Eleven essays, on a variety of topics, most of them first given as lectures or published in periodicals and Festschriften. This is "late" Heidegger --alternately brilliant and mystifying, provocative and exasperating, at least to the uninitiated. Perhaps the best pieces in the book are the three which discuss passages in pre-Socratic philosophers--here, familiar texts are given fresh, if unorthodox, interpretations, and are made to suggest philosophical conclusions of remarkable subtlety and scope. --V. C. C.
A reprint, in two paper-bound volumes, of a standard student text, first published in 1934. The new edition is both cheaper and easier to handle than the original, and thus is even better suited to student use.--V. C. C.
Reprints a useful, non-technical statement of Reichenbach's mature thought, combining an unconvincing survey of speculative philosophy and its "failure," with a concise account of the results of a philosophy carried out "scientifically." The original appeared in 1951.--V. C. C.
An English version of a work which has attracted wide attention since its publication in France some 15 years ago. It represents an effort to face and to resolve a problem implicit in much so-called "existential" thinking and writing, the problem of suicide: does not the existential recognition of the absurdity of life compel one to leave it? M. Camus' argument is often hard to follow, but his answer is plain: suicide is not justified, even though absurdity is inevitable; the (...) proper response to absurdity, indeed, is just the affirmation of life. We must, like Sisyphus, continue to struggle, even though the struggle nought availeth; "One must," concludes M. Camus, "imagine Sisyphus happy." The five short pieces which accompany the title essay in this volume include some examples of what M. Camus probably does best--intense evocations of the North African landscape and mood.--V. C. C. (shrink)
Alberti's Della pittura was the first, and in many ways the most important, of the Renaissance treatises on painting, elaborating as it does the theoretical backgrounds of the influential new art of 15th-century Florence. This edition presents the work with distinction. The translation--the first in English since 1755--is based upon the known manuscript sources, and has been provided with a helpful introduction and notes. Diagrams serve to clarify Alberti's accounts of perspective. --V. C. C.
A collection of six essays, including three previously unpublished papers entitled, "Methods of Philosophy," "The Nature of Value," and "The Metaphysical Concept of Space." The target in each case is the whole of technical philosophy; the thesis to be defended is the claim that its separate divisions represent no more than "linguistically contrived intellectual illusions." Along the way, it is argued that the traditional retreat from speculative metaphysics to philosophical analysis is to no avail, for it is claimed that since (...) all philosophy is of a piece, all its parts and methods stand or fall together. We are offered, therefore, the following dual thesis which is both surprising and unique: Philosophy is an ordered whole in structure and method, but the products of philosophical reflection embody nothing more than snares, delusions, and unproductive disputation.—C. V. (shrink)
The original French edition of this book has won a number of literary prizes, and been extravagantly praised. Its theme is man's changing conceptions of, and attitudes towards, time and the experience of time in its various aspects, as revealed in the writings of French poets, essayists, dramatists, and novelists from Montaigne to Proust. M. Poulet's analyses are imaginative and subtle, and his transitions from point to point are often breathtaking in their brilliance; the book's scope and sweep, too, are (...) impressive, as an author or age is summarized in a few terse yet highly packed phrases. Prosaically-minded philosophers interested in conceptual clarity may find such phrases difficult to unpack, but the book's literary virtues outweigh its purely philosophical deficiencies; as a piece of literary literary criticism its impact is considerable. --V. C. C. (shrink)
A survey of the practices and problems of American teachers of philosophy, based upon nearly 350 answers to a comprehensive questionnaire covering courses, curriculum problems, class preparation, grading, professional ethics, and advancement. The report is liberally sprinkled with direct quotations.--V. C. C.
A Sartre sampler, showing the range of its author's interests as well as the subtlety and inventiveness of his thinking. Most of the "literary" essays--seven short pieces on individual authors and books--have a decidedly philosophical turn despite their disjointedness; a discussion of The Sound and the Fury, e.g., becomes an examination of Faulkner's "metaphysics of time." The three philosophical pieces, including the anti-Marxist "Materialism and Revolution," are longer and more systematic. There are also three essays on America, arising out of (...) Sartre's 1945 visit, which are perceptive, fresh, and sometimes profound.--V. C. C. (shrink)
An extended polemic, couched in familiar and fairly naive terms, against "faith, myth and superstition." Chance, the author argues, and the physical processes of which it is the dominant feature, form "the guiding principle for our lives."--V. C. C.
Though intended as an introductory textbook of Thomistic metaphysics, this work offers a fairly detailed treatment of a number of important problems, presented in systematic and well-ordered fashion. Father Klubertanz rejects the a priori procedure of some recent Thomists, and endeavors to reconstruct the Thomistic synthesis by beginning with immediate sense experience. This and other "departures from systematized Thomism" give the book a certain originality, and raise it somewhat above the usual textbook level.--V. C. C.
A brief survey of topics having to do in some way with "time," in a number of that term's myriad senses. There are chapters on "lived" time, the times of physics and history, and the relation of time and eternity. M. Pucelle's writing is lively, and his discussions are frequently illuminating, despite their extreme brevity and, at times, over-generality.--V. C. C.
