophic purpose:
One who seeks to know what actualities presuppose . . . carries out a
purpose in which what is sought is already possessed in a faint and
anticipatory form. . . . One is governed by what one seeks to realize. The
realization of a purpose to know is one with the accommodation of the
knowledge by something apart from that knowledge. It is therefore
more accurate to say, not that we seek to know something, but that we
seek to have our idea of something accommodated by it.(70)
We already know something and want to know it better; we are always already together with or partially constituted by what we seek to know. How does this shed light on the difficulties of epistemology? By noting that we begin our reflections in medias res. As such, we are already deeply and directly related to what is around us. What we might call the "epistemological concept of knowledge" distorts this, creating an unsolvable problem of relating mental entities to nonmental entities; one ends on whichever side one begins. However, if we understand knowledge as a relation emerging from within a sea of such relations, the problem is not how to get Humpty-Dumpty back together again but to clarify and explain the difference of this relation from the others, determining its dependencies and effects.
This, however, does not explain why Weiss dismisses pragmatism, dialectics, hermeneutics, and so on, all of which specifically recognize the same truth.(71) Dewey is quite clear that experience is of as well as in nature, indicating precisely this critical stance towards the epistemological concept of knowledge.(72) Correctly noting that "ontologizing `experience' does little more than blur the question"(73) of what there is outside of experience, Weiss does not make it easier to understand how nature and experience are related when he says: "Nature should not be identified with the humanized world, within which pragmatism works so well: . . . We do not exist in it."(74) This reflects again the problem of the relation of the domains which Weiss needs to tell us more about.
How, then, is the use of adumbration different from the hypotheses used by pragmatists, or the interpretations or dialectic of others? These are understood by Weiss in epistemological not ontological terms. In Weiss's philosophy, the entire epistemological project of modernity is placed within an ontological context and transformed. Where the epistemologist asks what we can know with confidence, the ontologist asks what there is. The epistemologist is convinced that the question of what and how we can know must be answered before we can say what there is. Weiss has consistently argued, however, that epistemology relies on a covert ontology, assuming the existence of minds, bodies, perceptions, and so forth.(75) Adumbration emphasizes, perhaps more successfully than pragmatism, hermeneutics, or dialectic, that knowing is a participation in, a being with, the object to be known rather than a spectator-like vision of a fixed, independent datum. How do we know that we are able to "be with" what we seek to know in a way which guides our speculations? In one sense this is obvious: if we were not together with other realities there would be no knowledge at all. The precedence of ontology over epistemology, though, specifically means displacing the visual metaphors of the spectator theory of knowledge by other perceptual metaphors and analogies, particularly physical and spatial ones. Weiss's consistent use of spatial metaphors of penetration, insistence, resistance, accommodation, possession, and so on, are far removed from the spectator theory.
Why claim that knowledge is better understood through the use of new, more physical, metaphors of interaction? Weiss, like Dewey, embraces an epistemological pluralism which acknowledges that art, religion, practice, and speculation are revelatory of the ways things are. Weiss, though, insists more strongly than others that they are not to be reduced to idle creations, delightful and pleasing but informative only about human and individual reality. Nor should they be interpreted on the model of scientific inquiry. They must be allowed to be what they are, taken seriously, participated in. The artist must surrender himself to his material. Similarly, friendship and love are not something we do on our own. Further, when one prays one does not simply gaze; unless one is gifted with visions there is nothing to see. Instead, one presents one's prayers, putting oneself in the presence of God. Religious experience is the experience of what is other. These are precisely the sort of experiences which Weiss is making central in his ontologized epistemology. Weiss describes this as presenting an idea, intention, desire to a mediator which transmits it to what is over against us. It is subject to rejection, accommodation, indifference. It is transformed on its way there and on its way back. I have knowledge because I have interacted with the world. Weiss is not entirely fair in his characterizations of these other schools; but he has highlighted more clearly a resolute pluralism. Adumbration and mediation are attempts to preserve the otherness of what is other.
There is a way, though, in which Weiss's method seems firmly rooted in the traditional epistemological problematic, namely, in his theory of the propositions used in perceptual judgment. This analysis, which dates from Weiss's first book, Reality,(76) can be traced through out his work including Being and Other Realities.(77) It forms the basis of his central method, explains the different systems he has articulated and crucial doctrines in his current view.
