Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Spike or Victoria College Review 1947

Philosophic Society

page 45

Philosophic Society

Of all societies a 'Philosophic' may claim as its own the question—' Why?' And, this being the inaugural year, the quest for foundations is particularly relevant. The Club's activities—the study groups on Whitehead, the Pragmatists and Wittgenstein and next year the Greeks and Hume and his period, together with papers delivered and books discussed, give in themselvs no answer to the question as to whether or not the Club has any guiding philosophy. It could hardly be expected of a newly founded group that they should have as yet any definite set of basic principles, though it may be thought that in time they would develop these.

Paradoxically enough, however, it is already possible to schematize the general philosophic nature of the Club, and say at the same time that this very nature is likely to prevent it from moving towards any greater degree of philosophic definiteness than is already apparent.

For this is essentially an enterprise in learning.

The unspoken premise is the belief in a many-sided human nature, some aspects of which may realise themselves in all, or selections from our activities. But we think of the Society as only one agent in the development of this multi-faceted being. There are aesthetic, social and other cores of experience best discovered and nourished in other settings. Ours is a limited function. Development then should follow not so much in the Club's philosophy but in the individuals who attend it.

As a club we exist only to nourish the question 'why? 'in its various forms, not, however, to give an answer to that question conceived as a whole. Such a question is hardly appropriate to philosophic maturity. There are, however many specific questions and answers the knowledge and learning of which alongside the knowledge and learning in other aspects of experience may help to increase our understandings.

But perhaps there is more than this. The development of the individual is after all only such in abstraction. The Club must be expected to gain in content correlative with the development of its members. This is true even if its functions remain constant as outlined above. The paradox is resolved by the fact that the Club's function is after all—development. Who can thus forecast its future for— 'given the vigour of adventure, sooner or later the leap of imagination reaches beyond the safe limits of the epoch, and beyond the safe limits of learned rules and taste. It then produces the dislocations and confusions marking the advent of new ideals for civilized effort.'