Unification Thought

By Dr. Sang Hun Lee

Chapter II - Epistemology (part 1)

Epistemology is one of the greatest philosophical problems even in modern philosophy. In this chapter, I will suggest the basic ground for the formation of recognition through the critique of the main theories of epistemology of the past, and give answers, from the standpoint of Unification Thought, to various problems of epistemology such as the process of recognition and the causes of its development.

Section A - The Meaning of Epistemology and the Process of its Formation

(i) The Origin of Epistemology

As we have already explained in the chapter on ontology, through a long history of more than several thousand years, many philosophers have taken an interest in the various phenomena of the cosmos and eagerly studied ontological problems such as the origins, meanings, and purposes of these phenomena.

In modern times, however, the following questions, which are usually called the problems of epistemology, have come to be considered as the central philosophical questions. That is, can the method of cognition, which is adopted at present, correctly catch the essence or true meaning of the object which is being studied? Can we say that we have enough ability of cognition to catch the true meaning of the world correctly? If not, what is the limit of our cognition? In what cases and on what grounds or rights can we judge that a certain assertion or proposition is true?

The reason for this new philosophical tendency is as follows. In the Middle Ages, the Christian theology, originated by Jesus Christ and completed by the Apostles and Fathers, and the philosophies of ancient Greece, made by Plato and Aristotle, were unified by Scholastic philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). This unified theory was believed to be an eternal, absolute authority so much that hardly any worthy thoughts have been developed since then.

Influenced by the solid, traditional thought of those days, men saw things with strong preconceptions and did not bring forward new problems from free and creative standpoints. Dissatisfaction with and reconsideration of such theories came suddenly with the dawn of the modern age.

For instance in the Middle Ages men would always think about nature in relation to God or it was regarded as the result of an act of God. Thus, in those times, Aristotle's metaphysics, which asserted that the cosmos consists of substance (hyle) and forms (eidos), was respected and esteemed. Following the pattern of this metaphysical philosophy, scholars applied their Scholastic method only to unchangeable substances, the meaning or aim of things; they did not try to pay attention to the concrete movements of nature. It was epistemology that appeared as the criticism or reaction against such a fixed, conventional way of thinking.

In short, we may say that the reconsideration of ontology brought about epistemology.

(ii) Novum Organum of Francis Bacon

It was Novum Organum (1620) written by Francis Bacon of Britain that typically represented the new way of thinking. In this book he summarized as four idols the old traditional prejudices or preconceptions which prevented the acquisition of true knowledge.

(1) The Idols of the Tribe ... This is a prejudice common to the race of mankind. For instance, man's intellect is apt to think that nature has more regularities than it really has and that heavenly bodies and their orbits are completely round. These are idols or prejudices.

(2) The Idols of the Cave . . . Prejudices brought about by the tastes or inclinations peculiar to the individual persons. For instance, those who are good at learning often ignore physical education or the arts without correctly evaluating their merits. Or those who are sensitive to economic interests are apt to think that all other people are also sensitive in this way.

(3) The Idols of the Market Place ... Idols or prejudices which result from the misusage and the confusion caused either by words which are names of things which do not exist or by words which are names of things that exist but which are vague and confused in their meanings. For instance the concepts such as Fortune, Prime Mover and Element of Fire, were created by false theories and even though they do not actually exist, many people believe them as if they really do. Bacon asserted that in order to avoid these prejudices, words should be confined to those showing the concrete individual things.

(4) The Idols of Theater . just as people wrongly think that the stories performed on stage really took place in history, they will hold prejudices by blindly believing various philosophical systems, wrong ethical principles, history, traditions or doctrines. Bacon suggests that one should not be deceived by tricks on the stage but should observe things for oneself without believing other people's words.

Thus, the characteristic of modern epistemology in recent philosophical circles is that in order to obtain the right knowledge, people must face the truth directly by rejecting the conventional way of thinking and by observing and experimenting for themselves.

Section B - Traditional Epistemology Viewed from the Contents of Cognition

Recognition is only possible when there is a subject and object of cognition. In epistemology, in the past however, there was a tendency to place emphasis on either the subject or the object. So let us classify the epistemology of the past according to the viewpoints which more greatly stressed either the subject or the object.

