The Metaphysics of Naturalism [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 21 (3):553-554 (1968)
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This collection of essays was originally designed as an anthology of Lamprecht's earlier articles. However, about one third of the essays collected here are new for this volume and serve to integrate the old essays so that the volume has become "a record of the course of his thought... and a kind of epilogue to his career of philosophical speculation." For Lamprecht, naturalism is a "philosophical position, empirical in method, that regards everything that exists or occurs to be conditioned in its existence or occurrence by causal factors within one all encompassing system of nature." The author seems to be uncomfortable in the face of extreme solutions to philosophic problems. He takes a mediating position between "determinacy and indeterminacy," "causality and contingency," the primacy of "subject-matter" and the primacy of "method." Lamprecht is at his best when exploring the implications of his theories rather than when defending them. His observations on freedom and necessity, the nature of man, the role of historiography in philosophy, and the question of religion bear a richness of insight that must be appreciated regardless of the reader's attitude toward the author's philosophical position.—S. O. H.



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