“Ever not quite!”— this seems to wring the very last panting word out of rationalistic philosophy’s mouth. It is fit to be pluralism’s heraldic device. There is no complete generalization, no total point of view, no all-pervasive unity, but everywhere some residual resistance to verbalization, formulation, and discursification, some genius of reality that escapes from the pressure of the logical finger, that says “hands off,” and claims its privacy, and means to be left to its own life. In every moment of immediate experience is somewhat absolutely original and novel. “We are the first that ever burst into this silent sea.” Philosophy must pass from words, that reproduce but ancient elements, to life itself, that gives the integrally new. The “inexplicable,” the “mystery,” as what the intellect, with its claim to reason out reality, thinks that it is in duty bound to resolve, and the resolution of which Blood’s revelation would eliminate from the sphere of our duties, remains; but it remains as something to be met and dealt with by faculties more akin to our activities and heroisms and willingnesses, than to our logical powers. This is the anesthetic insight, according to our author. Let my last word, then, speaking in the name of intellectual philosophy, be his word. —“There is no conclusion. What has concluded, that we might conclude in regard to it? There are no fortunes to be told, and there is no advice to be given. — Farewell!”So, no conclusion. To the endless conversation!
Friday, July 28, 2017
I've enjoyed our conversation this summer, and am looking forward to your final posts. It feels too soon for finals words in our short course. Maybe it's always too soon for final words, period. That was in fact William James's borrowed final word, in an essay that appeared shortly before his death in the summer of 1910: