The World Vision of Revolutionary Independency

  • Andrew Milner


We have already noted that Goldmann’s sociology of literature has, as one of its main aims, the establishment of an ideal typology of possible world visions, and we have rejected the formalistic implications of such a typology. Nonetheless, it remains possible to retain Goldmann’s central categories, on the condition that we understand the world vision as a concrete form of consciousness, rather than as a formal maximum possible consciousness. Goldmann points to the existence of five main world visions which have dominated human thought since the break-up of feudalism: dogmatic rationalism, sceptical empiricism, the tragic vision, dialectical idealism, and dialectical materialism.1 What primarily concerns us here are the two main world visions of classical bourgeois thought, the rationalist and the empiricist. In a sense both rationalism and empiricism form part of a wider world vision, that of bourgeois individualism, in that they each posit as their central category the isolated individual; this is as true of Locke and Hume as it is of Descartes and Leibniz. But whereas rationalism constructed a system of universal mathematics, of logical necessities, empiricism based itself, much more pragmatically, on the observed contingencies of the sensible world.


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© Andrew Milner 1981

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  • Andrew Milner

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