In the perceptual judgment, "This is a book," Weiss isolates three components: the indicated, the contemplated, and the adumbrated. "This" indicates--it is a bare reference; "book" represents the contemplated universal which is to be associated with the object of reference; "is" joins the two and attaches them through adumbration to the real, substantial object outside the proposition. The theory of adumbration and its offshoots (lucidation, evidencing, discernment, intensive movement, and so on) find their roots in this analysis. What has to be noted is the ubiquity of this analysis in terms of the indicated, the contemplated, and the adumbrated. A unique reference point being joined to an intelligible nature by means of a dynamic move will be seen to be not only the central method which Weiss uses but the source of the systems which he arrives at.
The five stages in Weiss's opus which yield what appear to be five separate ontologies are progressions along a path guided by this analysis.(78) The question of whether or not "these five ontologies may be interpreted as phases in the development of a singular system of unfolding thought"(79) can be answered affirmatively. The five different stages are as follows: In the first stage of Weiss's metaphysical development, particularly in Reality, he focuses on the indicated, and this ontology consists of individual, contingent actualities. In the second stage, exemplified by Modes of Being, the intelligible aspects of things, or the contemplated, is emphasized. Various contemplatable aspects of things are taken to be traces or evidences of transcendent realities or "modes." In the third stage, of Beyond All Appearances and, particularly, First Considerations, the actualities are bare "indicateds," stripped even of their "being" and "substance" which are contemplated "finalities" bearing those names. In the fourth stage, the dialectical development of the Dunamis, a primal, undifferentiated continuum meets the need for a preexistent and inescapable togetherness to join the indicated and contemplated beings which the account of the prior stage appeared to have drawn asunder.(80) In the fifth stage, found in Being and Other Realities, the contemplated conditions govern four domains. The Dunamic-Rational is a source of adumbration because it is subordinate in all domains but dominant in the movement between and connection among domains. Together these six ultimates constitute the indicated actualities.
Not only do we see a pattern of isolating an indicated, then a contemplated, then an adumbrated, but the procedure is even more complex and consistent Weiss progressively indicates, contemplates, and adumbrates the indicated, the contemplated, and the adumbrated.(81) This second-level procedure forces the ontology to move on. In this latest stage, indicateds, contemplates, and adumbrates are discovered on a series of levels. At first, the actualities are indicated, the presence of a dominating ultimate contemplated, and the move from one to the other or domain to domain adumbrated as the Dunamic-Rational. Then, the individuals, singulars, and complexes which subdivide the Habitat can be indicated, the ultimates as instantiated contemplated, and the Necessary Being presupposed by all the contingent realities adumbrated.
This analysis is explicitly invoked in Being and Other Realities. It is used to point out the ontological complexity of human beings. We are unique individuals and yet also members of a species. We are private persons and members of society as well.
When I say, "I am a man," I presumably am saying that I am both a
person in a domain with other persons, and that I have a living body and
publicly manifested powers that are similar to those . . . with whom I
am more or less affiliated . . . I surely am not "a man," i.e., a man in
general. I am no more and no less than "this-man," unique, qualifying
and limiting terminations at my person, my organism, and the two
together--my living body, that is.(82)
There are two distinct but related issues being addressed here: the problem of the universal and the particular, and the unity of the human person as private and public. The solution to both problems is sought in bridging the indicated private person and the contemplated species through the adumbratively reached individual.
The same man is localized and specialized in each of us, grounded in an
individual of which nothing more apparently can be said than that it
might be more or less discerned. The two views are separated parts of
a single whole. By itself, "I" refers to an unduplicable person in a
domain of persons; by itself, "man" refers to an actuality in the
humanized world; by itself, "am" refers to an individual. The expression
"I am a man" is to be so read that the "am" is dealt with in three
ways--as bringing the extremes of the two claims together from
opposite positions, and as diversely expressing the same individual.
"Am" here enables the "I" to singularize the "man," the "man" to
accept the "I," and both outcomes to have a common ground. "I am a
man" consequently, is to be read backwards and forwards, via an
intensive move to and from an individual.(83)
The individual which the copula is interpreted here as referring to is a subdivision of the Habitat, the correlative of the Dunamic-Rational, the bridge between domains. The individual, as noted above, brings together the private person and the humanized organism and expresses itself in these two different domains. Since the private person is unique and singular it is the object of an indication; since the humanized world is one in which actualities are affiliated and hence understood as members of groupings, "humanity" is contemplated; the metaphysical unity of these oppositions is adumbrated. The adumbration is achieved by means of the Dunamic-Rational and reaches its correlative in the Habitat.
