Proem:
The Architectonic Character of Philosophy 1)


176. The universally and justly lauded parallel which Kant draws between a philosophical doctrine and a piece of architecture has excellencies which the beginner in philosophy might easily overlook; and not the least of these is its recognition of the cosmic character of philosophy. I use the word »cosmic« because cosmicus is Kant's own choice; but I must say I think secular or public would have approached nearer to the expression of his meaning. Works of sculpture and painting can be executed for a single patron and must be by a single artist. A painting always represents a fragment of a larger whole. It is broken at its edges. It is to be shut up in a room and admired by a few. In such a work individuality of thought and feeling is an element of beauty. But a great building, such as alone can call out the depths of the architect's soul, is meant for the whole people, and is erected by the exertions of an army representative of the whole people. It is the message with which an age is charged, and which it delivers to posterity. Consequently, thought characteristic of an individual — the piquant, the nice, the clever — is too little to play any but the most subordinate rôle in architecture. If anybody can doubt whether this be equally true of philosophy, I can but recommend to him that splendid third chapter of the Methodology, in the Critic of the Pure Reason.

177. To the cosmological or secular character of philosophy (to which, as closely connected, Kant with his unfailing discernment joins the circumstance that philosophy is a thing that has to grow by the fission of minute parts and not by accretion) is due the necessity of planning it out from the beginning. Of course, every painting likewise has its composition; but composition is not a very weighty problem, except in that kind of painting which is accessory to architecture, or is, at any rate, very public in its appeal. Indeed historical painting is one of those exceptions which go to prove the rule that in works which aim at being secular, rather than individualistic, the preliminary business of planning is particularly important and onerous.

178. And the reason is very plain and simple. The instincts of the lower animals answer their purposes much more unerringly than a discursive understanding could do. But for man discourse of reason is requisite, because men are so intensively individualistic and original that the instincts, which are racial ideas, become smothered in them. A deliberate logical faculty, therefore, has in man to take their place; and the sole function of this logical deliberation is to grind off the arbitrary and the individualistic character of thought. Hence, wherever the arbitrary and the individualistic is particularly prejudicial, there logical deliberation, or discourse of reason, must be allowed as much play as possible.

179. That is why philosophy ought to be deliberate and planned out; and that is why, though pitchforking articles into a volume is a favorite and easy method of bookmaking, it is not the one which Mr. Peirce has deemed to be the most appropriate to the exposition of the principles of philosophy; so that, instead of making up this book by a collection of his old papers with additions, as he was urged to do, he has preferred to write it entirely anew, as if he had never before set pen to paper.1)


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