An effective demonstration that the techniques of Oxford analysis can be put to constructive as well as to critical philosophic use. Mr. Geach considers a number of connected topics--among them the nature and formation of concepts, judgment, and sensation--advancing positive theses while rejecting views he holds to be false. He is particularly opposed to the "abstractionist" doctrine of concept formation. Concepts, he holds, are not capacities for recognizing recurrent features in experience, but "mental abilities, exercised in acts of judgment, and (...) expressed in the intelligent use of words," though not, he adds, "exclusively in such use." Despite the connections among the topics dealt with, the book remains somewhat episodic, and many of its points are sketched or suggested only, rather than fully developed. But Mr. Geach's arguments are elegant, and what is worked out is compelling. One curious feature of the book is its frequent citation of St. Thomas Aquinas--Mr. Geach seems as anxious to be on the side of the Angelic Doctor as he is to be in tune with Wittgenstein.--V. C. C. (shrink)
Two-thirds of this book are devoted to an examination of the variants in "the" Christian attitude towards sex, from the "essentially positive" Biblical view, through its replacement by the negative views of the early Church Fathers, influenced by Hellenistic dualisms, to the positions of certain contemporary theologians, both Catholic and Protestant. The book's concluding section makes a strong case against the rigidity and artificiality of much modern theological thinking about sex, and urges, on the basis of the discoveries of psychoanalysts (...) as well as of good sense, a return to a naturalism more in keeping with the Biblical spirit. Mr. Cole's writing is graceful and sensitive, his points generally sound and well taken, and his arguments compelling. --V. C. C. (shrink)
The first English translation of one of Berdyaev's earliest works, but one which he himself regarded as containing in germ the philosophical ideas fundamental to his later thinking. It begins by defining philosophy as "a creative activity," and goes on to develop the central notion of creativity with reference to Redemption, Being, Freedom, Sex, Morals, Society, Mysticism, etc. The writing itself is "creative" rather than "systematic"; though always stimulating, its enthusiasm sometimes makes the argument hard to follow. The translation is (...) smooth and readable.--V. C. C. (shrink)
Eight short papers, semi-popular in intent, surveying British philosophy from Bradley, through Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein, to the contemporary analysis of Ryle and Austin. Coverage is spotty, and some of the treatments are so brief and sketchy as to be of dubious value. Ryle's introduction, however, and concluding papers by Strawson and Warnock are both pleasant and instructive.--V. C. C.
An examination of the role of the humanities in American college education, carried out with vigor and sound common sense. Mr. Greene's conclusions are familiar but not commonplace, and his defense of them is eloquent. --V. C. C.
Five essays, all of them previously published in English but here brought together for the first time, consisting of delightfully overstated--and therefore highly stimulating--observations on art and letters.--V. C. C.
An attempt to account for the shift in Plato's ethical views from the Socratic ideal of personal decision in the early Dialogues to the institutionalized morality of the Laws. The author's interpretations are fresh and illuminating, and his central thesis--that the shift in Plato's view is a function of a growing attention to the conditions, social and natural, imposed upon moral man by the actual world--is well-supported. One of the best features of Mr. Gould's work is his attempt to recover (...) something like the original senses of crucial Platonic terms. He is able to make much better sense of the Socratic "virtue is knowledge," for example, by interpreting, with considerable justification, ἐπιστήμη as technique rather than science, as a species of "knowing how" rather than of "knowing that."--V. C. C. (shrink)
A reprint, intended for student use. Despite the repudiation by some of the contributors of their articles after editing, the work as a whole has some value, and some of the pieces are distinguished.--V. C. C.
An original and independent treatment of epistemology's central question--that concerning the relation between the mind and its objects. The author's answer is that of naive realism: the mind is a spectator of its objects, and the objects themselves are real and independent of it and its activity. The classical objections to such a view are examined forthrightly and yet with care; error, e.g., appears as a function of the unclarity with which some objects are apprehended rather than as evidence that (...) all objects are fictions. Professor Earle is quite willing to spell out the somewhat startling ontological consequences of his view; since whatever is an object of consciousness is real and independent, illusions differ from, say, material objects, not as non-being differs from being, but as one kind of being differs from another. The result is a contribution to metaphysics as well as to epistemology, and its conclusions in both areas are fresh and important. Part of Chapter I first appeared in this Review, VIII, 211-24.--V. C. C. (shrink)
A hard-cover reprint of Royce's "Essay in the Form of Lectures." Royce discusses modern philosophy both historically, by describing the views of some of its chief figures--mainly Germans of the nineteenth century--and systematically, in terms of some of its central ideas--e.g., evolution, freedom, and the reality-ideality dichotomy. The result is both a survey of modern thought and an introduction to the thought of Royce.--V. C. C.
