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immanent/transcendent

douglas browning


Subject Philosophy » Metaphysics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631199991.1995.x


Extract

These terms are often used to mark the rather ordinary difference between being within something and being outside of it, but they are also employed in a more special and philosophical way to indicate both a separation and a connection between two subject matters, or entities. The Latin roots of the terms provide the basis for the ordinary usage: in + manere , to remain, and trans + scendere , to climb over. In the metaphysical application of this ordinary distinction the denomination of something as ‘transcendent’ typically carries with it the notion of its being higher or more exalted than that which it lies beyond, for example, in theological contexts it is often said that God transcends the world but seldom said that the world transcends God. The more special philosophical usage of the distinction may be expressed as follows: for any x and any y, x is immanent to y , if, and only if, x is either a proper part of y or a character (proper or inherent property) of y , whereas x is transcendent to y if, and only if (1) x is not immanent to y ; and (2) there is something z which is immanent to y such that z serves to refer to, signify, suggest, or otherwise indicate x . The additional notion of the transcendent as being higher or more exalted is seldom involved in this usage. The term ‘transcendent’ in either of the above usages should not be confused with ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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