In the example just given, if Weiss were more explicit about the use of this method, he might be able to separate more successfully his accounts of the private person and the individual. The account seems to waver between a more ordinary ascription of the unity of the human being to the core of privacy and an ascription of the unity to that which bridges the private and public. Which is the real core of the human being? Weiss's constant use of the expression, "individual person" highlights the problem.(84)
The adumbrated, dynamic interrelation of the indicated and contemplated becomes apparent again in references to the relations of instantiation, constitution, confinement, and ownership. Actualities are said to be constituted by the ultimates, to be instantiations of them, to be confined by them; individuals possess and own these. These relations, which seem quite different, are not defined. When Weiss "evidences the ultimates," however, he writes:
Agreeing with the opponents of nominalism that what is instantiated
presupposes what is being instantiated, one must still evidence the ultimates
as having the power to come together and be instantiated as the constituents
of every distinct reality, confining what in turn possesses or owns them.(85)
The account of the interinvolvement of the various kinds of particulars and universals follows the pattern of indication, contemplation, and adumbration. This passage appears to be a version of the indication, contemplation, and adumbration of the indicated, contemplated, and adumbrated. "What is instantiated," that is, the "man" in this man, is the contemplated universal as indicated. "What is being instantiated," that is, "Humanity," is the contemplated as contemplated. The individual as indicated is confined by what is contemplated, that is, it is delimited by its participation in just these universals; as Aquinas says, essence limits existence. The individual as adumbrated owns and possesses what confines it, that is, the substance is what primarily is from this perspective. This is more than a simple epistemological algorithm; it allows Weiss to attempt, through a series of related moves, to integrate the opposed insights of metaphysicians like Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas.
The pattern emerges again in the account of mediators, a central concern of this book and what Weiss believes distinguishes his account from others. He diagnoses a wide range of problems as all being examples of trying to understand how one can arrive at some position having started from somewhere else. What has to be admitted is that there is a relation involved with its termini and realities outside those termini.
Anything affected by time, space, causation, work, making, action, or any one
of an apparently endless number of ways of connecting entities that are
distinct from the termini of the connections, must not only have beings of
their own and distinctive powers, but must begin and end at the entities as
existing apart from them.... Every connection has a nature and reality of
its own; it functions as a relation only if it has termini
and these are more or less accommodated or rejected by what is outside
At the end of this chapter, Weiss again characterizes abstractly all mediators as composed of relations, terms, and realities. These appear to mirror the contemplated, indicated, and adumbrated rather clearly. The contemplated relation is a universal character which assumes the role of a mediator, the indicated terminus is a stopping point without depth, the reality beyond the terminus is adumbrated: we move into it from the terminus but it always remains outside. The terminus is that with which a relation begins or ends; it is distinguished from the reality at which it begins or ends, according to Weiss.(87)
The final place where one conceivably discovers the pattern of indication, contemplation, and adumbration is in Weiss's account of Being. In what is a novel move for him, Weiss roots his complex account in the Necessary Being. The argument and analyses are quite involved and beyond the limits of this paper to evaluate. Briefly stated, Weiss holds that if we are to account for the contingent we must acknowledge not only what necessarily is and acts necessarily but also "how it necessarily produces what might have been otherwise."(88) Weiss has always held that Being is a necessary plurality; the One and the Many need one another, there cannot be simply a One or simply a Many.(89) The way Weiss understands this now is that the Necessary Being necessarily makes the contingent ultimates to be; as contingent they can sustain the possibility of Being. There is not only the bare possibility of Being but that possibility as independently sustained for Being. Being necessarily expresses itself as opposed contingencies which are Being's "agents," doing what Being requires in their own way, that is, contingently. If we take necessity to be a characteristic of the contemplated (as connected to universality) and contingency of the indicated (as connected to individuals), then adumbration is what makes them be of and for one another.