1. Epistemology Emphasizing The Object Only

a. From the Viewpoint of the Source of Cognition-Empiricism

The Source of Recognition is Experience

There is a theory in which the source of cognition is thought to lie solely in the object, that is, in experience. This philosophical view is called empiricism. This way of thinking can be found even in ancient times, but it was Francis Bacon who asserted the theory consciously and clearly. After Bacon, Locke (1632-1704) established this theory of cognition in very clear form.

Before Locke, according to the Scholastic philosophy of the Middle Ages, the concepts of God, moral law and the axioms of mathematics were thought to be innate ideas (idea innata) or naturally carved in the mind of human beings, and even Descartes, who was a founder of epistemology together with Francis Bacon, accepted this way of thinking. But Locke criticized this theory sharply through his psychological and anthropological studies and asserted that man's mind by nature is like a tabula rasa (blank tablet) on which nothing is marked until the first idea is marked on it from the outside.

Then from where do such concepts come? They come from man's experience, which may be classified into two groups, that is, sensation and reflection. Sensation is the perception of external things brought to the mind through the five senses, while reflection is perception by the action of man's own mind (in this meaning, this is called internal sense, too). Reflection happens after the sensation since it is based on another intellectual action.

Thus Locke asserted that all concepts held by human beings come from experience, that is, from sensation and internal sense, and he did not admit that elements of cognition on the side of subject, which are called idea innata, reasoning power or the like, are sources of cognition.

His opinion was succeeded by Berkeley and Hume (1711-1776), and the great school of British empiricism was formed. Roughly speaking, the logical positivism and pragmatism of today also follow this school.

This theory has contributed to the popularization of scientific thought since it denied as groundless the past system of knowledge composed of revelation and speculation and asserted that only knowledge obtained by experience, observation and experimentation is true.

b. From the Viewpoint of What Is the Essence of Cognition-Realism

In relation to the problem of finding the source of cognition, another important problem is whether the object of cognition, which we see or hear daily, is independent of us, existing objectively, or whether it exists within the subject (sensation, etc.)

Some accept that the object of our cognition exists objectively and independently without any relation to our mind's (the subject of cognition) having cognition of it, and our mind also has cognition of the object which is independent of mind. They think that it is possible to grasp the existence of such an independent reality by cognition. This standpoint in epistemology is called realism.

According to this theory, cognition corresponds to the object and means the copying of reality (object), in some meaning and to some extent. Within realism, there are the two separate standpoints of idealistic realism and materialism.

Plato's "idea" is an example of idealistic realism. He conceived of an immaterial eternal reality which exists without any relationship to human beings (subject) and which transcends time and space. Therefore it is clear that his viewpoint is realism. Hegel also says that the Absolute Spirit, which is the essence of this world, changes into nature through its self-development and lastly reaches self-consciousness or self-cognition in man to become spirit. Here, both the Absolute Spirit and nature, which appears in the process of the self-development of the spirit, are so independent of man that such a view is also a kind of idealistic realism. The philosophies asserting such standpoints as Plato's or Hegel's are generally called objective idealism.

Materialism, a typical example of it being Marxism, is of course realism because of its philosophical character. Besides these philosophies, there is the new realism advocated by Moor, Whitehead and Russell, which regards even the spirit as a part of nature.

2. Epistemology Emphasizing The Subject Only

a. From the Viewpoint of the Source of Cognition-Rationalism

Rationalism, founded by Descartes (1596-1650), stands on an extremely different footing than the above-mentioned empiricism when it deals with the source of cognition. Descartes was born into an aristocratic family and educated at the Jesuit College of La Fleche, one of the most famous schools in Europe. However, he thought that apart from mathematics, he could trust nothing that he had been taught. He wanted to make all learning as accurate as mathematics and in order to achieve this solid ground, tried to doubt everything as much as he could (methodical doubt). He did not believe the senses since they may often deceive us. Even if a thing seems to be true when judged from man's reason, some deceitful evil demon might deceive even the reason itself. Continuing his doubt further and further, he at last noticed that;

I doubt that I exist begs the question: Who is doing the doubting? Obviously the doubter must exist to do any doubting whatsoever. At least, the doubting doubter must exist: Since I am the doubter, then it follows that I must exist. Doubting is an aspect of thinking, and thinking is a phase of existence; therefore to doubt is to think, and to think is to be. (Rene Descartes, Meditations on the First Philosophy)

He expressed this as Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) and decided "that all the things which we very clearly and distinctly conceive are true . . ." [Note: "Clear" is the clear appearance of things to the mind. "Distinct" is the distinction of these things from others without any confusion.]

