The longawaited translation of one of the most important philosophical works of our time. Merleau-Ponty's reflections upon perception, "the only absolute for philosophy," expand in a continuous way to the wider issues of human being: scientific knowledge, history, art, sexuality, the use of signs, learning processes, solitude and community, freedom, etc. Smith's translation is excellent, and his occasional notes are helpful. One only wishes there had been more of them; for Merleau-Ponty, more than most philosophers, relies crucially upon poetic nuances, (...) allusions, connotations, and echoes of other thinkers --aspects which cannot be translated textually, but which could be brought out in notes. Smith is obviously sensitive to these difficulties, and is to be congratulated for overcoming so many of them. Translation too, as a part of the philosophical enterprise, is "une tâche qui reste toujours à faire."--C. D. (shrink)
An exhaustive, exhausting, difficult, and inspired history of the cultural experience of madness, from the late Middle Ages to the early Nineteenth Century. Foucault immerses himself in the actual evidences of the phenomenon of madness: literary and dramatic works, records of governments, hospitals, prisons, and religious institutions, and the expressions of philosophers and sages. The history of madness is the history of the gestures that define it-confinement, punishment, neglect, therapy. Foucault's final statement of the antinomies and the debilitating impoverishment of (...) the modern attitude towards "insanity" and folly leaves one impatient for what is to come next from this unusual and impressive thinker.--C. D. (shrink)
Adventure, boredom and seriousness are three perspectives on time which require each other for their definitions. Jankélévitch makes rich use of the literature of many languages and ages. These reflections and analyses have the allure of virtuosity-they dance, they surprise, they threaten to break loose from the bonds of sobriety and caution; all of which may or may not be a virtue in philosophical thinking, but it undeniably makes for lively reading.--C. D.
This study of "problems of the soul in the neoaristotelian and neoplatonic tradition" is exceedingly well documented and for the most part minutely argued. An historical examination of doctrines leading to, derived from, and similar to Plotinus' theory of nous eventuates in a "typology of solutions" or ideal types to which the various doctrines approximate. The final chapter traces nous to "collective consciousness, double consciousness, and metaconsciousness in Kant and some post-kantians," who are represented by Windelband, Husserl and Simmel. The (...) footnotes and critical bibliography are extremely valuable.--C. D. (shrink)
As the author shows, intellectual history is very different from the history of philosophy; but one wonders if the two kinds of history matter to each other. The author's complete lack of philosophical concerns may, of course, be a virtue, but it is also restrictive and self-defeating. Nevertheless, the book may well stand as the authoritative treatment of the history of Comte's positivism—an idea which, Simon declares at the outset, had little to recommend it but which did manage to have (...) a history. The book is written with great attention to detail and contains a long, well-assembled and very valuable bibliography. The chapters on Mill and other English thinkers are particularly interesting, and will probably settle some old disputes about the impact of positivism in nineteenth-century England.—C. D. (shrink)
Seventy brief essays, all but one of them on some aspect of the subject of truth. Though the journey from cover to cover is dull, there are a few excellent papers. The variety of philosophical schools and styles shows clearly that it is a mistake to identify contemporary French-language philosophy with any one trend or school.—C. D.
This superb introduction to the Greek philosophers offers not only information, but warm acquaintance with the "men and ideas that shaped our understanding of the world about us." Each philosophical monument is presented on its own terms, but the relations among them, and between all of them and contemporary thought, are also emphasized. The chapter on Plato is written with a Platonic accent, putting all the levels of cognition to work; and the chapter on Aristotle is organized Aristotelianly. The abundant (...) notes offer a wide-ranging bibliography, and contain, in embryo, many of the most exciting philosophical insights in the book. There are, in addition, several well-chosen illustrations and maps. For all readers, the book will be a most rewarding tour of Greek philosophy; for many, it will also be a true introduction to philosophy in general. It is hard to imagine a better ancillary text for a course in Greek philosophy.—C. D. (shrink)
True to the publisher's purpose, this book is an "initiation"; it is at once a synthesis of the main phenomenological studies of "the body" and a thesis-book which includes criticisms of some current views, notably Sartre's. The body must be understood in terms of présence, in other words, in terms of dynamic relationships; the knowledge of structures and attributes is subsumed under the inquiry into modalities of human existence. "Incarnation" is not something that can be finally known; the inquiry into (...) its modalities finds that there is always and necessarily something left over.—C. D. (shrink)
Kierkegaard's passionate, witty essay on his own age, its lack of passion, humor, action, etc., is introduced equally passionately by Walter Kaufmann, whose animadversions on our own age are well worth the price of the book. If there is such a thing as virtuoso existentialist writing, the introduction is an example. Both Kierkegaard and Kaufmann feel that the essential question of "the present age" is, "Why do something rather than nothing at all?" In addition to the title essay, there is (...) a shorter "ethico-religious" one, "Of the Difference between a Genius and an Apostle." Both have been previously published, but Mr. Dru has revised the translations.--C. D. (shrink)
This is the first volume of seven in Bréhier's already classic Histoire de la philosophie: L'Antiquité et le Moyen Age. In translation, as in the original, it is graceful, profound and readable. The four main parts cover the Pre-socratics, Socrates, Plato and the Academy, Aristotle and the Lyceum. The Introduction--in some ways the most important part of the book--concerns the discipline of the history of philosophy. Beautifully printed, well annotated.--C. D.
