The Fundamental Methods of Philosophizing - Ch. 3 "Evolution of Deductive Theory" by Jose Ortega y Gasset
Chapter 3 - Thinking and Being, or the Heavenly Twins
A New Mode of Encountering Being
Gasset beings chapter three by making the claim that philosophy is a particular way of the human person engaging with the Being of the universe. To discover a new philosophy, is at the same time to discover a new way of interacting with reality, a "new intellectual method." Method, here, is not used in the sense of just honing an already discovered mode of thinking, but rather to discover something qualitatively new. "A new idea of thinking is the discovery of a way of thinking radically different from those previously known, although it retains this or that part which it has in common with them. It is therefore equivalent to the discovery of a new 'faculty' in mankind, and it is to understand by 'thinking' a reality different from any previously known." And so differing philosophies are primarily a difference in mode of knowing, a difference in the grammar of philosophy, rather than in the specific contents of it. 1
Whatever mode of thinking a particular philosophy employs is ipso facto going to influence their conception of what Being is. This is important to discern in the study of philosophy. What is there mode of pursuit into the "problem of the Universe"? Some will tell you explicitly their method, while others it is implied in their work, though it is not a good sign if a consistent method is not even discernable implicitly. "... in order to understand a system of philosophy we must start by setting aside its dogmas and by trying to discover as precisely as possible just what that philosophy understands by 'thinking,' or to put it in terms of the vernacular, we have to find out 'what they are up to' in that philosophy."
For Leibnitz, who is one of the main focuses of this book, Gasset summarizes his method as, "to think it to prove." This is a phrase that he will continue to unpack at time goes on in the book. [It seems as though this phrase means that to philosophize to "think" in the highest Aristotelian sense, that is strict "scientific" demonstration, or in other words, to use universal and first principles to uncover truths implicit in things by necessity.]
1 - Ortega y Gasset, Jose. The Idea of Principle in Leibnitz and the Evolution of Deductive Theory. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1971). 20
2 - 21