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As a man without forethought scarcely deserves the name of a man, so forethought without reflection is but a metaphorical... Options
Daemon
Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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As a man without forethought scarcely deserves the name of a man, so forethought without reflection is but a metaphorical phrase for the instinct of a beast.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Swami108
Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 2:50:21 AM

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What does 'reflection' signify here?

Never hide your foolishness from a teacher, and a doctor.
MTC
Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 8:51:14 AM
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Coleridge seems to have had in mind certain attributes that he believed separated men from "beasts." Of course, he was speaking form a nineteenth century, pre-Darwinian point of view. Is forethought or planning a uniquely human characteristic? Perhaps not according to a recent scientific study that found apes plan. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309121931.htm And are humans without instinct? No, again.

What about Coleridge's disctinction between forethought and reflection? These words mean essentially the same thing--careful consideration-- except that forethought applies exclusively to thinking about the future while reflection applies to thinking about the present or the past. Forethought and reflection are separate in that respect. Therefore, it makes no sense to speak of "forethought without reflection." Nor does it make sense to equate "foresight without reflection" to instinct. Instinctive action is action based on biological programming without conscious thought.

Coleridge was brilliant, but he was not always correct.
thomasanswered
Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 10:00:09 AM

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MTC wrote:
Coleridge was brilliant, but he was not always correct.


He certainly could have been solicitous about his words, as your post demonstrates. I would point out, too, that his language implies a beast-class of the population, in which one may, according to Coleridge's thinking, place anyone who fails to be a man according to his proposition. Though in general there is a list of names one associates with the promotion of the idea of the Untermensch, really one can see this in every quarter, in poets as well as at the post office, as almost everyone uses some criterion to determine who in society is less than fully human, which is to say, "less than I am".

Hitler and Wagner weren't the only ones.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 10:09:24 AM
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"As a man without forethought scarcely deserves the name of a man, so forethought without reflection is but a metaphorical phrase for the instinct of a beast." Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

I wonder if Coleridge meant that "reflection" is the reflecting upon the consequence of a considered action before one takes that action.
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