Contained in this rather short but quite excellent Clarke F. Ansley Award winning work is a skillful presentation of an intriguing thesis: Spinoza’s definition and criterion of truth follows neither the strictly correspondence nor the strictly coherence lines which many commentators have suspected. Rather, says Mark, Spinoza’s doctrine follows the "ontological" view of truth, prevalent in ancient and medieval times. To be true is to be a being, a thing which "is." It is the author’s contention that there are texts (...) which seem to be evidence in favor of interpreting Spinoza’s doctrine along the lines of a correspondence theory, and there are still other texts which seem to betray a kind of family resemblance to the coherence theory of truth. Most commentators, says Mark, have either focused their entire attention on one or the other of these sets of texts, or else pointed out the discrepancy and went on to something else. But what Mark here suggests to us is a rather bold and interesting approach, which, to Mark’s mind, accomplishes the task of facing squarely both sets of texts without compromising either, and without reducing Spinoza to contradiction. (shrink)
Ehrmann contends that Descartes' 1647 preface to the Meditations, "Le Libraire au Lecteur," was suppressed by design in late 17th century editions, and subsequently by oversight. This is the preface which speaks of the "key to the book, without which no one could understand it." Ehrmann's pamphlet provides a sketchy history of the publication of Descartes' works and argues for the republication, with corrections, of the Adam and Tannery complete edition.--C. D.
Mucchielli clearly and systematically reviews the history of theories of psychosomatic medicine, criticizing the dominant modern ideas such as "conversion," "régression," and "inadaptation." The failure to eliminate dualisms has been chiefly the failure to discern distinct levels of existence and the complex relations between them: to assert a difference between the organic level and the conscious level need not lead us into an impass of dualism. Mucchielli shows that not all psychosomatic disorders are psycogenetic, but that there are organic illnesses (...) with definite organic etiology. He uses Descartes as a model for style and organization, and revives the relatively ignored Descartes of "the third idea of medicine" and "the union of soul and body," showing how and why Descartes himself did not develop an adequate medical theory of psychosomatic illness. The critical discussions of Dunbar, Alexander, Freud, Pavlov, Boss and others are sharp and convincing.—C. D. (shrink)
The second volume in the Random House History of Philosophy, under the general editorship of Etienne Gilson. Maurer covers a very wide ground, ending with Suarez and the early Renaissance. The relevant dates and events are mentioned, but it is the philosophical work itself that is treated rather than biography and cultural background. Each section is fairly self-contained; introductions and summaries tie them together very well. This excellent history is meant chiefly for laymen and undergraduates, but is certainly not without (...) interest for more advanced readers.--C. D. (shrink)
Seventeen studies, many of them newly translated, present a wide view of current Kierkegaardean scholarship, with a decided emphasis upon S.K's message for the Christian faithful. Two or three authors join battle with earlier interpreters; at least two quarrel with Kierkegaard himself; most of them labor at clearing the way--in scholarly fashion--for Kierkegaard's aggression upon the reader's own consciousness.--C. D.
Students of Marcel will find this volume a helpful guide to the genesis of his mature thought; by themselves the "fragments" are of scant value, as the author himself states in a postscript written in 1961. During this five-year period, Marcel struggled mostly with Hegel and the post-Kantians, and though in complete ignorance of Kierkegaard, he paralleled the Dane's thought strikingly.--C. D.
A bewildering, frequently vertiginous and—as the author claims—"scandalous" and "frightening" book, not without exciting spots. The source of evil is incoherence, spawned by démesure and ignorance, and its instruments are always masked as goodness. The author's many-sided theses are not so much argued as shouted; and despite the frequent use of dialogues, the reader hardly feels invited to answer. Such is the power, such is the poverty, of philosophizing with a hammer.—C. D.
