Readings in the Philosophy of Man [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 21 (2):390-390 (1967)

Twenty-nine philosophers from Plato to William Luijpen are represented by selections varying from three to twenty-two pages in length. The selections and their proportions are simply too idiosyncratic. Why should Stephen Strasser get twenty-two pages while Plato, Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume manage only twenty-nine total pages among the four of them? Most of the classical philosophers are represented by mere snippets; Kant is high man with fifteen pages of text—and even these are broken up into seven sections. The issue is not simply number of pages: after all, Leibniz' Monadology would have fit in less space than that accorded to John Peters. This is not to denigrate Peters, who was an exceptionally good philosopher; but the beginning student should be exposed to Leibniz, Hegel, and Marx before he is exposed to Peters. Or he should at least be exposed to Smart, Feigl, or some other contemporary naturalistic viewpoint along with Peters, Teilhard de Chardin, and Merleau-Ponty. How, for example, can one begin to appreciate the task Merleau-Ponty has set for himself in philosophical psychology unless one has become familiar with the behavioristic and reductionistic positions Merleau-Ponty is defining himself over and against? The bibliographies in the first part of the book are inadequate.—E. A. R.
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DOI revmetaph1967212321
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