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By Alfred North Whitehead

Whitehead's reaction to the epistemological demanding situations of Hume and Kant in its so much brilliant and direct shape.

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Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect (New Edition) (Barbour-Page Lectures, University of Virginia, 1927)

Whitehead's reaction to the epistemological demanding situations of Hume and Kant in its so much brilliant and direct shape.

Additional resources for Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect (New Edition) (Barbour-Page Lectures, University of Virginia, 1927)

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I have elsewhere called it the assumption of 'simple location,' by way of applying it to space as well as to time. ' The alternative doctrine, that the pure succession of time is merely an abstract from the fundamental relationship of conformation, sweeps away the whole basis for the intervention of constitutive thought, or constitutive intuition, in the formation of the directly appre- Page 39 hended world. Universality of truth arises from the universality of relativity, whereby every particular actual thing lays upon the universe the obligation of conforming to it.

But symbolism is very fallible, in the sense that it may induce actions, feelings, emotions, and beliefs about things which are mere notions without that exemplification in the world which the symbolism leads us to presuppose. I shall develop the thesis that symbolism is an essential factor in the way we function as the result of our direct knowledge. Successful high-grade organisms are only possible, on the condition that their symbolic functionings are usually justified so far as important issues are concerned.

Such symbolic reference requires something in common between symbol and meaning which can be expressed without reference to the perfected percipient; but it also requires some activity of the percipient which can be considered without recourse either to the particular symbol or its particular meaning. Considered by themselves the symbol and its meaning do not require either that there shall be a symbolic ref- Page 10 erence between the two, or that the symbolic reference between the members of the couple should be one way on rather than the other way on.

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