L.Komakha. "Knowledge as “ontological reality”: the argument from “a priori”".

Larysa Komakha

Knowledge as “Ontological Reality”: the Argument from “a priori”

Setting of the problem. The development of modern logic and philosophy expands the space of the theory of argumentation to which are involved phenomenological, hermeneutic, postmodern, pragmatic meanings and ideas. They enhance the effect of conscious entry of science into the system of new methodologies of cognition and culture of thinking. Peculiarities of updated understanding of true and false in the parameters of argumentation represents the philosophy of "conceptual pragmatism" developed by the American philosopher Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963).

In the bosom of the history of ideas, pragmatism expanded understanding of the problem "empirical", had made innovations into the theory of "signs", into the modern formal logic especially into the logic of relations. In fact C. Lewis presents a new view on formal logic in terms of social experience. However, among representatives of philosophy of pragmatism he is more known for attempting to “explicate pragmatic description of argument a priori within analytics” [6]. Given situation foresees the presence in experience aprioristic element which embraces the uncertainty of new meanings. Research of the outlined problem opens prospects of new understanding of knowledge.

The aim of the research: critical rethinking of the problem “a priori” in conceptual pragmatism of Clive Lewis, in analytical format of which substantiation of fundamental position: the result of his logical reasoning is argumentation knowledge as "ontologically real" that expands the horizons of development the system of logical thinking.


Presentation of the main material of the research. In the system of argumentation of Clive Lewis concepts are arising “aprioristic rules” rooted in the dispositional penchant which “legislatively” define ways of possible interpretation of experience; a priori truths, in turn, make available relations of implications within these interpretations and between them. Genetically these rules arise due to “the cumulative effect of past experience and creative synthesis or as a result of “fixing” inside “flow” experience dispositional organized relationships between possible experiences. However at any point of empirical process, dispositional meaning logically contains everything that was creatively synthesized by it or “fixed”, or conversely everything that “for generation of what it has power or potential” [3, p. 335].

Such kind analytical relationships which have intensional basis, arising from purposeful activity and " penetrate" all levels of experience beginning from the most "rudimentary expectations to reflexive experience and completing by  perfect, graceful scientific knowledge and the development of abstract formal systems" [3, p . 335]. Maybe it will be not so easy to comprehend important structures of semantic meaning, tracing which concepts are involved into explicit expression of that or another relationship. But the explicit presentation of conducted logical analysis of the concept eventually is an attempt to comprehend what was implicitly involved in the structure of the subjective purposeful activity, scilicet in building which containing formal schemes of its application.

The argument of "a priori" C. Lewis distributes also on research of element of “givens” of cognitional experience. Let's underline philosophical aspect of this the problem since “philosophy is the study of a priori”; it trying to establish the nature of the real, as ethics – the nature of good, logic – value and reliability of something that doesn’t go beyond the limits of ordinary experience. Trying to define "reality", philosophy formulates rules but does it within rules, inherent for practice of mind, scilicet for pragmatic activity. Thus it is clear that the content, scilicet the object of logical or reflexive research, typical for our philosophical thinking is inside the human experience. Philosophizing is essentially in "individuation and critical analysis of the categories as a priori forms that make up our experience" [2, p. 703].

In the sphere of human experience a priori begins with concept. So we can speak about two elements of experience – sensitive data and results of mental searching. The difference between data of sensitive cognition and conceptual (meaning, category, a priori) is present in all philosophical systems, although the last one is often contradicts to obviousness of experience. But yet it stays generally admitted that there are two elements – “given” and “interpretation”. Clearly, that they can’t be separated from each other so easy. With that special attention C. Lewis focuses on “given”. Due to his argumentation there is a thesis: if there is no and wasn’t anything “given”, then there couldn’t be a content in thinking(in mind), there wasn’t a success or failure in the implementation of activity and would be impossible to implement and comprehend a prediction. The emphasis on “given” as the author underlines, represents by itself “pragmatic research of what way we verify our beliefs” [5, p. 35-80].

In argumentation of C. Lewis the experience appears, in such way, content continuous interactive unity of the organism and its environment and only in the context of concepts that reflect such unity, "given" rises to the level of awareness and thinking. Interactive unity – it’s not just only postulate of abstract thinking, since it has a priori (epistem or phenomenological) measurements. Something that by unclear for direct perception way comes to our experience, is not “clean given”  but rather reveals itself as evidence of availability “out there” of filled world that confronts to our activity. If the experience – is an interactive unity of our reactions and "ontologically real", then the nature of experience reflects as brought by us reactions but also penetrate "texture" of this reality. In such interactive unity there are both poles: as ontologically “other” to which our experience is opened but also “active” organism, in a result of purposeful activity of which this experience occurs [3, p. 336].

