Small system of knowing

Knowledge is the act of a knower

The act of the knower is to (a.) give rise to and (b.) be an indivisible reality

This reality is indivisible so far as it is not really divided into subject and object, but is rather is like a point from which a line drawn in one direction can be called the object, and drawn in another direction can be called the subject.

This undivided reality also serves as a point from which one development is physics, another psychology; one an aesthetic experience, another a painful memory, etc. Just as there is no limit on the number of lines that might arise from one point, there is no limit on the number of different experiences that might arise from the undivided reality that is and arises from the act of the knower. Science, art, logic, healing, religion, Naturalism, analysis, myth, etc. ad infinitum.

Within this indivisible point, there is a multitude that can be more or less reduced to unity or not. Say there is a dog in a room. A biologist walks in, and chooses to unify what he sees with other dogs, various wolves, even other various vertebrates. In each act, the very thing he sees is constituted by whatever unity is placed upon it. Now a child walks in and recognizes the dog as his own. His experience is not constituted by the sort of unity that the biologist gives to the experience. What is called universal is the sort of experience that has unity and relates to some multitude; particular is a unity that does not relate to some multitude. The experience itself, however, is indifferent to being taken as particular or universal. Both are simply lines of development that arise from the undivided reality.

The unity of a universal can be either definite or indefinite. Definite unity is called generic; indefinite unity is called transcendental.


  1. Kevin Gallagher said,

    August 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I have been reading this blog for a few years, and have been uniformly impressed. But in the past week or so I’ve been simply in awe.

    I don’t have any intelligent comments or cavils to add to this stuff, but I’d be wrong to enjoy this so much and not express my gratitude that such things are there to be read. Magister Chastek, you are a credit to philosophy.

    • August 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks. To some extent this is a peculiar reaction since the traffic on this blog has fallen noticeably over the last few months and was flat for years before that. I don’t know why this is, or even if the numbers are all that significant. Another problem in evaluation is my own difficulty in having a big picture view of what I’m doing here. I can critique sentences, work on paragraphs, try to smooth out style, etc, but as I read over what I write I sometimes have no idea whether the result is insipid or interesting, thorough or over-explained, to-the point or hopelessly undeveloped, far too large or far too small a topic, etc. Whatever it is, it attracts fewer and fewer and is ignored by the pro-philosopher blog society, though I keep doing this out of addiction that I have no real hope of or interest in kicking. I really only say this as a description – I don’t feel one way or another about it, and even if I did I don’t know what I could do to change it. The blog is a paradise of pure ideas for me, and it’s very enjoyable to spend time there, regardless of the result.

      But thanks for reading. One of the great benefits in a web log is that you know others are reading – which gives an incentive to try to polish your ideas, say true things, and put an idea out there that deserves to be refuted or mulled over. The blog could do with a few more refutations or challenges, though I should be careful what I wish for since those can be pretty time consuming to answer. Still, it is nice to have refutations even if you don’t have time to respond to them.

      • thenyssan said,

        August 21, 2011 at 3:37 am

        You’re my go-to for deep meditations on Thomas. Don’t stop!

      • E.R. Bourne said,

        August 21, 2011 at 7:39 am

        I fully agree with Kevin. I have been reading this blog since it began and have found it to be an education in itself. And as someone who reads many philosophy blogs, I must say that this one far exceeds them all.

        I think the lack of attempted counter argument and challenge is attributable to the style of the blog in general. Your posts seem more meditative, they deserve to be reflected upon for a few days. I do not know if more refutations would help. This is the internet, after all, and a quick view of some other excellent philosophy blogs, Edward Feser’s, for example, should discourage the desire to have more challengers. Many of them are anti-social weirdos with axes to grind, and their presence would most certainly hurt more than help.

  2. thenyssan said,

    August 20, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Does the biologist choose to unify those things or would it be more correct to say simply that he unifies them? Does the knower reassemble his unities every time “from scratch”?

    Sorry if that’s too dense. Every time I try to unwind it, madness ensues.

  3. PatrickH said,

    August 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I love this blog, but I am such a newbie/amateur that I can only claim to understand a small portion of what I read here. But, you asked for a challenge, so in my own small way, let me offer one: How do you distinguish the view in the post from neutral monism?

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