Contemplation

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Contemplation

 

a sensory stage of knowledge.

In the idealist tradition of philosophy, there are two basic conceptions of contemplation, both directly related to the notion of intuition. One interpretation originated with Plato, who regarded contemplation as the extrasensory knowledge of ideas and the basis of “true” knowledge. The other interpretation was developed by Kant, who juxtaposed contemplation to both thought and sensations and treated it as the concept of a single object, the concept which is to undergo categorization in cognition. E. Husserl’s phenomenology considers both types of contemplation: empirical contemplation, or consciousness of a particular object, and eidetic contemplation, the object of which is essence (eidos).

Pre-Marxist materialism interpreted cognition as contemplation, a passive process of perceiving the external world, which acts on the sense organs. K. Marx wrote: “The chief defect of all previous materialism—that of Feuerbach included—is that things, reality, sensuousness are conceived only in the form of the object, or of contemplation, but not as human sensuous activity or practice, not subjectively” (in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 1).

Marxism has shown that cognition is not passive contemplation but an activity inextricably linked with transforming the world.

Contemplation

Compleat Angler, The
Izaak Walton’s classic treatise on the Contemplative Man’s Recreation. [Br. Lit.: The Compleat Angler]
Thinker, The
sculpture by Rodin, depicting contemplative man. [Fr. Art: Osborne, 988]
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