Something that raises in the experience, proves further C. Lewis, also refers to independent real; there is no ontological "gap" between the phenomenon and reality. Thus, that what is present in the experience, opened in one direction to the structures of objective reality and in the second – to structures of our ways to comprehend the reality. At given situation there is a similar order of “beings” and the order of "knowledge" which arises in a certain way "divorced" and the direction of the implementation in each of them concerning the vector of another – reverse. But exactly their not simply “differently-orientation” but also orientation "towards each other sets the condition for the possibility of real perfect knowledge" [1, p. 111].

Something that appears in experience, C. Lewis arguments, depends on the reality (of the object) and on the method of comprehension (of the subject) in their interactions and that’s why doesn’t “reflect” specular any of them, though recreates their characteristics. Penetrating "texture" of experience that have an example in every experience, at the same time serve as an indicator of penetrating structures of objective reality which in every experience make present itself for our reactions and ensures criteria of expediency of our concepts. The main thing is that in the basis of our selectivity in the organization of experience is "a priori compelling." Scilicet the experience can’t be selected by the will but rather "should be recognized by any organizational structure, which implements selection" [3, p. 336].

As logic analysis "a priori compelling" doesn’t "locks" us in the frames of phenomenal, forever taking from noumenal world by the determining necessities that are contained in the mind, but rather "pushes" us towards "ontologically real" and thus deny conventional statements and claims. Inability to recognize this interactivity and as a result replacement of it or reflection of one ontologically real or reflection only our selective activity, leads to conflicting alternatives: traditional realism and idealism, realism or antirealism, fundamentalism or anti fundamentalism, objectivism or relativism. Having understood the importance of this interactive unity, C. Lewis points on the possibility of absence differences between alternatives. For example, between quite “critical idealism” and quite "critical realism". He proves that false problems arise because of the " insidious" deceived relating to the interpretation of knowledge as "copy" [7, p. 194].

In the context of their logical reasoning C. Lewis on the ground of arguments shows that content of knowledge is "ontologically real" because it has independence from consciousness. Although, nevertheless he admits certain dependence of knowledge from consciousness (the subject of cognition). In the format of his logical argumentation appears that refusal from this or another of above mentioned alternatives comes out from inability to once and for all  deny the assumption that is “in the basis of contemplative theory of cognition” [3, p. 338], scilicet from inability not to consider a priori structures that serve in a certain sense a way of designing semantic structures of reality.

Fundamentally important place in argumentation of C. Lewis takes consideration of temporality and procedural nature of the world that enables a deeper understanding of its philosophy and place in it “a priori”. Transition to "process metaphysics" is observed in its statement that "absolutely given" in its independence from unethical activity is "berhsonivska duration" [7, p. 58]. He wants to prove that "absolutely given – it’s a deceptively present that gradually fades in the past and more and more penetrate into the future with no real boundaries. The destruction of this, marks activity of interested mind "[7, p. 59-60]. If the separate object depends on interpreted activity, then potentiality of such its appearance is in the independently existing reality. Such potentiality is not potentiality of ideal archetypes or archetypes essential features in whatever sense; it is likely inherent "methods of continuation" or "sequences". For C. Lewis, object that is individual entity which is perceived in experience, has universality which "poured" through its "demarcation line" [3, p. 338]. But not because world (Universe) is an amorphous or ephemeral, but because it has an infinite variety of dense, impenetrable, filled with the process of changes. In this sense, as shown by the evidence of C. Lewis, the object appears as abstracted part of certain continuum of events.

The importance of dispositional meaning in the transformation the world of processes into the world of structured and semantically appointed objects, reflected in the tag of J. Dewey about “the structure – it’s a consistency of means, things which are used to achieve results, not things taken, as they are in absolute plan "[4, p. 64]. And then he points: "separation of structure from changes, for which it serves as established ordering, transforming it into something mystical - something which appears as metaphysical in popular meaning of this word" [4, p. 65].

The difference of pragmatic reconstruction by C. Lewis "a priori" which arguments contours of entry into our experience “process world” in the form of endowed with semantic meaning of "world of things" ornately and difficult "intertwined" with its graceful interpretation based on temporality “unethical creativity” rooted in purposeful natural activity which constitutes experimental character of experience. This a priori element of experience that implements the control at the level of possibility of appearance in experience significant structure or facts and objects of certain types, has its roots in the concreteness of human behavior, replaced or changed within the perfect temporal structure of such behavior. Thus, pointed argumentation leads C. Lewis to the conclusion that thanks to the experience is made possible through the comprehension in certain context independent processual world (Universe) and ensured with a tool with help of which within our experience we transform it into something definite and steady. Moreover, taking into account “internally inherent to such arguments of uncertainty and endless variety of possibilities and potentiality that spread to past, present and future" [3, p. 339-340].

