The fifteen essays which comprise this book are unified by an unmistakable philosophical voice, and addressed to an interlocking set of concepts: cause, law, event, action, feeling, freedom, and intention. Collectively they trace the loops and bights of the Welt-Knotte, where the physical and the psychological orders tie. But the book is more than a collection of bright inter-referential papers by a clever man, and its existence is justified by something greater than the value of having them bound conveniently together. (...) For it can be read as a kind of journal metaphysique, with advances and reversals, where early theses can be retained only by dialectical modification, and intuitions retained at the cost of sacrificing intuitions, and a kind of relentless will-to-system can be perceived coming to self-consciousness through the medium of invited papers to the routine conferences and symposia of academic philosophical life. What we have in the end is thinking, rather than specimens of thought. (shrink)
A popular but intelligent and readable examination of Marxist communism. The author holds that communism can best be seen as a religious response to the problem of evil; the many analogies he finds between communist and Christian doctrine bear him out.--A. C. P.
A course of lectures delivered at Cambridge in the summer of 1953. They include pieces by Moore, Broad, and Ryle. Körner's "Some Types of Philosophical Thinking" and Ryle's "The Theory of Meaning" are especially stimulating; the book as a whole presents an absorbing picture of contemporary British philosophy.--A. C. P.
The outgrowth of an introductory course in western religion at Dartmouth College, in which the editors provide useful historical and factual introductions, paragraph biographies, and bibliographies for additional reading.--A. C.
A series of essays by a group of French Catholic teachers and scholars, roughly half of which deal with the history of Christian asceticism. The remainder are addressed to theological and sociological questions concerning ascetic practice.--A. C. P.
A systematic statement and defence of an evangelical Christian ethics. Despite the length of the book, many crucial topics--e.g., contemporary alternatives to a theistic ethics--receive only superficial consideration--A. C. P.
Bultmann's "demythologizing," according to Mr. Davis, consists in stripping away the non-historical elements of the Bible in order to lay bare the kernel of "existential meaning" embedded in the events about which the myths arose. Mr. Davis is lucid about what Bultmann does not believe; his account of the "existential meaning" which is to replace "discredited mythology" is both sketchy and puzzling.-- A. C. P.
A collection of ten essays and addresses, all but one of which have been published previously. Among them is a fascinating essay showing that Jonathan Edwards consciously developed his homilectical methods in terms of Locke's psychology and epistemology. These pieces constitute "a rank of spotlights on the massive narrative of the movement of the European culture into the vacant wilderness of America"; each is prefaced by a newly written introduction indicating its relevance to the unifying theme of the volume, viz., (...) "the obsessive American drama: nature vs. civilization." It is this attempt to civilize nature that constitutes the "errand into the wilderness." The volume is dominated throughout by Miller's conviction that intellectual history is as crucial to the understanding of a nation or a culture as is social or economic history; and the illumination which the essays actually afford is compelling evidence for his conviction.--A. C. P. (shrink)
The thesis of this essay in philosophical analysis is that ethical words are used referentially, that for the most part they have a single unitary sense, and that they refer to whatever is "happy-making" or satisfying. The author supports this conclusion by means of detailed refutations of some of the criticisms brought against naturalism, paying special attention to the "naturalistic fallacy" argument as developed by Moore, Ewing and the contemporary non-cognitivists. He concludes that philosophical analysis ought to reject the "method (...) of introspection" in favor of inductive inquiries into the ways in which as a matter of fact people use ethical words.--A. C. P. (shrink)
Describes the attempt of a medium "to bring the facts of other-world existence to the people of Mars." Giordano Bruno appears as one of a band of interplanetary spirits conducting the medium on her tour.--A. C. P.
This powerful study of freedom is the first volume of a new edition of Edwards' work under the general editorship of Perry Miller. The editors intend to publish the manuscript material as well as the printed works. This volume is handsome and well printed; Ramsey contributes a solid introduction outlining Edwards' argument and the relation of his thought to Locke, Berkeley, and Leibniz.--A. C. P.
