Rationality and Romanticism
Introduction
Work on a synthesis of elements of rationality and romanticism, with the help of readings from Isaiah Berlin
Introduction

This "topic cluster" gathers together links to pages concerned with a direction of development in my philosophy the purpose of which is to integrate more fully into that philosophy ideas connected with the "Romantic" tradition in philosophy.

To further this I first sketched a new philosophical posture called positive philosophy in which metaphysical positivism is counterbalanced by something of a more Romantic character provisionally named existential positivism, accompanied by some discussion of the relationship between the rationalism of the enlightenment and the Romantic reaction against it.

I quickly came to the view that I really didn't know enough about Romanticism to be able to say anything meaningful about it, decided to do a bit of background reading, and somehow concluded that reading Isaiah Berlin might help. I found Berlin readable and read several of his books. In the course of this I came up with some ideas on how to take notes (which I do very badly), and how to bridge the gap between reading, taking notes, and various degrees of more tenuously connected writing about related ideas.

None of this has worked well. My reading of Berlin is probably largely complete, at least for the time being, and my present preoccupation is with rethinking my philosophy with the "Romantic" elements having their proper influence. I am now doing this along two parallel tracks of which the original synthesis in positive philosophy is one, and the second is a completely new approach based around some new epistemological ideas and called synthetic philosophy.

The links provided are in order of decreasing distance from the reading material.

Synthetic philosophy is built around a purposive and realistic epistemology and is called synthetic because this epistemology is synthesised to be pragmatic and realistic rather than revealed as a body of philosophical dogma.
A philosophical synthesis from elements of the rational/empiricist and the romantic/existential aspects of western philosophy, overlaid on a substratum (naive philosophy) which is sceptical and expressionistic. In its less romantic elements the position is sceptical and in some respects positivistic, but the philosophy is also I hope, positive in a more ordinary sense.
Two contrasting views of the proper relationship between the logical and emotional elements of the human psyche, which may be thought representative of distinct lines of development of western philosophy are dissected with a view to a synthesis.
Isaiah Berlin was a philosopher who mainly wrote about the history of ideas and had a particular interest in the period around the French Revolution and its relevance to political thought in mid twentieth century.
Synthetic Philosophy
Synthetic philosophy is built around a purposive and realistic epistemology and is called synthetic because this epistemology is synthesised to be pragmatic and realistic rather than revealed as a body of philosophical dogma.
An Introduction to Synthetic Philosophy
Synthetic philosophy is the second of two steps away from positivism in philosophy at RBJones.com.
Synthetic epistemology is an approach to epistemology in which standards of justification for claims to knowledge are recognised as elective, and in which sound judgement is recognised as primary.
Synthetic philosophy is my second approach to the synthesis of the modern remnants of "The Enlightenment" and "Romanticism". Whereas the first attempt, begun when I had almost no knowledge of philosophical romanticism, was an attempt to stich together coherently aspects from each tradition, this approach is more organic. For comparison I include below a link to the first approach, which I called positive philosophy. This is no more than a skeleton, but I may continue to develop this perspective in parallel with synthetic philosophy.
A philosophical synthesis from elements of the rational/empiricist and the romantic/existential aspects of western philosophy, overlaid on a substratum (naive philosophy) which is sceptical and expressionistic. In its less romantic elements the position is sceptical and in some respects positivistic, but the philosophy is also I hope, positive in a more ordinary sense.
Positive Philosophy
A philosophical synthesis from elements of the rational/empiricist and the romantic/existential aspects of western philosophy, overlaid on a substratum (naive philosophy) which is sceptical and expressionistic. In its less romantic elements the position is sceptical and in some respects positivistic, but the philosophy is also I hope, positive in a more ordinary sense.
RATIONAL
resolving the conflicts
ROMANTIC
Metaphysical Positivism is systematic constructive positivist philosophy. We present here sketches of Metaphysical Positivism together with some related historical material which might possibly help the reader come to an understanding of this system and its place in the history of ideas.
The problem of engineering machines which reason is philosophically provocative. The justification of an architecture for such a machine is a kind of constructive philosophy.
A conception of philosophy in terms of its purpose, methods, form and content, which is closer in some ways to literary art than it is to most other philosophy.
Existential positivism is positive practical philosophy. It builds from a base of pragmatic scepticism, and is closely related to, though not strictly dependent on existential expressionism. It bears on philosophical matters which depend in some way on subjective values, or upon some other kind of essential reference to our personal feelings and intutions.
A triad of book projects related to Positive Philosophy.
Rationality and Romanticism
Two contrasting views of the proper relationship between the logical and emotional elements of the human psyche, which may be thought representative of distinct lines of development of western philosophy are dissected with a view to a synthesis.
Introduction
We look to the origins of Romanticism as a reaction against the Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment
The Enlightenment was a period of excessive zeal for reason and science in which their scope was grossly overstated.
Romanticism
Romanticism reacted against the idea that purposes and values could be scientifically determined with an endorsement of values and purposes revealed to us by our own personal inner voice.
A Synthesis
A romantic existential expressionist philosophy of life is conceived of as a philosophy on a more fundamental plane (at least existentially) than the rational search for knowledge. That enterprise may still form a part of such a life, if, perhaps, held in line with appearances by an appropriately sceptical attitude.
Ideas on Political Philosophy
Notes on Isaiah Berlin
Isaiah Berlin was a philosopher who mainly wrote about the history of ideas and had a particular interest in the period around the French Revolution and its relevance to political thought in mid twentieth century.
These notes are and will remain, fragmentary, incomplete, un-scholarly, inaccurate. They are written as part of the process of writing other things, which are not themselves about Berlin or his views.
It is therefore moot whether they can be useful to anyone but myself. They might possibly contribute to an understanding of what I have written elsewhere, of the genesis of my own follies, if that should ever become a matter of interest.
Introduction
Berlin began his career as an analytic philosophy and then moved to be a philosophical historian of ideas, with a particular interest in the political ideas of "the romantic age", i.e., roughly, the century around the turn of the nineteenth.
The Enlightenment and Romanticism
Berlin's was particularly interested in the period (which he called "the romantic age"), consisting of the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, and identifies one particular development which took place during this period as of special importance. This is the challenge to the outlook of the Enlightenment by certain aspects of romantic thought..
Liberty
Liberty in its various conceptions and misconceptions, is a key concept for Berlin.
History
Pluralism
The Tripod
Berlin's tripod is a description of what he believed to the central doctrine of Western thought (from the Greeks onwards), which were overturned by Romanticism.
Notes on various of Berlin's writings (sometimes no more than the title).

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