Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Goal of Reflection

From it's beginning in perception, thought more or less unknowingly seeks a potential goal in every idea, the unified system implicitly at work at every stage of reflection, exercising its steady influence against irrelevant excursions and developing its fragmentary knowledge by the rules of an ideal system. The farther thought progresses, the more clearly does its system reveal the character of a system that lies beyond it.

Our study of reflection began with examples of the kind of unified system that governs reflection in ordinary thought. They were only provisional. Because the impulse of thought is toward self-revision, those examples become superseded by more complete systems. What is at the end of this process of continual self-revision is unknown, nor can we ever know what it is until we have attained it. But we can see the direction in which we must move if we want to attain it.

Thought tries to supersede all partial systems by a more developed overall system that will absorb and extend its earlier gains, and it can rest only when this process cannot be continued further. And thought is the potentiality of the object it seeks to know. Therefore, what fulfills the theoretic impulse must also bring about the most complete and immediate experience of the real.


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