Comparing Descartes' way of thinking with Locke's, we find that the former does not believe in the senses which the latter admits without any doubt, as the source of all ideas. On the other hand, Descartes regards the activity of the rational mind as being the most trustworthy and primary, that is, as being clear and distinct intuition. According to Locke, on the other hand, the activity of reason corresponds to the complex idea which is produced secondarily (reflections), using, as materials, the simple ideas which are directly obtained from the senses (sensation).

As stated before, it is a characteristic of Cartesian rationalism that the reason of the subject is trusted more than the sensation and experience coming from the object.

Only those things that are derived logically, and are clear and distinct (self-evident, basic principles) are accepted as sure cognition. This school of thought then was founded by Descartes, continued by Spinoza (1632-1677) and Leibniz (1646-1716) and took the lead for German idealism which was started by Kant.

Rationalism contributed much to the establishment of mathematical logic which was an important pillar of natural science together with the positive sides of observation and experiment. It- was after Kant that the positiveness of empiricism and the logic of rationalism were philosophically unified.

b. From the Viewpoint of the Essence of Cognition-Subjective Idealism

Next, there is the problem of what is the essence of the object. While realism explains it as objective reality independent of the subject of cognition, there is also subjective idealism which asserts that all things in the world are the contents of the individual's consciousness and that they are nothing but collections of sensations in the mind of the subject.

It was Berkeley (1685-1753) who asserted this theory quite clearly. He said that although it seems that we can usually know at once the distance between two things or their size with our eyes, actually it is only the sense of color that directly reaches us in vision. The distance and size are judged merely by the association by habit of our subjective experiences such as vision, movement of the eyes, touch, and our movement toward the object. It is the combination of vision and the sense of touch (sensation of movement), that gives us cognition.

He applied this theory to the solidness, extension, form and movement of a material which Locke regarded as the "primary qualities" belonging to the material itself; he said that all these are nothing but quite subjective conditions (for instance, solidness is only the feeling of resistance which takes place when we touch the material). Material is nothing but a bunch of sensations, and existing is the same as being sensed (Esse est percipl). He said that the so-called matter or corporeal substance, which according to Locke is independent of the subject, is only a falsehood; it is only the idea that actually exists. There is no other philosopher whose opinion is so extreme as Berkeley; however, similar tendencies are seen in the theories of Fichte (1762-1814) and Schopenhauer (1788-1860).

Section C - Traditional Epistemology Viewed from the Cognition Method

1. The Transcendental Method Of Kant

(i) The Unification of Empiricism and Rationalism

The British empiricism founded by Bacon asserts that our mind is by nature a pure tabula rasa (blank tablet) and that all of our ideas come only from the sensations caused by objects. On the other hand, continental rationalism, founded by Descartes, explains that universally valid and true cognition can be obtained only through rational cognition independent of experience; in other words, only what is conducted logically from self-evident basic principles can be called sure knowledge.

Because of its character, empiricism not only denied metaphysics, but also came to doubt the sureness of the cognition of natural science. Thus empiricism fell into the sterile skepticism that there is no sureness in the reason of a human being. On the other hand, because of its closed logical nature, rationalism made it impossible for anyone to increase his knowledge and it became dogmatic since it asserted that things could be known by reason alone.

It was Kant (1724-1804) who, using the knowledge of science which was then making great advances, tried to reconcile the differences between empiricism and rationalism, which had fallen into an unfruitful stalemate by both becoming extreme.

(ii) Matter and Form

Philosophers before Kant were apt to think that cognition took place either by what came into us from the outside or by what existed within us from the beginning, but Kant tried to unify the two ways of thinking by showing that cognition could be composed of both views.

