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Discussion: Response to Alan Ford (Critical Essay)

Appraisal 2010, March, 8, 1

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It is always an honour to have one's thought subjected to a careful and gracious critique, such as Alan Ford provided to my March, 2009 article in Appraisal. I am happy to reply to his critique and invitation in the October, 2009 issue of Appraisal to continue the conversation about Macmurray's thought, especially as it relates to Polanyi's philosophy. Stephen Cowley has a most interesting little account, 'Macmurray's Early Milieu,' published in the fall, 2009 issue of the Macmurray Newsletter. Cowley presents a good case for the degree to which Edward Caird's idealism influenced the young Macmurray. Macmurray's language of the positive and the negative, which I admitted I found abstract and annoying, is shown persuasively by Cowley to be taken over directly from Caird, as is Macmurray's distinction between the mechanical, the organic, and the form of the personal. As I will explain, Mamurray's 'form of the personal' seems functionally equivalent to Caird's 'form of self-consciousness.' In various of his writings Macmurray critiques and wants to distance himself from idealism (which, after all, had gone out of style when Macmurray was writing). Ironically, though, in using Caird's categories and in making experience the foundational reference point of his philosophy, Macmurray's metaphysics can be seen as an expression of late nineteenth century British Idealism. Reality for idealists is rooted in experience, whether taken as objective and absolute, as in the thought of F. H. Bradley, or in its more subjective form, classically represented by Berkeley.

Discussion: Response to Alan Ford (Critical Essay)
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  • Category: Religion & Spirituality
  • Published: 01 March 2010
  • Publisher: The Society for Post-Critical and Personalist Studies
  • Print Length: 9 Pages
  • Language: English
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