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philosophy of as if

the system espoused by Hans Vaihinger in his major philosophical work Die Philosophie des Als Ob (1911; The Philosophy of "As If"), which proposed that man willingly accept falsehoods or fictions in order to live peacefully in an irrational world. Vaihinger, who saw life as a maze of contradictions and philosophy as a search for means to make life livable, began by accepting Immanuel Kant's view that knowledge is limited to phenomena and cannot reach to things-in-themselves. In order to survive, man must use his will to construct fictional explanations of phenomena "as if " there were rational grounds for believing that such a method reflects reality. Logical contradictions were simply disregarded. Thus in physics, man must proceed "as if " a material world exists independently of perceiving subjects; in behaviour, he must act "as if " ethical certainty were possible; in religion, he must believe "as if " there were a God.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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