A series of inspirational essays dictated to the author by a higher intelligence from the spirit world. Much of the advice seems fairly sound--e.g., "Be true to the best," Make room for important things," "Relax."--A.C.P.
A full and systematic exposition of the teachings of a thinker who has been hailed as the Avatar of our time. He describes the odyssey of the soul from its creation through its "evolution and involution of consciousness" to its eventual return into the Oversoul. The book is somewhat repetitive, and the profusion of Indian terms together with a certain incoherence make it hard going for the uninitiated--A. C. P.
A preliminary sketch of a philosophy of history together with an account of certain phases in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman history. Though the book is interesting and well written, it is impossible to tell whether the chapter on philosophy is to serve as a preface to the following three historical chapters, or whether these chapters are meant to illustrate and elucidate the embryonic philosophy outlined in the first.--A. C. P.
A lecture by an eminent biologist in which the crucial problem of contemporary biology and psychology is identified as the problem of the nature of mind. Sinnott's suggestion--that the solution lies in "a fundamental identification of life and mind"--is interesting and provocative, but he attempts a bit too much for the space at his disposal.--A. C. P.
This book claims to be an attempt to present semantics to the general public. "Semantics," however, turns out to be a general rubric for some of the logical doctrines of recent ordinary language philosophy. Oversimplification leads Wilson to present as the discovery of modern "semantics" an extraordinarily naive linguistic subjectivism.--A. C. P.
A sequel to Nineteenth Century Studies, this book is a series of well-documented studies of several Victorian religious liberals--among them Tennyson, John Morley, and Francis Newman. Willey's theme is the religious disillusionment suffered by Victorian intellectuals; he sees as its cause the application of the techniques of historical scholarship to religion. Since the book is largely biographical, there is little consideration of the issues involved on their own accounts; but as a gallery of intellectual portraits, it is first-rate--sympathetic, sensitive, perceptive.--A. (...) C. P. (shrink)
An essay in metaphysics together with an essay in metametaphysics. The latter repeats the familiar charge that metaphysical statements are literally meaningless; the former tells us what the author would hold "if metaphysics had a bearing on reality." Neither is impressive.--A. C. P.
A fairly popular examination of the modern "impasse" between religion and science. Smethurst holds that science and religion cannot ultimately conflict because modern science depends upon certain presuppositions which make sense only within a Christian Weltanschauung, and scientific knowledge, despite its indisputable power, is in an important sense, "abstract" and therefore limited. Though much of what the author has to say is stimulating, it is also oversimplified; the book attempts a great deal but is only partially successful.--A. C. P.
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. (shrink)
The author believes that sociology will progress only if it adopts "a logic in which substantialism tends to become functionalized." The book is repetitious and of only mild philosophical interest.--A. C. P.
A sober and careful formulation of a realistic--as opposed to a phenomenalistic--theory of knowledge. Chisholm's discussion of the "sense-datum fallacy" and of "empiricism" are especially enlightening, as is the way in which he calls attention to revealing analogies between problems in moral theory and problems in epistemology.--A. C. P.
A collection of previously published essays and addresses on New Testament topics. Though these pieces are distinctly theological rather than philosophical, the studies of Bultmann and Dibelius should be of interest to some philosophers.--A. C. P.
An unpleasantly dogmatic presentation of contemporary Marxist philosophy. Though his explanation of Marxism may be competent, some of the author's interpretations of other philosophies are merely amusing: e.g., the reason positivists hold a non-necessitarian view of causation is that "...then clearly socialism is not inevitable... a boon for an imperialism plunging dizzily toward its destruction."--A. C. P.
An extended but fairly elementary argument for traditional theism. Distinguished neither for originality nor for analytical power, the book has an uncomplicated smoothness which ought to appeal to the beginner.--A.C.P.