This, however, may stretch the interpretation too far. Or, it may indicate a way to answer our rephrasing of Rorty's question, "What is the point of diminishing returns for anti-reductionism?" If we could discover when the reiteration of the process was gaining no new ground, then we would have not only found out what we can but have justified the process to that point. It may be that when we reach the point of the necessary plurality of Being we cannot proceed any further; otherwise, we would simply be reiterating the steps of indication, contemplation, and adumbration without making any progress. The attribution of an "intensive substantiality" to Being may mark this point.(90) We may not be able to proceed past Being as adumbrated through the necessary plurality of indicated individuals and contemplated universals.(91)
There is no doubt that Weiss uses more than one method, and that they are consistent: a combinatorial method, a fresh start from common sense, anti-reductionism, the speculative and perceptual aspects of adumbration, the translation of epistemological problems into ontological ones, and the move to physical and spatial metaphors. Without forming one precisely defined method they are related in multiple ways. For example, the speculative and perceptual aspects of adumbration mirror the contemplated and indicated in their connection to the adumbrated in the perceptual judgment.
Weiss's consistent central method is one of indication, contemplation, and adumbration. This is not to say that there is nothing more to Weiss's work than a continual return to these elements without any progress. A distinction can be made between the methods employed and the ontological claims reached. Weiss's ontologies appear to be governed in some sense by a continual return to individual actualities of various sorts, transcendent conditions, and a ground of mediation. However, this does not tell us nor determine what the ultimate indicateds, contemplateds, or adumbrateds will be. The reiteration of the method leads to new levels. The necessity that there be some universal constraints, obdurate individuals, and the grounds for their mediation has deep connections to the method; what they will turn out to be is simply what we find.
Weiss has engaged in a persistent search for the basic contours of reality. The search is on-going. Isolating his central method helps demarcate the ontological claims from the epistemological procedure. Taken together with the other methods we have a key to understanding the diversity of his systematic expressions and wider ground for agreement between Weiss and his critics.(92)
Correspondence to: Department of Philosophy, St. John's University, 8000 Utopia Pkwy, Jamaica, NY 11439.
(1) Paul Weiss, Being and Other Realities (hereafter, BOR) (Chicago and La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1995).
(2) The Philosophy of Paul Weiss (hereafter, LLP) ed. Lewis Edwin Hahn, The Library of Living Philosophers, vol. 23 (Chicago: Open Court, 1995).
(3) See the Comments and Replies appended to Paul Weiss, First Considerations: An Examination of Philosophical Evidence (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977).
(4) In the analytic tradition the realist/anti-realist debate can be considered a research program in search of the alternative significances of the truth predicate. See Michael Dummett, The Seas of Language (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 463. For a defense of pluralism regarding the truth predicate see Crispin Wright, Truth and Objectivity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992), 38. One can read Weiss, I suggest, as investigating pluralism about the "reality predicate."
(5) See BOR, 32-4.
(6) See BOR, 34.
(7) See BOR, chap. 1.
(8) Weiss, consequently, is very critical of a nonmetaphysical reconstruction of his ethics on the basis of "reasonableness"; see Antonio S. Cua, "Reasonable Persons and the Good: Reflections on an Aspect of Weiss's Ethical Thought," in LLP, 495-514; Paul Weiss, "Reply to Cua," in LLP, 515-21.
(9) Time and causal dynamism are the subjects of Abner Shimony, "The Transient Now," in LLP, 331-48; Daniel O. Dahlstrom, "The Dunamis of Explanation," in LLP, 93-109.
(10) See BOR, chaps. 3 and 4.
(11) See BOR, chap. 5.
(12) Weiss's discovery of the Dunamis has aligned him with thinkers in the Hegelian, Whiteheadian, and Peircean traditions; they urge upon him notions of a creation ex nihilo and radical creativity: William Desmond, "Creativity and the Dunamis," in LLP, 643-67; Robert C. Neville, "Paul Weiss's Theology," in LLP, 389-414; Carl Hausman, "Paul Weiss's Account of the Dynamic Structure of Creative Acts," in LLP, 591-607. Questions of creativity are still relevant to the Dunamis; those regarding a fundamental ground or creation ex nihilo are pertinent to the account of Being.
(13) The best available account of this development is Andrew J. Reck, "The Five Ontologies of Paul Weiss," in LLP, 139-52. My presentation has benefitted from it.
