Reading along in Paul Fry's Defense of Poetry. I haven't even gotten to the chapter in which he zeroes in on theology (contrasting the "mere being" of his "insignificant" ground, with traditional via negativa theology). But I get to thinking as I read along that he reminds of John Locke & the other 18th-cent. materialists with whom Berkeley did battle.

Fry dismisses questions of first causes ("why does anything exist? how did it start?") as of interest only to theologians, not to philosophers, scientists, critics etc., since we can have no comprehension of anything which precedes comprehension itself (reflection, mind, intellect, language, understanding, awareness, knowledge, etc.), and, moreover, it's perfectly possible to imagine this unimaginable cosmic substrate has having no beginning whatsoever. And it seems true that all our conceptions (Nicholas of Cusa's "conjectures") are strictly human constructs, and we live in a kind of human-constructed conjectural reality. But if this unsignifiable substrate (Fry has many names for it) is strictly beyond - because other than - human intellect, then the conjectures of theologians (and philosophers) are just as valid as those of Fry's persuasion. Berkeley described Locke's "matter" as an abstraction, a heuristic convenience, a non-entity : for Berkeley, everything begins and ends in Mind. Berkeley perhaps lacked Cusanus' dialectical sense of a limit; he made up for it with paradoxical faith ("the evidence of things unseen").

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