Theory of Understanding
- the philosophy of knowledge and universal values

On the nature of human understanding and regeneration of its inherent values.

by Robert C. Priddy -- formerly University of Oslo (ret'd)

This web book investigates human understanding in general; its nature, main structure, functions and likely limits. The full scope of explicit forms of understanding is considered, from practical, inter-personal, communicational, scientific and philosophical understanding to ethical, metaphysical and so-called 'spiritual' insight. It deals with the functions of meta-science as part of the philosophy of holistic understanding. The guiding principles of holistic understanding is to seek the unity and also the uniqueness in diverse cultures and world-views. This work follows up, in a constructive spirit, the strong criticism levelled against scientism in the web book 'Science Limited' by the same author.


(A more detailed summary/abstract of chapters is also provided)

CHAPTER 1: THE NATURE OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING A depth analysis of our ability to understand, from perceptions to conceptions, from interconnections to pragmatic and theoretical ends. The expanding circle of understanding and holistic study of wholes and their parts

  Sub-section 1 The Crib and Human Understanding
  Sub-section 2 The ineradicabile role of personal subjectivity in all knowledge
  Sub-section 3 Individual human subjectivity, solipsism, computers & communication

CHAPTER 2: UNDERSTANDING AS METASCIENCE Levels of understanding and areas of knowledge which cannot be a part of physicalistic science. Most major decisions cannot be based solely on science, so new approaches to the understanding of the human and the cosmos essential today. Holistic understanding as the 'master method'.
CHAPTER 3: UNDERSTANDING AND UNITY Globalisation & planetary interdependencies increase need for unified understanding for the common good & values, which allows fully for the fact of natural diversity & human uniqueness , recognising the role of faith in human activity.
Subjective, self-experiencing mind structures the reality we perceive (appearance) and asserts values, requiring that we supplement naive natural scientific objectivism by the study of phenomena as inner-experienced meaning , through phenomenological method & self-reflection.

On the limits of what can be said, and what known. Interpreting the meaning of language: thoughts, feelings, facts and texts. On understanding types of meaning and communication. Consistency and the limits of logic.

Studying only existing social facts an society as objective structures, processes, factors etc. overlooks the personal 'subjective' minds that evaluate, sustain or may change society. Guarding against deception, ideology, misunderstanding, lies etc. is crucial and requires an holistic approach to remove mystification and make society intelligible.

CHAPTER 7: UNDERSTANDING AND TRUTH Truth is much more than a standard of judgement of either fact or logical validity, hence philosophers differ. Truth as one value among others, as related both to first-hand experience, reason & intuition , consensus & holistic understanding, worldliness and spirituality, wisdom, revelation & mystical experience.Transcendental, inexpressible truth

The book (originally called 'Beyond Science') on this web site is the copyright o f Robert Priddy, Oslo 1999. All brief quotes must be identified by stating the title & date of this book plus the author's name and this website address - as follows: Contact the author by e-mail for permission to publish any extracts that exceed one sentence from this and any linked websites. (e-mail address -please replace NOSPAM with @)

Robert Priddy is British, born U.K. 1936, researched and taught philosophy and sociology at the University of Oslo 1968-1984, until pensioned.