(14) Paul Weiss, "The Nature of Systems," Monist 39 (April and July 1929): 281-319; 440-72.
(15) Paul Weiss, Reality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938).
(16) See Paul Weiss, "Intellectual Autobiography," in LLP, 14.
(17) See Paul Weiss, Nature and Man (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1947); , Man's Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950).
(18) See Paul Weiss, Modes of Being (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1958), 9-10.
(19) Weiss, Modes of Being, 13-18.
(20) Reck, "Five Ontologies," 146-7.
(21) Weiss, First Considerations, 46-51.
(22) This is the criticism of Reck, "Five Ontologies," 147-8; Weiss, First Considerations, 241-2.
(23) Weiss, First Considerations, (Addenda/Corrigenda) (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1980), p. 3, addenda to p. 51.
(24) The procedure recurs, in reference to the moves from one domain to another, in Being and Other Realities, 234-9: for example, moving from the humanized world to that of persons we encounter what is "traditionalized," then the "conventional," and finally, "deviations." Sixteen such terms are offered which are, unfortunately, overemphasized in the index.
(25) The same metaphor is used again to account for the independence of a reality from a term in a relation in Being and Other Realities, 241.
(26) See Weiss, First Considerations, 47.
(27) See G. W. F. Hegel, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 96-8. This is based on my memory of Weiss's Hegel seminar at The Catholic University of America during the mid-1980s.
(28) See Paul Weiss, Privacy (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1983), 20-1.
(29) See Paul Weiss, Toward a Perfected State (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986), 20-4.
(30) See Paul Weiss, Creative Ventures, Philosophical Explorations Series, ed. George Kimball Plochmann (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 4-8, 82-4.
(31) Reck, "Five Ontologies," 151.
(32) See BOR, 187.
(33) Weiss does give such an acount in Modes of Being, 8-18.
(34) Weiss, First Considerations, 199-205,244-5.
(35) See Stephen C. Pepper, World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1942).
(36) Pepper, World Hypotheses, 1, 341-7. (37) It is unfair, perhaps, to demand that Weiss do this in his systematic works given his Philosophy in Process, vols.1-7 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1966-78); vol.7 (Pt.II)-vol.11, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985-1988).
(38) See Weiss, "Reply to Kuntz," in LLP, 134;, "Reply to Hausman," in LLP, 612.
(39) "Kuntz is one of the few who have recognized Stephen Pepper's contribution to a pluralistic account. Pepper's references to "root metaphors," unfortunately, got in the way of the awareness that he was pointing to a number of different, legitimate, and compatible ways of grasping reality in its primal diversity"; Weiss, "Reply to Kuntz," 134.
(40) "McKeon . . . apparently did have a set of categories into which whole systems of philosophy were shoved, usually with a head or leg still left outside, and a multitude of other systems just ignored or reinterpreted so they could fit inside the a priori frame"; Weiss, "Reply to Plochmann," in LLP, 586. See Richard McKeon, "Philosophy and Method," Journal of Philosophy 48, (1951): 653-82.
(41) Weiss, "Reply to Plochmann," 588.
(42) Weiss, Modes of Being, 275-86.
(43) BOR, 199-200.
(44) Weiss, "Intellectual Autobiography," 33.
(45) Weiss, "Intellectual Autobiography," 35.
(47) John Lachs interprets Weiss as giving a Pythagorean table of opposites in his description of common sense experience; see his "Cosmos and Chaos," in LLP, 117-18.
(48) Weiss, "Reply to Weissman," in LLP, 327.
(49) Richard Rorty, "The Limits of Reductionism," in Experience, Nature and the Good: Essays in Honor of Paul Weiss, ed. Irwin C. Leib (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1961), 100.
(50) Weiss, Privacy, 7.
(51) See Eric Walther, "The Self Revisited," in LLP, 295-306; Weiss, "Reply to Walther," in LLP, 307-11.
(52) Weiss, "Intellectual Autobiography," 26.
(53) Robert E. Wood, "Weiss on Adumbration," in Creativity and Common Sense: Essays in Honor of Paul Weiss, ed. Thomas Krettek (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987), 43.
(54) BOR, preface.
(55) See David Weissman, "Method," in LLP, 313-323.