Then, exactly what comes from outside? According to Kant, it is the "matter" (content) of cognition. What is it that man has within himself from the beginning? It is the "form" of cognition. The object of cognition is the "matter" which is synthesized and unified by the form.

In this case, the "matter" (content) is that which is given as a sensation when we perceive a thing with our five senses. For instance, in the case of a flower, the "matter" are color, pattern and smell. On the other hand, however, when we see the flower, we always grasp it as a thing existing at a particular place (space), and we think about when it bloomed and will wither (time). We also grasp it mathematically; for instance, it has four or five petals. We may wonder whether or not it is an artificial flower, even though it looks like a real one. These elements (frames) of space, time, number and quantity he calls forms. We find that the objects which we recognize are not merely the element of "matter" but are always joined and organized by the above-mentioned forms.

From the conventional viewpoint, we may say that both "matter" (content) and form exist in the outer world originally and that we directly see, hear or feel the "matter" which has already been organized by the form in the outer world. However, Kant does not agree with this; he says that only the matter comes from outside while the form exists previously within ourselves and joins the matter to give it some organization. [Note: Kant does not deny the possibility that the matter itself has some unity. But he asserts that for us to think of this unity is meaningless because we can not know in what way it exists since it is beyond our cognition.]

That is to say, according to his theory, the already formalized object does not appear before us but we ourselves actively formalize the matter of the phenomena which comes from the outside and thus compose the object of cognition.

Then, where has the form of cognition come from, if it does not come from experience? This ability which existed within us before experience manifests itself at the time of experience. Thinking in this way, Kant called that which must have existed in principle before experience "a priori."

That which is given as sensation from outside (matter) is synthesized and unified by the a priori form and then, for the first time, it becomes an object of cognition and man becomes conscious of the object. This is the epistemology of Kant.

(iii) Ding an Sich ("Thing-in-Itself')

If all this is true, then we recognize not the objective world outside of us itself, but rather the unification of the sensation matter from the outside and the a priori form belonging to ourselves (subject).

Then what is the source or true body of the matter (content) sent from the outside as sensation? Does such an objective source exist or not? Fichte said that it was not necessary to think of the existence of such a source, but Kant thought that it really existed and called it Ding an Sich ("thing-in-itself").

The natural result of Kant's way of thinking which is stated above, is that the Ding an Sich is the "Thing that can be thought of but cannot be recognized." Thus his theory is agnosticism. Since this way of thinking is fundamentally different from ours, we are going to criticize it thoroughly later. [Note: For instance, according to Kant, we can imagine space in which nothing exists, but it is impossible to imagine a being without space. We can say in principle, therefore, that the intuition form called space exists before any experience, and that the experience of a thing can be possible only by the utilization of this form. This is called transcendental or a priori; by a priori Kant meant that which is before experience. For instance, the intuitive form of the above mentioned "space" does not exist in ourselves as a thing, perfect from the beginning, but according to Kant, there is, from the beginning, the latent ability of having such an intuition, and it is gradually trained into a perfect ability as experiences are accumulated.]

(iv) Cognition Form

According to Kant, the process of cognition, which is the unification of outer matter and inner form, is further classified into the two stages of sensibility (sensibilitat) and understanding (Verstand).

Man's cognition is composed by the cooperation of sensibility, as the ability of perception, and understanding, as the ability of thinking. If either of them is absent, right cognition can not be obtained. "Thoughts without content are empty; perceptions without concepts are blind." (The Critique of Pure Reason) This is the standpoint of Kant, who tried to unify empiricism and rationalism.

Sensibility is the ability to receive ideas through being stimulated by the object. Thus sensation occurs. At this time the forms, that is, time and space which receive the sensation as their raw material, already exist a priori within an apparatus of perception (sensibility). In other words, if we see a thing, without thinking about it at all, we already grasp it in terms of simultaneity, sequence, succession, coexistence, or difference of place. These determinations have meaning only when the intuitions such as time and space exist before them. It is never true that experiences such as sequence and co-existence exist first, and then the concepts of time and space are abstracted later. Thus, the concepts of time and space are said to be a priori. Kant called the forms "intuition forms."

