|To estimate the fruit of virtue by that imaginary knowledge of it which is acquired by mere definition, is very much the same as if one were to estimate the nature of fire from a fire painted on the wall. . . . Every vital good is perceived and judged by life and sense. . . . . If you have ever been this, you have seen this.|
Quoted by Ernst Cassirer,The Platonic Renaissance in England (1932), Eng. transl. Pettegrove 1953 p. 28.
John Worthington to Henry More, January 1669
'The Socinian Treatises are (they say) printed in 6 of 7 Folios.'
From THE PLATONIC RENAISSANCE IN ENGLAND, 1932 by Ernst Cassirer
... It is in no sense an aversion to the experimental philosophy in itself which incites the Cambridge men to this controversy. They showed a lively sympathy towards experimental research and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. Cudworth and More were both members of the Royal Society, and Joseph Glanvill set forth in his writing, Plus Ultra, a sort of philosophic programme for the endeavours of the Royal Society and attempted a broadly methodological defence of its research ideal. The contrast is here distinctly pointed out between the ideal of research and the contemplation which supposes that it can grasp and construe nature through concepts alone ; and the decision comes out entirely in favour of the experimental as opposed to the merely 'notional' way.1 If Glanvill in his work points to Robert Boyle and sees in him the true leader towards a new and more profound form of natural science, More too shared this scientific appreciation of Boyle, with whom he likewise was personally acquainted.2 Hence it is not the rights of experience that the Cambridge men contest, it is rather a certain philosophic narrowing of the concept of experience against which their protest is directed. What they advocate is a concept of experience which does not stand in a one-sided orientation to natural science, but which does justice to experience in all its functions, which beside scientific experience leaves a place for 'spiritual' or intellectual experience. To scientific induction, as set forth by Bacon, they oppose the rights of moral and religious experience. Such experience is neglected and debased, if, as does empiricism, one recognises experience only in the form of sense-perception and considers it as valid only in this form. There is experience not only of the sensible and the corporeal, but also of the spiritual and intellectual ; (etc).
Page created 22 December 2003
Last updated 24 November 2004
W. Paul Tabaka