The essays which comprise this book represent a series of earnest attempts to understand the nature of metaphysical utterances, and to account for their "abiding fascination" for the human intellect. Arguing on the basis of the familiar distinction of the logical empiricists, the author maintains that metaphysical statements are neither empirical nor a priori; but neither are they, thereby, merely verbal or utterly nonsensical, as the older positivism held. They are, rather, "linguistic innovations," made for the ultimate purpose of satisfying (...) some unconscious need or desire. Metaphysical sentences actually denote "the unconscious contents of our minds," and the metaphysician's belief that he is announcing a theory about the world or reality is strictly an illusion, "produced by altering [at a pre-conscious level] the use of a word or expression." Professor Lazerowitz is somewhat limited in his understanding of metaphysics by his positivistic assumptions. Most metaphysicians would claim that they assert necessary propositions saying something about the real--including the empirical--world. Failure to recognize even the possibility of such propositions makes much of Professor Lazerowitz's account seem irrelevant to what practicing metaphysicians themselves understand of their task.--V. C. C. (shrink)
An account, systematically presented, of Plato's views on the subjects covered in the author's earlier books-ethics, aesthetics and philosophy of education--with only passing mention of Platonic logic, epistemology and metaphysics. The Platonic views are set against the views of Plato's Greek predecessors, and a final chapter discusses "Plato and Modern Philosophy." Mr. Lodge writes engagingly, but somewhat informally too; his book is intended more as an essay in appreciation than as a work of philosophical interpretation.--V. C. C.
Jowett's Protagoras has been revised extensively for this new edition, and helpful section titles have been provided. The editor's fifty-page introduction could stand alone; it is a solid and scholarly examination, with footnotes, cross-references, and logical analyses, of the great Socrates-Protagoras quarrel.--V. C. C.
A welcome addition to the series of translation-commentaries initiated by the late F. M. Cornford. Mr. Bluck's English Phaedo reads smoothly and naturally; it is, like the original, a work of literature as well as of philosophy. The running commentary is clear, well-informed and helpful, being mainly designed to get the reader through the text. More detailed pieces of analysis and interpretation are placed in an Appendix; here Mr. Bluck argues that Plato's Forms are not merely abstract logical universals, but (...) substantial "things," which "cause" the appearances in the material world. He also defends, in opposition to the majority view, the validity of the crucial proof of the soul's indestructibility at 105E ff.--V. C. C. (shrink)
A straightforward presentation of Plato's views on the nature of mathematics, with special attention to the status of mathematical objects and to the method of mathematical thinking. Mr. Wedberg has summarized his interpretations of Platonic doctrines in a clear and well-organized fashion, devoting one chapter to Plato's views on geometry, one to his views on arithmetic; he then supports these interpretations by a close examination of the relevant passages, not only in Plato's Dialogues, but in Aristotle as well. A comprehensive (...) and useful study.--V. C. C. (shrink)
An unabridged republication of the Elwes translation of Spinoza's works, made in 1883, but still highly regarded for its accuracy and lucidity. The present edition, compact and yet clearly presented, includes a bibliographical note by Francesco Cordasco.--V. C. C.
A close study, paragraph by paragraph and often line by line, of a work crucial to the understanding of Heidegger's thought as a whole. M. Wahl is a conscientious reader and careful interpreter; he exhibits a sympathetic understanding of the Heideggerian method while dissenting at various points from its results, particularly as regards the important Seinsfrage. In general, it is suggested, Heiddegger's Einführung is to be taken not as doctrine or a set of conclusions, but as an exercise, like Plato's (...) Parmenides.--V. C. C. (shrink)
An attempt to present Kant's Critical Philosophy in a non-technical and up-to-date manner. The author is largely successful in translating complex doctrines into simple language and in relating Kant's thought to contemporary developments in philosophy, science, morals and theology. He stresses the continuity of Kant's thinking with our own, and expounds the Kantian position in the light of the criticisms which have been directed against it, in our and other times. Despite the simplicity of its language, however, the book is (...) not always as clear in meaning or content as one might wish, and some of the interpretations--as when, in Chapter 2, space and time are made out to be "particulars"--are decidedly strange.--V. C. C. (shrink)
This excellent study, which is both critical and constructive, is much broader in scope than its title might indicate. The human self is a central concept for Royce and its full discussion involves one in the whole body of his philosophy, as the author clearly recognizes. Few aspects of Royce's thought, indeed, escape his systematic examination; there are sections on Royce's logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of religion, together with analyses of the self in time and in society, and (...) of the "community" idea. There is also an illuminating chapter on Royce's relations to Peirce and James.--V. C. C. (shrink)
The second installment of Dr. Needham's epic venture into the intellectual history of ancient and medieval China. The work's general emphasis is upon science and technology; the present volume expounds the teachings of the main philosophical systems and schools--Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, etc.--and describes their bearing upon the scientific thinking of their times. The detail with which these accounts are carried out is staggering, yet the narrative line remains clear. The work's scope, too, is incredible, as Dr. Needham delves fully into (...) the backgrounds, social, cultural, and intellectual, of the various systems of thought. Full references to sources and complementary accounts, frank acknowledgment of the disputedness of certain interpretations, and the provision of the Chinese characters for key terms, increase the work's value for scholars. Certainly this is a monumental achievement, however the details be judged by the experts. The volume is beautifully produced, with tables and many fine illustrations.--V. C. C. (shrink)