• Pfhorrest
    1.9k
    In political philosophy, "third way" is used to describe a stance that tries to be neither just one or the other of the two sides of some usual political divide, nor just a usual middling compromise between them, but some kind of new position "above" them both, taking the best of both worlds, what Hegel would call a "synthesis" of them.

    As I understand it, Kant was attempting to do exactly this kind of thing, not politically but more generally, all around philosophically, with the Rationalist and Empiricist strands of Modern philosophy prior to himself.

    Does anyone know of a term for that general kind of approach, the likes of which I could search to find more philosophers who have tried that sort of thing? ("Third way" only seems to return political results).

    Alternatively or additionally, can anyone think of any other notable philosophers who have set out to do this kind of thing, intentionally positioning themselves as a synthesis of some thesis and antithesis? (Whether or not they used that terminology, since a lot of people predate Hegel).
  • Mww
    1.5k
    Kant was attempting to do exactly this kind of thing....Pfhorrest

    Maybe. Or maybe those coming after foisted such “synthesis” on him. He certainly didn’t acknowledge such synthesis as his philosophical intent, that I am aware of, anyway.

    I think he found both the dogmatic idealism of Berkeley and the material realism of Hume entirely insufficient for satisfying the criteria for human knowledge. Then, of course, he went ahead and re-defined human knowledge, and created a completely new philosophy that did account for it. He named it Transcendental Philosophy, and intended it to be, not a synthesis of the two major antecedent philosophies, but a “system of perspectives, based on principles” meant to replace them.

    On the other hand, Kant grants some valid rationality to both Hume’s empiricism and Descartes’ idealism while rejecting Berkeley’s, but granting validity doesn’t necessarily lead to the synthesis of parts in order to forge a new version.

    Kinda comical, considering the time of his writing, in that at one time he calls Hume “ablest and most ingenious of all sceptical philosophers,” then turns right around and accuses him of making bone-headed mistakes in reasoning: “did not distinguish these two kinds of judgements, as he ought to have done“.

    Perhaps a term might be....architectonic?

    Anyway.....two cents worth of examples of a third way.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.9k
    Perhaps a term might be....architectonic?Mww

    That doesn’t appear to mean what I’m looking for in this thread, but it is a great word that describes both Kant and another of my favorite philosophers Peirce (who apparently coined the term in reference to Kant), and my own philosophy as well. So thanks for sharing!
  • Mww
    1.5k
    Peirce (who apparently coined the term in reference to Kant),Pfhorrest

    “...CHAPTER III. The Architectonic of Pure Reason.
    By the term architectonic I mean the art of constructing a system. Without systematic unity, our knowledge cannot become science; it will be an aggregate, and not a system. Thus architectonic is the doctrine of the scientific in cognition, and therefore necessarily forms part of our methodology...”
    (A832/B860)

    Minor point to be sure, but in the interest of accuracy, Peirce didn’t coin the term. If Peirce applied the term to his own system, with a tip of the pointy hat to The Esteemed Professor, it would have done the same job.
  • Enrique
    204


    Not that knowledgeable in "schools of thought" kinds of considerations, but a guy I recently found who might be of interest to you is Maurice Merleau-Ponty. He had a scientist's respect for empirical detail, also with a solid vision of epistemological historicity and the always slippery implications of subjectivity. He didn't get close to consummating the project set out for himself, but success probably would have rendered modern science a lot more ethically coherent, deconstructively active, and generally philosophical than it is. Much of the fact is outdated, but he seems to have really grasped the big picture of his era. Read it and tell me what he says! I unfortunately don't have the opportunity to get into him at the moment.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.9k
    Thanks for that recommendation! I’m not clear exactly what two things he is a third way / synthesis of though?
  • Enrique
    204


    He's a synthesis of the Hegelian dialectical history paradigm with phenomenology. Gets into psychology of behavior and the nature of cognition, also did some studies relating to cultural humanism.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.9k
    Hegelian dialectical history paradigm with phenomenologyEnrique

    I’m not super well educated about continental philosophy, but I don’t see how those are antitheses of each other. Can you explain for me?
  • Enrique
    204


    I'm not sure that this is an explicitly designated thesis/antithesis situation, but basically phenomenology is an expansion of Kantian Idealism or the philosophical dimension of theoretical modeling into finer details of logic, cognition and the structure of meaning, very much concerned with Wittgensteinian and Analytic philosophy of mind subject matter, while Ponty's historical dialecticism was going to place the subject matter in cultural context, Continental philosophy's traditional sphere, fashioning an ethical framework for thinking about modern epistemological issues, probably with some political significance. This may not make clear sense to you, but we can discuss it further if you want.
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