‘Essays Towards A Theory Of Knowledge’ By Alexander Philip

Alexander Philip was, apparently, a Scottish lawyer with a penchant for philosophizing and a minor fame incurred by his theories and advocacy of calendar reform.

At first I was surprised by his quotations from interesting but lesser French thinkers like Diderot and Taine, but it soon became he was the sort of nutty dilettante who would merge Kantian with Viennese thinkers like Mach, so why not treat Diderot as a leading epistemologist if you’ve decided to go that route.

I was actually okay with his incorporation of action into time as a way of understanding periodicity and his idea of physical engagement with experience/sensation replacing Kantian categories as a necessary mediator, but when he rambles about energy, it is clear he read an Edinburgh Review article about the new fangled physics and got way ahead of himself.

He also manages to set upon a theory of consciousness that smacks of a reductive materialism without giving up on a more religious/spiritual idea of consciousness, which is possible if you work hard to not think about it too much.

And he has a wonderfully anachronistic habit of capitalizing words that don’t need to be, like Energy and Presentment (which, in my head, I always pronounce as if it were French, which makes it seem hella cooler).

Also, have I read this before? If so, that’s the second time that has happened to me lately. I actually think that I read another philosophical tract of his (which he references, refuting, he thinks, some critiques of it), but I can’t be sure.