pt. 1. De dicto: Necessary and contingent truths, by G. W. Leibniz. New essays concerning human understanding, by G. W. Leibniz. Introduction to the critique of pure reason, by Immanuel Kant. On the nature of mathematical truth, C. G. Hempel. Two dogmas of empiricism, by W. V. O. Quine. In defense of a dogma, by H. P. Grace and P. F. Strawson. The a priori and the analytic, by A. Quinton. The truths of reason, by R. Chisholm.--pt. 2. De re: (...) Reference and modality, by W. V. O. Quine. De re et de dicto, by A. Plantinga. World and essence, by A. Plantinga.--Bibliography (p. 200-202). (shrink)
There is much scholarly disagreement with regard to the program of the Enlightenment. Something in the vicinity of agreement is achievable provided one remains suitably vague. I intend to take advantage of that. One item that seems to me characteristic of the Enlightenment is the general idea that human reason is the ultimate arbiter in all matters concerning warranted human belief—matters of religion included. And I have no doubt that Leibniz’s philosophizing properly understood, contributes to that general idea. In what (...) follows, I concentrate on some aspects of Leibniz’s thinking that seem to me especially relevant to this theme. (shrink)
Heidegger's book is both Kant's good fortune and ours; as a philosopher, Heidegger's treatment is guided by the thesis that ontology is founded on transcendental philosophy, and that it is prior to metaphysica specialis, i.e., cosmology, psychology, and theology. As a scholar, Heidegger finely dissects the Transcendental Analytic, arguing that man's finitude consists in the required cooperation of sensibility and understanding, both of which stem, as Kant intimated, from imagination; and time is of the essence of imagination. Heidegger's vigorous defense (...) of the Schematism is a superb example of imaginative philosophy and careful scholarship well blended. The translator lacks confidence in the English language, and often uses English merely as a clue to Heidegger's German. --R. C. N. (shrink)
With vast erudition, especially in German and French scholarship of the last century, Cassirer applies his theory of symbolic forms to problems of methodology in "culture-philosophy," including the interpretation of "things" versus "expression," the difference between "nature-concepts" and "culture-concepts," and the various meanings of "form" and "causality." Concluding with a chapter on the "Tragedy of Culture," he maintains that the dialectical tension between completed form and free expression can never be overcome, but that culture's vitality rests in the continual coping (...) with that tension.--R. C. N. (shrink)
A history of scepticism in religion as it has developed since the sixteenth century, treating specifically the anticlerical scepticism of Voltaire and the Philosophes, the background for this in the earlier celebrations of the advance of science and knowledge of non-European cultures, and the historicism and scientific relativism of the nineteenth century. The discussion is brought up to the present with the thesis that contemporary intellectuals are just as sceptical as their predecessors, but lack their positive faith in science and (...) progress. Unfortunately, Baumer neglects the story of religion's attempt to counter scepticism; his restrictive concept of religion also leads to a neglect of the "religious" character of scepticism.--R. C. N. (shrink)
The author interprets those facets of major American thinkers which resemble, lead to, or complement the insights of Zen; and if a pedantic scholar might quarrel with some of his readings, his own intention and insights are refreshing and provocative. Beginning with Jefferson, and passing through Thoreau, James, Peirce, Santayana, Dewey, and others, he traces the Zen-like themes to their most complete expression in G. M. Mead. In - their regard for non-dualism, participation, responsibility, dynamism, openness, concern for the "everyday," (...) compassion, zest, and being-at-one with self, others, and nature, Ames finds that Zen and American thought meet, and suggests that their differences can be mutually fertilizing. This gentle book is a success in a field too often plagued by non-conformist and cultish postures. --R. C. D. (shrink)
Brilliantly elaborating and defending his doctrine of "neoclassical metaphysics," for which reality is a process containing necessary, unchanging features as well as contingent particulars whose advent involves novelty, Hartshorne has contributed a work of permanent value to philosophical theology. The book contains a long defense of Anselm's ontological argument, interpreted in neoclassical terms. Hartshorne deals with some twenty standard objections, and argues that Anselm's proof is not that God must have the predicate "existence," but rather that perfection cannot be contingent. (...) The conclusion is that perfection is necessary, for otherwise it is meaningless. The other chapters are largely drawn from previously published papers, and lack unity, though they cast additional light on neoclassical metaphysics.--R. C. N. (shrink)
It is unfortunate in this time when so little Scotus is available in English that Wolter uses the dear space of this volume to produce material available elsewhere: his own translation of "Man's Natural Knowledge of God", and McKeon's translation of "Concerning Human Knowledge". He also includes a long section from the Oxford Commentary on the existence of God, much of which is paralleled in De Primo Principio, available in English. But the selection Wolter does make, including material on metaphysics, (...) the unicity of God, and the soul, is well balanced and makes an excellent introduction to Scotus' thought. The fine, imaginative translation faces the Latin text. It is to be hoped that this useful volume will stimulate interest in translating Balic's critical edition, now in the making.--R. C. N. (shrink)
The book is subtitled "An Approach to Sanity and Happiness on a Non-Sectarian Basis," and is a personal meditation and discourse on the appeal of the Zen outlook. The author wishes not only to exhibit the sense of Zen, but also to contribute to the erosion of fossilized Western prejudices. The criticisms are gentle; the style manifests wu-wei.--R. C. D.