By these intuition forms, the sensation matter (content) can obtain a certain composition; however, it is not yet organized into one object (e.g. an apple), but only a mere "variety in intuition." For instance, when we open our hand holding an apple and the apple falls onto the floor, we receive the intuitional idea that the phenomena happened successively, but can not yet judge whether or not there is a causal relation between the two phenomena. Accordingly, we can not yet reach complete cognition of the object.

Object cognition can be composed only by using the a priori concepts of the understanding (Verstand). Thinking in this way, Kant called them "categories." Generally speaking, they can also be called thinking forms (understanding forms). These categories Kant systemized into four sets of three making twelve all together.

1. Quantity Unity - Plurality - Totality

2. Quality Reality - Negation - Limitation

3. Relation Substance-and-Accident - Cause-and-Effect - Reciprocity

4. Modality Possibility - Actuality - Necessity

For instance, suppose there is a tree; this is the objective cognition obtained by the category of unity. It is not a plum tree but a cherry tree; this is relating to negation and reality. In the future it will produce fruit; this is the combined use of time which is an intuition form and possibility which is a category. Thus, according to Kant, we recognize things, one after another by applying to the objects the intuition forms and categories, which we hold beforehand.

In addition, he admitted the existence of reason (Vernunft) which is a higher thinking ability, relating to ideas. This is a higher faculty than sensibility (Sinnlechkeit) and understanding (Verstand). Thus Kant's classification of man's ability of cognition into three stages was succeeded by Hegel, who developed this view further. This then is the outline of Kant's epistemology.

2. The Dialectical Method Of Marx

(i) The Theory of Reflection

In order to reconcile the unfruitful stalemate between British empiricism and continental rationalism, Kant established the theory that cognition can be achieved by synthesizing and unifying the sensation matter coming from the outside (assertion of empiricism) by using a priori forms belonging to the subject (rationalism). As a result, the "thing-in-itself" (Ding an Sich) which is independent of the subject could not be recognized and the flexibility needed to comprehend and change the historically developing objective world was lost. Then, protesting against this unifying method of the idealistic school, Marx and Lenin tried to unify the two theories from the viewpoint of materialism.

Kant thought that the world (phenomena) appearing in our consciousness is not the outer world itself, but we subjectively compose it by giving a frame to the sensation matter coming from the outside. Marx, on the other hand, admits the reality of a material world independent of the subject and thinks that our cognition (sensation, idea, concept) is the reflection (copy, image) of the objective being. But unlike that of the British empiricists, his reflection is not passive but active and is obtained by working upon the objective world with subjective action (practice). Man can know the state of the world more exactly by such active cognition, that is, through the process of change.

(ii) Sensitivity, Reason and Practice

Then, how does the process of reflection progress? Marx and his followers say that it progresses through the spiral repetition of the three stages of sensuous cognition, reasoned recognition and practice.

For instance, let us take the cause of a lightning bolt. It may rain heavily, thunder may sound and lightning may flash. The sensuous stage is to sense the lightning bolt and other things as they are. But it is not enough for us to merely sense the lightning clearly. Using our reasoning power, we must try to discover the natural shape of the lightning or collect many examples of a lightning bolt or compare it to other similar phenomena. This is the rational recognition stage containing factors such as concept, judgment and inference.

Yet to do all this is still not enough to decide whether or not our cognition is the correct reflection of the objective world. To decide this we must, according to Marx, make and demonstrate the same phenomenon as the lightning bolt for ourselves. We can show that the discharge of high voltage electricity is the same phenomenon as a lightning bolt, and make it quite clear that a lightning bolt is a kind of electricity. This is the practice and the cognition of the higher stage obtained through practice.

By this practice, it can be ascertained whether the reflection of the objective world formed within us through the action of the senses and reason, is right or not, and at the same time, through practice, a more accurate reflection can be obtained at one higher stage. Thus the form of "practice, cognition, re-practice, recognition" is repeated infinitely in rotation, and after each rotation, the contents of practice and cognition reach a higher stage. (Mao Tse-tung, Theory of Practice)

(iii) Absolute Truth and Relative Truth

Marxists believe that the objective world is independent of the subject and is governed by absolute truth which has some inevitability. Accordingly, they hold that the infinite circulation of practice, cognition, re-practice is the infinite approach to the absolute truth.

