Sponsored by the Centre of Idealism and New Liberalism:
Professor Giacomo Rinaldi
University of Urbino, Italy
In this paper Rinaldi will try, first of all, to outline the development of Joachim’s epistemology from his most significant book, The Nature of Truth (1906), to his posthumous Logical Studies (1948), which gather the lectures on Logic delivered by him at the University of Oxford in the years up to his death in 1938. The conception of truth as systematic coherence, upheld by Joachim in his earlier work in lively polemic against B. Russell’s empirical-realist “correspondence theory of truth” as well as against the intuitionist appeal to immediate self-evidence, shows the thorough-going influence of Francis H. Bradley’s epistemology owing to both its declaredly idealistic orientation and its “sceptical” outcome: the Absolute is a spiritual Whole, but our thought is unable to set out its content in true judgements because thought and truth themselves, not unlike nature and mind, are, in the final resort, nothing but unreal “appearances”. Rinaldi shall then criticize the arguments by which, in the final pages of The Nature of Truth, Joachim supports his denial of truth’s reality, pointing out that they are plainly self-refuting. Finally, Rinaldi shall examine the further development of Joachim’s conception of thought and truth in his Oxford lectures, where he subjects the above-mentioned arguments to a careful self-critique, whose outcome is an almost complete overcoming of scepticism, the recognition of the absolute identity of logic, truth and reality, and the consequent vindication of the possibility of metaphysical knowledge, thus paving the way to the attempt, consistently carried out by his pupil Errol E. Harris, to re-appraise and further develop Hegel’s metaphysics of Absolute Idealism.
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