Developed from the author's own explorations as a poet and novelist, from the classics of European existential philosophy, and from the "positive existentialism" of Nicola Abbagnano, this work presents a creative and careful integration of divergent strands in contemporary philosophy. Invrea contributes an original discussion of the complementary characteristics of subjective existence--"situationality" and temporality. This study displays the vigor and seriousness of the Italian existentialists.--R. C. D.
The chosen subject for this volume is "Philosophy and Psychiatry," and most of the contributors deal with it. Charles Hartshorne's article on Whitehead, Rudolf Aller's on Ontoanalysis, and Bernard Boelen's on "Human Development and Fixations in Moral Life" are engaging and rich contributions. The influence of Husserl, deWaelhens, and Binswanger is considerable, and is rendered quite compatible with the Thomisitic point of view. --R. C. D.
From sermons and polemical treatises, Newlin traces the intellectual climate that engendered the Great Awakening of the 1740's and the subsequent drawing of theological lines. Philosophical writings of Samuel Johnson, in the liberal line, and of Jonathan Edwards, in the Orthodox Calvinist line, are adroitly compared, the bulk of the treatment going to Edwards. Of special interest is the influence of Peter Ramus on the Puritan intellectual community. --R. C. N.
The history of philosophy has been unkind to philosophers who lived after Ockham and before Descartes, and Randall's great work here does much to make amends. With rare scholarship, he traces the outworking of the Medieval themes of neo-Platonism, Aristotelianism, and Ockhamite nominalism through the later Scholastics and early Italian Renaissance thinkers to their issue in the fathers of modern science. Then he traces the assimilation of those themes into the 17th century systems which posed the problems still in the (...) center today. His discussion of the following periods takes into account ethics and psychology as well as the relation between reason and science which dominated his earlier discussion; Randall is at his best in his comparative development of themes rather than in simple exposition of those modern thinkers who have received more detailed and careful treatment in extensive commentaries.--R. C. N. (shrink)
The central theme of this book concerns the structure of narratives and the analysis of a special class of narrative sentences. This seemingly specialized technical job has surprisingly broad and fruitful application. In the course of a single connected argument the author manages to throw light on a wide range of problems that have puzzled philosophical students of history including the relation between speculative philosophy of history and history proper, the verification of statements about the past, the alleged relativism of (...) historical interpretation, the distinction between "history" and "chronicle," the nature of historical explanation, and the debate about methodological individualism. The argument also draws upon and contributes to discussions dealing with some broader issues generally carried on outside the context of the philosophy of history such as the logic of temporal language and the problem of future contingencies. The approach is fresh and exciting, the style both clear and lively.—R. C. S. (shrink)
A treatment of the historical and theological background of the Lutheran tradition from its beginning to the present day, presented in a fine combination of scholarship and popular style. Roughly a third of the book treats of Luther, the issues he faced and the development of the tradition in Europe; the second third is devoted to the Lutheran movement in America; and the last part deals with the present state of the Lutheran churches. The topics chosen and the techniques used (...) strike a fine balance.--R. C. N. (shrink)
Harris traces Gentile's philosophy of "actual idealism" from its roots in Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and the Italian idealist Bertrando Spaventa to its outworking in Italian fascism. Gentile's theory of the individual and the state is presented by an extensive analysis of his educational theory and his attempts to implement it in fascist Italy. Gentile's thought is weighed, as it deserves to be, for its philosophic merit. An extensive bibliography is included. This is a fine study of Gentile's thought, carefully and (...) sympathetically presented and judiciously criticized.--R. C. N. (shrink)
Existential analysis, according to Binswanger, is not a psychopathology, and is not necessarily therapeutic; it is not founded upon the medical standards of "sick" and "healthy." The eight writers in this volume illustrate that the suspension of such norms widens and deepens the field of philosophical anthropology, and hold that we may talk meaningfully about the "human condition." Taking "alienation" as an aspect of that condition, four of the authors explore some of its manifestations and its place in the totality (...) of experience. As a whole, the volume is bold and engaging, and balances scholarly rigor with adventurous speculation.--R. C. D. (shrink)
In far and away the best critical review of analysis to date, Blanshard examines in great detail both positivism and linguistic analysis, giving an historical treatment where possible. Logical atomism, the twists and turns of the verifiability criterion of meaning, and the analytic theory of a priori knowledge are subjected to patient and exhausting criticism and found wanting in nearly every particular. He finds all the distinctive views of linguistic analysis to be in the wrong. The discussion of "clear thinkers" (...) is best, that of Wittgenstein less good. Finally, Blanshard gives the recurrent themes of universals and necessity a positive treatment, elaborating and defending the position of The Nature of Thought against recent criticisms.--R. C. N. (shrink)
In this volume are collected sixteen previously-published essays dealing with sociology's peculiarity as a science, and with such general problems in sociological thinking as ideology, technology, culture, and the search for community. Ferrarotti's guiding principle is that truth is "intersubjective reality," and his goal is "to accept the other man as man" and thus to "guarantee the opening towards existential involvement with the truth-truth as participation."--R. C. D.