A critical study of the always unsolved problem of the unity of science, consisting of a lucid and succinct historical exposition of attempts to provide solutions, and a systematic presentation of the accomplishments of logical empiricism, in all its variety. In arguing for the basic approach of logical empiricism, Ruytinx takes special care to chastise those of its proponents who tend to lose themselves in polemics and exclusivity. The style is quite clear and graceful in the best tradition of French (...) philosophy—a tradition many of us, no doubt, had considered closed forever.—C. D. (shrink)
Teilhard de Chardin's religious thought has not received the attention that it deserves, being overshadowed by his more adventurous ideas. With this book, de Lubac wants to redress the balance. He traces the development of Teilhard's thought, the devotional motif in his inquiries, and the traditional character of his approaches to religious questions. The author takes great pains to answer Teilhard's critics and to straighten out the many malentendus which dogged him and apparently still persist.—C. D.
Written casually and organized informally, this book is not properly a dictionary; its 351 entries include major Zen terms, names of historical figures, and topics of special interest to Western readers. --C. D.
Explaining and classifying attitudes and art forms related to comic laughter, Swabey defends the kind of comic laughter which perceives the laughable as less than the perfect and true. Bad or false pretenders to "comedy" or humor, e.g., apparently all modern art reputed to be comic and playful, are rather bitterly scolded. The thesis might have been more credibly argued if more positive examples had been used.--C. D.
An inclusive and non-technical introduction to "the universal teacher of Christendom," in which biography, history, and philosophical argument are intertwined. The author emphasizes parallels between Thomas' time and ours, and points to the special relevance of his spirit to the challenges of our age. A major theme of the book is that Thomistic "terminology" is not coincident with Thomas' "living language," and that the latter is decidedly more worthy of attention.--C. D.
Bound together here are the four principal addresses of the Venice Symposium on Aesthetics of 1958, and a large number of commentaries and discussions based upon them. What is most striking in the collection is the sheer variety of viewpoints. Richard McKeon's essay, concluding the volume, gives an overview of the discussions, and sorts out the major underlying themes and problems, fitting them into the spectrum of contemporary philosophizing.--C. D.
Since Nabert's work has to be considered as a whole, and since his books are incredibly dense and rich, it is not too much to say that Naulin's study is indispensable for a serious reading of Nabert's thought. Naulin presents just the right amount of background and brings in a proper measure of comparisons with contemporaries. There are four sections: Objet et méthode de la philosophie pratique, Conscience et liberté, Le problème moral, and La vie morale et ses limites. The (...) whole study is brilliantly clear, systematic and thorough.—C. D. (shrink)
Brümmer repeatedly presents Dooyeweerd's criticism of Kant, that a critical philosophy, to be thorough, must not leave any of its presuppositions unaccounted for and that Kant's dogmatic assumption of certain positions vitiates the rest of his philosophy. Dooyeweerd opposed Kant's absolutization of logic, and presented instead a cosmological basis for the transcendental criticism of philosophical thought. Dooyeweerd's own philosophy appears to be quite complex and elaborately systematic; in principle, nothing is left out. Brümmer does show, however, that some areas of (...) Dooyeweerd's work need further elaboration, notably that of philosophical anthropology.—C. D. (shrink)
A brief but adequately comprehensive introduction, an abundance of helpful footnotes, a glossary of technical terms and a biographical index distinguish this new textbook edition. Grube has followed Farquharson's edition of 1944, with some changes.—C. D.
Merleau-Ponty insisted that his better-known Phenomenology of Perception could be fully understood only if it were read along with this, his first book. It works through Pavlov's reflexology, Watsonian behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, and the philosophies of Bergson and Brunschvicg, showing the limits and fallacies of each approach. Merleau-Ponty's own procedures and terms arise to accomplish the work these men left over; his initial task is to show that there is work they cannot do, problems they cannot solve, wonders they have (...) forgotten. The theory of structure replaces a theory of form by adding the dimension of "signification" which the former left out. This book permits no doubt that serious phenomenology rejects immediate intuitions, and that description involves continuous labor.--C. D. (shrink)
In an article in this volume, Fr. J. Lotz proposes that demythologization engages us in re-mythologization; and it is the latter aspect of the Bultmannian program which occupies this book's contributors. Summarily stated, the question is that of the possibilities, means, and intentions of religious representation for worship, edification, historical and existential understanding, and communication. Because the collection displays a wide variety of backgrounds, methods, and beliefs, the transcribed discussions following most of the articles are especially valuable.--.