(56) The doctrine is introduced in Reality, 57-63; references too numerous to mention are scattered throughout Weiss's work. For critical discussions in the LLP volume, see Weissman, "Method," 313-23; Kevin Kennedy, "Adumbration and Metaphysics after Pragmatism," 253-268; Sandra B. Rosenthal, "Paul Weiss and Pragmatism: A Dialogue," 229-243; see also Wood, "Weiss on Adumbration," in Creativity and Common Sense.
(57) "I suggest that Weiss's adumbration is the near cousin of the rational intuition claimed by Plato and Leibniz"; Weissman, "Method," 318.
(58) See Kennedy, "Adumbration," 254-6. Adumbration was explored there, not as a method, but as a response to reductionism. The present paper deals with it as one of several methods.
(59) The latter notion can be traced to Weiss's rejection of a purely extensional logic in his early publication, "The Theory of Types," Monist 37 (1928): 338-48. For a complete analysis of this article and the relation between extensional and intensional interpretation, see Robert L. Castigilione, "Weiss's Early Substitutional Logic," in LLP, 427-52.
(60) See esp. Weiss, "Reply to Schulkin," in LLP, 289-90.
(61) See Paul Weiss, Beyond All Appearances (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977), 65.
(62) Weiss, Modes, 520-1.
(63) See Weiss, "Reply to Rosenthal," in LLP, 244-6.
(64) See BOR, 41-2.
(65) See the following and Weiss's replies: Nathan Rotenstreich, "Experience and Possibilities," in LLP, 211-23; Sandra B. Rosenthal, "Paul Weiss and Pragmatism"; Kennedy, "Adumbration."
(66) Weiss, "Reply to Kennedy," in LLP, 273.
(67) BOR, 117-18.
(68) BOR, 118-19.
(69) BOR, 126-7.
(70) BOR, 130. (71) See BOR, 126-7.
(72) See John Dewey, Experience and Nature (New York: Dover, 1958), 4a; quoted by Rosenthal, "Weiss and Pragmatism," 234.
(73) Weiss, "Reply to Rotenstreich," 225.
(74) Weiss, "Reply to Rosenthal," 247.
(75) See Weiss, Reality, 10.
(76) See Weiss, Reality, 33-71
(77) See Kevin Kennedy, "Paul Weiss's Theory of the Proposition and its Relevance to the Development of his Systematic Metaphysics: A Reply to Krettek," Ultimate Reality and Meaning 18 (1995): 323-9.
(78) Reck's analysis also divides the systems into five stages, though his are somewhat different Reck's knowledge of the entire opus indicates his account may be more accurate, but his lacks an account of the unity of the systems. See Reck, "Five Ontologies," 150.
(79) Reck, "Five Ontologies," 151.
(80) This stage is described in Thomas Krettek, "Actualities, Finalities and Dunamis: Ultimate Reality and Meaning in the Thought of Paul Weiss," Ultimate Reality and Meaning 16 (1993): 97-109.
(81) This was suggested by Robert Spitzer in his commentary on my paper, "The Three Elements of Weiss's Metaphysical Systems," at the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Bentley College, March, 1996.
(82) BOR, 84.
(83) BOR, 85.
(84) See BOR, 103-13. Weiss attempts to deal with this problem in the section entitled "Subdivisions of the Person" but the tension remains evident, particularly where an emphasis on the individual leads him to say that neither the person nor the organism are "distinct realities" after we have been told that they are actualities existing in distinct domains; see BOR, 108.
(86) BOR, 197.
(87) BOR, 196.
(88) BOR, 257.
(89) Neville gives an excellent account of this in "Paul Weiss's Theology," 392-7.
(90) See BOR, 37
(91) See Kevin Kennedy, "Pluralism and the Thought of Paul Weiss," in Metaphysics as a Cultural Presence, ed. Joseph Grange (forthcoming). On the contrary, Neville suggests that Weiss go further and accept a notion of creation ex nihilo; see "Paul Weiss's Theology," 397-414; similarly, William Desmond gives a compelling account of the "over-determination" of Being in "Being, Determination, and Dialectic: On the Sources of Metaphysical Thinking," The Review of Metaphysics 48 (June 1995): 731-69.
(92) I wish to thank my colleague Paul Gaffney for his generosity, in this case for his critical comments on an earlier version of this paper.
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|Publication:||The Review of Metaphysics|
|Date:||Sep 1, 1996|
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