A critical essay on St. Augustine's social and political thought. In describing Augustine, the author captures the essence of the man in these words: "Genius he had in full measure... he is the master of the phrase or the sentence that embodies a penetrating insight, a flash of lightning that illuminates the entire sky; he is the rhetorician, the epigrammist, the polemicist, but not the patient, logical systematic philosopher.".
"Cassirer employs his remarkable gift of lucidity to explain the major ideas and intellectual issues that emerged in the course of nineteenth century scientific and historical thinking. The translators have done an excellent job in reproducing his clarity in English. There is no better place for an intelligent reader to find out, with a minimum of technical language, what was really happening during the great intellectual movement between the age of Newton and our own."—_New York Times._.
1 Introduction When we ask why something happens or has happened, from earthquakes to car accidents or urban riots, we ask for its cause or causes. ' Cause' comes into practical life, into the experimental sciences, and, perhaps more ...
Alfred North Whitehead is rightly considered a Cambridge philosopher. His intellectual life falls into three periods, of which the first was in Cambridge, the second in London, and the third in Cambridge, Mass. But he always saw himself as a Cambridge person, and was a Life Fellow of Trinity College. Moreover, though each of these periods is associated with a different kind of philosophy, some ideas and concerns from the Cambridge period carry right through.
It is a sobering experience to be giving my first Sir Samuel Hall Oration in the line of succession of Samuel Alexander. Some of his Sir Samuel Hall Orations have been published in his book on Beauty and the Other Forms of Value and the Philosophical and Literary Pieces , and they must indeed have been a joy to his audiences. I think it is fitting that I should devote this first lecture to Samuel Alexander, taking one of the central (...) ideas of his philosophy and considering it. If some of what I have to say is critical, I think he would have thought that was all in order. “Pitch into me,” he used to say. After all, the best tribute one can pay to a philosopher is to try to go on with one's own thinking helped by the stimulus of his ideas, and often not least helped by finding oneself impelled to criticize them. (shrink)
It is a wise child who knows his own father; and the climate of thought of a generation may be subtly changed without conscious recognition of the formative minds which have been, if not the parents, at least the godparents of that change. That is to say, they have sponsored the baptism of ideas which would only be safe so long as they renounced the world, the flesh, and the devil; but, as is so often the case, when the offspring (...) grow up they form a pact with those very powers. To make Søren Kierkegaard spiritually responsible for the present war would have as little, and perhaps as much, truth in it as the facile explanations which made Hegel responsible for the last one. But it is part of the demonism of policies of power and ambition to be able to pervert to their own ends religious ideas which in their intention are a protest against those very ambitions; and, by so doing, to win a response from people who, in a dim, unconscious way, are feeling after the ideas themselves, but have neither the powers of self-criticism nor of radical thinking to resist travesties of them which appear to justify their own self-assertion. When Hitler informed Sir Nevile Henderson that he was a man of “ ad infinitum decisions” we may question the extent of his knowledge either of the Latin language or of the existential philosophy; but the phrase awakes an echo of the religious philosophy of circles far removed from National-Socialism. Both Nazi apologists and their Confessional or independent opponents are consciously or unconsciously moved by a way of thinking which puts the decision of the individual, made in the concrete moment, above any objective or universal norm of ethics or of reason by which it can be either justified or criticized. (shrink)