Modern Science and Human Values: A Study in the History of Ideas

Review of Metaphysics 10 (4):719-719 (1957)

The author holds that the enduring achievement of the modern mind is the recognition of a sharp distinction between fact and value; this work is a history of that distinction. In separate sections devoted to the history of scientific method and the history of value theory, Hall covers the ground from the medieval period to the present. His conclusion strikes a pessimistic note; modernity, after distinguishing fact and value, has had marvelous success with the former but is in danger of losing the latter altogether. Towards resolution of this difficulty, he suggests, with tantalizing brevity and obscurity, that though value statements may be emotive, we may perhaps regard emotion as a genuinely cognitive state somehow putting us in touch with real features of the world. While he writes with a pleasant down-to-earth directness, Hall never makes clear precisely what this basic cleavage between fact and value amounts to. And his history, though illuminating, is not always well-balanced; Kant as a value theorist, gets less space than either Locke or Machiavelli and only a third as much as Hobbes. Yet the book as a whole is stimulating, lively, and important.--A. C. P.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632  
DOI revmetaph1957104161
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