Lecture 14

The positivists emphasise law.
There are three stages: theological, metaphysical and scientific.

For Hegel, the bildgeist is logical thought, some universal mind expressing itself.
The process of history is the process of logical thought – the mind working itself out.

Comte, in the third stage, is wanting to get away from idealism.

Falsehood is only a partial truth.

In Comte at that stage of history – that was true, but not the best kind of truth. There is inevitable progress to the next stage, so what was once true, is no longer true.

In the first stage, the will and personal divine agent are the cause of occurrences/ events. This is the childhood stage of the human race.

In the second – the metaphysical stage – instead of a personal divine agent, an abstract principle causes events, eg Nature, a Rational Soul or some substance.

Anaxagoras was interested in explaining why something white (eg snow) could become black. He suggested that things possess qualities and have opposite qualities. Snow is seen as white because white is dominant. Once snow has lain ofr a while we then see it as black, because a lot of the white has gone, so black becomes dominant. Black was an occult (ie hidden) quality.

Moving from the first to the second stage Comte sees it as a great advance.

The theory of causality – a billiard ball hits another; the first stops and the second goes on more. In the first stage some power in the first is transferred to the second; we can never see this power.

Causality describes a theory.
Causation the actual process it explains.

In this first phase events in this world are explained by an agent in another world, out of the world in which the event happens to find the cause.

The great value of the second phase is the causes and effects are in the same world. The black in the snow is not in heaven, it’s in the snow. There are enough problems in this world we don’t need a second world.

These metaphysical thinkers distinguish a phenomenal world and a noumenal world.

Phenomenal – to show itself, or appear. The world that appears – appearances. (Phenomenon, singular; phenomena, plural.)

Noumenal – the world that relates to thought. From the Greek nous = mind. Noumena are things of thought.

Comte is saying, in this second stage, making world explain itself, have resorted to a hidden world of noumena.

Have you ever seen mind? Ever seen causation? Seen soul substance?

We have got to stick with the phenomena, stick with the facts, that’s what scientists do. We can’t resort to phenomena, stick with the observable facts.

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