Viewed from Marxism, the limit of our approach to the objective, absolute truth is historically conditioned. However, the existence of this truth is unconditional, and our approach to it is also unconditional. (Lenin, Materialism and Critique of Experience)

The approach can be performed by the unity of struggle and opposition, that is, by subjectively working on the object and changing it (practice).

This has been the outline of epistemology based on the dialectical method of Marxism whose basic principle is the "unity of struggle and opposition."

Section D - The Basis of Epistemology by the Unification Principle

Against the background of the various epistemologies mentioned above which were advocated in the past, we suggest an epistemology by the law of give-and-take based on the Unification Principle. Before stating it, we shall state the basic standpoint of the Unification Principle in relation to epistemology.

1. Everything Is The Object Of Man's Pleasure

According to the Unification Principle, God created everything to be man's substantial object. The reason for this is that God wants to give us pleasure, and He thus created everything to be the objects of man's pleasure in order to make man happy. This in a nutshell, is the basic standpoint of the Unification Principle in relation to epistemology.

For all things to give pleasure to man means, in other words, that they satisfy man's desire. Then what is man's desire concerning cognition? It is his desire which seeks after value. Accordingly, in order to explain cognition, it is necessary to first clarify the true nature of this desire of man that seeks after value.

In order to understand the above-mentioned desire, from the standpoint of the Unification Principle, let us first classify the various desires of man.

Sung Sang Desire and Hyung Sang Desire -According to the Unification Principle, human beings consist of two parts, the physical man and the spirit man. (See Divine Principle, pp. 60-64). Accordingly there are two desires, that is, the desire of the physical man and the desire of the spirit man. The former is classified as the desire to maintain one's individual life, the desire for multiplication (sex) in order to maintain the family, and the desire to enjoy life through the five senses. These are, in short, the Hyung Sang desires. As for the desire of the spirit man, there is the desire to seek after values such as truth, goodness and beauty, and there is the desire for love. These latter are the Sung Sang desires.

While the Hyung Sang desires are for the maintenance and multiplication of the physical man, which is the basis for the growth of the spirit man, the Sung Sang desire is to become perfect in love (Heart) through the realization of the three great blessings (perfection of the individual, multiplication of children, and dominion over the creation) through the creation of the Four Position Foundation. The Sung Sang desire is also to live eternally in the spirit world, and to enjoy the fullness of God's love even after the death of the physical body. The desire concerning cognition is a Sung Sang desire.

Desire to Seek After Value and Desire to Realize Value-The Sung Sang desires are divided into the desire to seek after values such as truth, goodness and beauty and the desire to realize these values for others. These two desires come from the fact that man is in the position of being an object to God and in the position of subject to all things. Being in the position of object means that a human being should realize the values of truth, goodness and beauty, and by demonstrating them, please God or a higher level than just himself, e.g. family or nation (we refer to this as the whole). In other words from this creative purpose to bring joy to God or to the whole, comes the desire to realize value. On the other hand, for man to be in the position of subject toward all things means that a human being has the desire to demand the values of truth, goodness and beauty from all things. This is the desire to seek after value.

It is this desire that concerns cognition. We can not say that the desire to realize value has nothing to do with cognition. Because we need to act often in order to have cognition, or even to have joy (cognition) we sometimes try to realize values to serve the whole and to serve the individual.

The Purpose for the Whole and the Purpose for the Individual-Since human beings are connected bodies they not only have their own lives but also have a purpose to serve the whole (e.g. family, country and world). These two purposes have an inseparable relationship between them.

Therefore, there cannot be any purpose of the individual apart from the purpose of the whole, nor any purpose of the whole that does not include the purpose of the individual. (Divine Principle, p. 42)

Moreover, the purpose for the whole has a close relationship to the Sung Sang desire mentioned above and also to the desire to realize values; while the purpose for the individual has a close relationship to the Hyung Sang desire, and to the desire for seeking after value (See Section B of "Axiology").

Although man's cognition concerns all these human desires, it has an especially close relationship to the Sung Sang desire concerning truth, goodness and beauty. Furthermore, man's cognition is most important in relation to the value-seeking desires. These desires come from the fact that man is in the position of being the subject toward all things.