An exposition and defense of the sociology of knowledge, i.e., "the ideational factors compelling men to act." Horowitz holds that the sociology of knowledge has now shed its metaphysical inheritance and assumed the status of a science.--R. C. N.
A readable and popular history of the Middle Ages from a Protestant perspective, approached primarily through studies of key personal figures. Although the history is detailed, the philosophical comments are not subtle; e.g., that Anselm's ontological argument "is obviously defective, for a definition of terms need not be a statement of fact".--R. C. N.
A new edition containing slight revisions and new appendices extending the debates opened in the original book. Drawing on a comprehensive knowledge of ancient texts and recent research, Merlan argues for a tighter connection between Platonism and Neoplatonism. Heracleides, Hermodorus, Iamblichus, Posidonius, Speusippus, and Xenocrates are all carefully treated.--R. C. N.
A fine collection of forty four essays and reviews, manifesting Cohen's thorough-going scholarship and vigorous approach to three areas: the philosophy of ethics and law, the social and legal status of the American Indian, and the philosophy of American Democracy. Cohen possessed the rare combination of abstract philosophical acumen and the ability to put his thought into practice. The major theme of the collection is at once an attack on "transcendental nonsense" and a defense of "the functional approach." A bibliography (...) of Cohen's work is included.--R. C. N. (shrink)
A condensed, richly annotated and documented collection of essays interpreting Aristotle as a doxographer and historian of philosophy who presents his predecessors faithfully and accurately. Though exceedingly scholarly, the book is written with a fine sensitivity for those Aristotelian questions which truly belong to our age; a chapter on the meaning of physis deals critically with Heidegger's reading of the Stagirite, and another reviews recent inquiries into Aristotelian "dialectic."--R. C. D.
It is usually believed that the spiritual and physical aspects of existence are tightly integrated in Judaism, but Adler claims that they are as widely separated as they are in Greek thought. Employing this dichotomy, Adler attempts to show how Judaism enables us to be spiritually creative in a physical world governed by law. His discussion is intelligent and acute, sustained by a religious reformer's zeal.--R. C. N.
A treatment of act and being illustrating the general claim that the problems of philosophy can be answered only by a revelational theology. Beginning with a slapdash treatment of transcendental philosophy and its idealistic outgrowths, as well as phenomenological and existential ontologies, supposedly showing the necessary impasses of philosophy when left to its own devices, Bonhoeffer moves to a treatment of the being and act both of God's revelation per se and of the men to whom God is revealed. Man (...) "in Adam" cannot resolve his act and being into unity; man "in Christ" can.--R. C. N. (shrink)
Blanshard analyzes and criticizes contemporary ethical theories including those of Moore and Ross, Perry, Dewey, the emotivists, and recent linguistic philosophers. Goodness can be understood only against the background of human life, and has the dual character of satisfaction and fulfillment. There are many kinds of intrinsic goods, but Reason threads its way throughout, arbitrating claims upon our attention and seeking out the type of life which is most satisfying and fulfilling. Written in Blanshard's distinctively urbane style, this book balances (...) synoptic vision with systematic analysis.--R. C. N. (shrink)
A memorial collection of essays with a bibliography of Pratt's works, a biography by the editor, and some personal notes by W. E. Hocking. Of special interest are Myers' paper on the self and introspection, Kaufmann's provocative, if heated, criticism of theologians for defending their traditions, and R. W. Sellars' commentary on the history of American Realism.--R. C. N.
The first book offers an interesting discussion of types of rhythmic patterns in real time and the relation of these to theatrical drama. The second book is a text on the timing of three play forms, drama, comedy, and tragedy, based on the theory expounded earlier. Though traditional problems concerning time are glossed over, the discussions contain many worthwhile insights.--R. C. N.
This collection of papers written in the last 30 years illustrates Bainton's rare combination of detailed scholarship and witty, urbane style. Although the level of generality is uneven, with an essay on the origin of date for Epiphany following a study of the ideas of history in Patristic Christianity, certain common themes unify the collection: philosophy of history, attitudes toward scholarship, the interplay of secular, moral, and pious interests, and the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Reformation. (...) The title is a bit misleading, since only four of the essays treat periods prior to the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. A selected bibliography of Bainton's works is included.--R. C. N. (shrink)