His concept "a priori" which appears also as a central element of its argument in the statement of developed by him philosophy, C. Lewis substantiates by analyzing separate scientific categories. As a result, he concludes that all truth of scientific cognition remains uncertain. Moreover, based on logical evidences proves that no empirical judgments regarding the objective reality can’t be completely verified. Any empirical knowledge is subject to be checked by the following experience and this future experience is able to neutralize it. That’s why "empirical generalization will always depend on the future, therefore, on likely only experience while a priori judgment is always right" [2, p. 706].

Namely this tag defined a priori as the most convincing argument in substantion of the fundamental provisions version of pragmatism of C. Lewis - conceptual pragmatism. In this analytical context a priori element serves not only cornerstone for understanding the spirit of classical pragmatism but also for understand the theory of argumentation that permeates the whole philosophy of C. Lewis and thereby takes it rightful place as in the tradition of philosophical and logical thinking.


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Комаха Лариса Григорівна.

Знання як “онтологічна реальність”: аргумент від “апріорного”.

У статті досліджується проблема “апріорного” в концептуальному прагматизмі К.С. Льюїса. Вико­ристання “апріорного” як аргументу американський філософ розповсюджує на дослідження елементу “даності” пізнавального досвіду. Доводиться, що у сфері зрілого людського досвіду апріорне починається з поняття, тим самим засвідчуючи його двокомпо­нентність – наявність чуттєвих даних і результатів інтелектуального пізнання. Природа “апріорного” розкривається в темпоральності і процесній динаміці реального світу. Показано, що підсумком логічних міркувань дослідження є аргументація знання як “онтологічно реального”, досвід котрого відкриває перспективи нової системи епістемологічного мис­лення. Аргументація Клайва Льюїса дає підстави висновувати, що завдяки досвіду уможливлюється осягнення в певному контексті світового процесу. Апрі­орний елемент досвіду має свої витоки в конкретності людської поведінки, слугує головним аргументом для розуміння духу класичного прагматизму, культури мислення і поліфонії філософського знання.

Ключові слова: прагматизм, апріорне, аргумент, логіка, досвід, смисл онтологічний, Клайв Стейплз Льюїс.




Комаха Лариса Григорьевна.

Знание как “онтологическая реальность”: аргумент от “априорного”.

В статье исследуется проблема “априорного” в кон­цептуальном прагматизме К.С. Льюиса. Использова­ние “априорного” в качестве аргумента американский философ распространяет на исследование элемента “данности” познавательного опыта. Доказывается, что в сфере зрелого человеческого опыта априорное на­чинается с понятия, тем самым подтверждая его двокомпонентность – наличие чувственных данных и результатов интеллектуального познания. Природа “априорного” раскрывается в темпоральности и про­цессуальности реального мира. Показано, что итогом логических рассуждений исследования является аргу­ментация знания как “онтологически реального”, опыт которого открывает перспективы новой системы эпи­сте­мо­логического мышления. Аргументация Клайва Льюиса дает основания сделать вывод, что благодаря опыту возникает возможность постижения в опреде­лен­ном контексте мирового процесса. Априорный элемент опыта имеет свои истоки в конкретности человеческого поведения, служит главным аргументом для понимания духа классического прагматизма, куль­туры мышления и полифонии философского знания.

Ключевые слова: прагматизм, априорное, аргумент, логика, опыт, смысл онтологический, Клайв Стейплз Льюис.




Komakha Larysa.

Knowledge as “ontological reality”: the argument from “a priori”.

The article investigates the problem of the “a priori” in the conceptual pragmatism of C. Lewis. The American philosopher extends the use of “a priori” as an argument to the research of element of “givens” of cognitive expe­rience. It is proved that in our experience a prioribegins with a concept, thus confirming the two elements of experi­ence – sensory data and intellectual knowledge. The nature of “a priori” is revealed intemporality andprocessuality of the real world. It is shown that the result of logical reasoning of a research is the reasoning of knowledge as “ontologi­cally real”; its experience offers the prospect of a new system of epistemological thinking. C. Lewis’ argumentation leads to the conclusion that the experience opens a possibility of understanding of the world process’context. An “a priori element” of experience has its origins in a particular human behavior. An “a priori element” is the main argument for understanding the essence of classical pragmatism, culture of thinking and polyphony of philosophical knowledge.

Keywords: pragmatism, a priori, argument, logic, experience, meaning ontological, Clive Lewis.

Статтю опубліковано у ж. "Психологія і суспільство". 2016. - №1. - С. 43-47.

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