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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Appendix D — Summary of My Metaphysical Work

page 43

Appendix D

Summary of My Metaphysical Work

Starting from the basis of Berkeleyan idealism, and endeavouring to do justice to the arguments on which it was founded, I have formulated a system of panpsychist realism which, in its postulation of ultimate discrete "reals," has much affinity with the peculiar type of realism originated by Herbart. These discrete "reals" I have treated mathematically on the lines of the theory of "discontinuous groups and of Professor Cayley's "Tactic," and have shown how they furnish a possible clue to the constitution of the physical world without having recourse to the geometry of continuous manifolds except as an intellectual convenience—i.e., as a useful approximation. I have delimited some of the conditions (e.g., irregularity in the constitution of very small regions) under which alone the tactical arrangement of a manifold consisting of indivisible units (i.e., a discrete manifold in the narrowest sense of the word "discrete") can, on the large scale, simulate the geometry of a continuous manifold—i.e., exhibit metrical properties which are approximately identical with those of the latter.

But justice had also to be done to the epistemological development (Erkenntnisstheorie) initiated by Kant and carried further by Fichte and Hegel. The endeavour to do this led me to a metaphysical theory of the time-process which, by identifying chronological sequence with the logical concatenation of mental elements in an all-inclusive self, yields a new view of the nature of causation. It reconciles the general attitude of the so-called Neo-Hegelian school of philosophy (except in regard to the Free-Will controversy) and a theistic and even specifically Christian) view of human history and experience, with an extreme application of Darwinian or Epicurean principles to an explanation of the early development of the sub-human world.

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