The Nature Of Ideas

the combination and reciprocal influence of the material parts of the body. He therefore began to

doubt what before had seemed a "self-evident truth, that the 'growth of a man is simply the result of eating and drinking, and that, when by the digestion of food flesh is added to flesh and bone to bone, the lesser bulk becomes larger and the small man great."1

Socrates could not see how such a process would explain the facts. Nay, he could not see how such an hypothesis would explain any ideal unity whatever, not even that which is involved in the art of arithmetic. "I could not satisfy myself that when one is added to one, the one to which the addition is made becomes two, simply by reason of the addition."2 In other words, as Kant afterwards pointed out, there is a synthetic principle involved even in the operations of arithmetic, a principle of connexion which mediates in the addition of one element to another; and we cannot say that the mere bringing of the terms together will explain this process, unless we can find some connective idea by means of which they are reduced to unity. Plato thus, as it appears, opens up the general question of the need of synthetic principles; and that not only for the explanation of life and mind, but wherever, in thought or in things, we discover a real unification

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment