Saturday, January 23, 2021

Reason Exercised upon Knowledge

Philosophy, then, is Reason exercised upon Knowledge; or the Knowledge not merely of things in general, but of things in their relations to one another. It is the power of referring every thing to its true place in the universal system,--of understanding the various aspects of each of its parts,--of comprehending the exact value of each;-- tracing each backwards to its beginning, and forward to its end,--of anticipating the separate tendencies of each, and their respective checks or counteractions; and thus of accounting for anomalies, answering objections, supplying deficiencies, making allowance for errors, and meeting emergencies. It never views any part of the extended subject-matter of knowledge, without recollecting that it is but a part, or without the associations which spring from this recollection. It makes every thing lead to every thing else; it communicates the image of the whole body to every separate member, till the whole becomes in imagination like a spirit, every where pervading and penetrating its component parts, and giving them their one definite meaning.
John Henry Newman, Oxford University Sermons, Sermon 14, section 29.