Although the specific subject matter is the psychology of crime, which aims at "concrete knowledge of criminal man in situation," the general problems of method in the humane sciences, of the nature and dynamics of interhuman relations, of experience, and especially of value, are treated here in a way which brings their philosophical import to light. Hesnard emphasizes that truly psychopathological criminals are the minority, and sees crime as a peculiar form of breakdown within a world of lived values. The (...) criminal psychologist's job is not to assess degrees of "responsibility" in terms of psychic sickness, nor to explain causal histories of criminal acts, but to comprehend the total man by focussing upon what society's laws call crime. This is an informative, daring book, rich with unsolved problems, and deserving of much better editing than it received.--C. D. (shrink)
In its aim to radicalize the basis of objectivity, Husserl's phenomenological inquiries resemble the "new science" of Vico. But Husserl's renewal of that aim is animated by a peculiarly modern sense of antidogmatism and rigor, and its special problem is to criticize knowledge by starting with the existential a priori of the life-world. The antidogmatism of phenomenology is seen to be a consequence of its antisubjectivism. Semerari's interpretation of Husserl is provocative but sketchy; his appreciations and criticisms of Kant, several (...) analytically-oriented thinkers, Wittgenstein, Sartre, and Heidegger are very sharp, but usually left as ideas for the reader to test and work out.--C. D. (shrink)
An extraordinary book. Not only does it equal, if not surpass, all previous philosophical dictionaries in the amount and breadth of the material covered, it is full of the life of contemporary issues. Abbagnano is a master of economic exposition, and a careful organizer and editor. Four unique features deserve notice: The historical background of terms is given fully, with detailed bibliography; non-technical terms are included, e.g., names of schools, with historical reports; American thought is represented to a degree far (...) beyond that of any other European dictionary; Abbagnano has taken a very comprehensive view of philosophy, which takes in the social sciences as well as the entire spectrum of the usual academic classifications. And finally, the book is a pleasure to read, being gracefully written and free of the encumbrances and short-cuts common to most dictionaries.--C. D. (shrink)
The general theory of invention takes the name "dynamology," and comprises several forms of more or less phenomenological inquiry, chiefly "operational dynamology," "structural dynamology," "intentional dynamology," and "historical dynamology." In each case a type of "tendential a priori" is uncovered, first in distinct fields such as empirical science, art, ethics and philosophy, and then in the human field generally. This over-all human perspective leads to the ontological and cosmological, in which cosmos and microcosmos are shown to be dynamically and dialectically (...) at one with each other. Boirel begins with Kant, Brunschvicg, Bergson and Husserl, and in the early part of the book reaches many conclusions which coincide with the pragmatic philosophies of Peirce and Dewey. Boirel's theory, however, is quite original and strives to leave no major area of human endeavor untouched.—C. D. (shrink)
Inspired mostly by Nietzsche, Flam traces common themes and common failures through major European philosophers and novelists. The final chapter breaks away from the oversimplifying style of the preceding ones, and argues provocatively for a philosophy whose militancy should burst the old dreams of systematization. Though frequently lacking bibliographical details, the footnotes provide an extraordinary catalogue of existentialist and related literature.--C. D.
This brief, packed book examines studies of totemism in order to show that there is no such thing. For anthropology, this study will be a classic of a more or less negative sort, since it destroys theses without elaborating one itself; but for philosophy it will be a positive case study of the workings of the mind, the formulation and use of evidence, and the concealed purposes of inquiries which aim to make the "different" more different and more opposed to (...) the investigator, when the otherness is in fact projected rather than objectively encountered. The real philosophical thesis of Totemism is the implicit one: its importance for the philosophy of language, symbolism and culture should not be underestimated.--C. D. (shrink)
A much better title has been found for From Death Camp to Existentialism, but the basic text remains the same. Part II, "Basic Concepts of Logotherapy," is longer and more detailed than the corresponding section in the first edition, but there is nothing radically new about it. As an introduction to this kind of thinking, the book is as good and as provocative as ever.--C. D.
Five essays of which two deserve special mention: Edward Ballard's survey and interpretation of the problem of intersubjectivity in Husserl, showing Husserl's place in the heritage of Kant, and a critical presentation by Andrew Reck of the social philosophy of Elijah Jordan. The other essays are: "The Impact of Science on Society," by James K. Feibleman; "The Social Import of Empiricism," by Paul G. Morison; and "The Case for Sociocracy," by Robert C. Whittemore. Careless printing proves distracting.--C. D.
A statement or summary of a position that seems attractive, but which remains unconvincing as presented here. "Moral" philosophy issues from Kant, and is concerned with arriving discursively at conclusions or imperatives. The "ethical" however, underlies the moral as Aristotelian virtue underlies practical reasoning; this ethical dimension has been ignored by recent moral philosophy. Galimberti sympathetically but painstakingly criticizes Hare's The Language of Morals. Ultimately, all views which lead to "voluntarism" come under attack on a number of counts. The synthesis (...) consists in distinguishing the moral from the ethical in order to effect their collaboration; for moral reasoning, an "ethical language" is necessary, and the content of moral reasoning requires the form or basis provided by the ethical. Some kind of intuition or sensitivity is involved here, but unfortunately the case for it rests mostly upon the insufficiencies uncovered in other views.--C. D. (shrink)