Pleasure in the Cognition of Value

Since man has this value-seeking desire, he feels pleasure and satisfaction in seeking all things and wants to see and know them further. It is because of this desire that cognition develops.

Then, what are the contents of this pleasure like? According to the Unification Principle, it is beauty that brings pleasure to the subject. (See Divine Principle, p. 42). As the essential quality of man is feeling (emotion), in order to express the content of pleasure very concisely we say that the "emotional force (stimuli) returned to the subject by the object", is beauty. (See Ibid., p. 48) However, truth which is an intellectual value, and goodness, which is a volitional value, can also give pleasure to the subject, just as beauty does.

For instance, human beings have a desire to know things simply for the sake of knowing them, not as the means for the satisfaction of any other desire. Man just wants to know, and feels pleasure if he knows successfully. We can refer to Socrates as a typical example of such a man. He loved (philos) to acquire wisdom (sophia), and felt the greatest pleasure in acting just as he knew. Thus the word of philosophy (philosophia) was born. Likewise, human beings also have the desire to feel pure pleasure by being good, and minds are moved and satisfied by the simple fact that man's act is good.

Thus man feels pleasure by realizing the values of truth, goodness and beauty and by having cognition of them. Such being the case, the real contents of the pleasure which he feels in all things are the values of truth, goodness and beauty, and his pleasure lies purely in his cognition of these values.

Thus, we arrive at the following conclusion. God created all things as objects to give pleasure to man; that is, as objects to make man feel or know the values of truth, goodness and beauty. This means that all things are objects of his cognition. But value composes the core of the contents of cognition, and the significance of value is that it brings pleasure to the subject. This is a fundamental aspect of the epistemological theory of the Unification Principle and the most important one for the establishment of Unification epistemology.

2. All Things Are Objects Of Man's Dominion (Control)

Dominion and Practice

Although it is a great pleasure for man to know all things or to receive the contents of truth, goodness and beauty, his pleasure is not confined to them alone. Marx says: "Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." (Marx, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy.) Thus it pleases man further to come into direct contact with all things, to love them or to realize his ideal in them.

According to the Unification Principle, this is called "dominion." just as the Bible reads, "And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." (Genesis 1: 2 8)

We believe that God created all things not only in order to let man feel pleasure in seeing them but also to let him have dominion over them.

What does dominion mean? It may also be called "control" or "subdual." Dominion relates to the will of the subject. It means that the subject moves and rules the object just as it wishes. Thus, to control, or in some cases, to change or manufacture the object-this is the meaning of dominion.

Then it seems that dominion has the same meaning that "Practice" does in Marxism. Practice means that the subject works on the object to change it in form or quality and to utilize it for the benefit of man (subject). If this is so, then to say that all things are objects of man's control, means that they are objects of practice. The only difference between control and practice is that the word "control" expresses the idea of subjectivity more clearly than "practice." Here then, is the fundamental ground for treating the problem of "practice" which is in an inseparable relationship with cognition.

Cognition and Practice

There is not practice without cognition. In the human body, the hands and legs are, as it were, the organs for practice, while the eyes and ears are used for cognition. Can our hands and legs work without the help of our eyes and ears? If we close our eyes and do not listen, then we can do nothing at all.

Likewise, cognition and practice can not be separated from each other. Practice is carried out while having feeling, sense or cognition, and cognition occurs while doing, moving or practicing. Always in cooperation with each other, cognition and practice form one inseparable circuit. It is necessary for us to grasp this fact clearly and firmly.

3. There Is Give-And-Take Action Between The Subject And Object

Lastly, let me touch on the give-and-take action between the subject and object. As mentioned above, this action is a very important movement in cognition, because cognition always concerns both the subject and object of cognition. Furthermore, cognition is just one special example of the many give-and-take actions between subjects and objects to which the Unification Principle refers.

Based on the above-mentioned three facts -- (1) all things are objects to man, the subject, (2) they are also objects of the dominion of man, and (3) there is always G-T action between the subject and object of cognition-the epistemology of the Unification Principle is established.

 Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Copyright Information
Tparents Home