Each volume of this series of Companions to major philosophers contains specially-commissioned essays by an international team of scholars, together with a substantial bibliography, and will serve as a reference work for students and non-specialists. The contributors to this Companion probe the full depth of Kierkegaard's thought revealing its distinctive subtlety. The topics covered include Kierkegaard's views on art and religion, ethics and psychology, theology and politics, and knowledge and virtue. Much attention is devoted to the pervasive influence of Kierkegaard (...) in twentieth-century philosophy. New readers will find this the a convenient and accessible guide to Kierkegaard. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Kierkegaard. (shrink)
By examining the themes man and God, man and animal, and man as a rational being, Landmann provides a perspective that must be considered in understanding man’s life in culture and society. His view is that man is social and this aspect is the precondition of his cultural life. Man, as Landmann indicates, "produces cultures" and is more "strongly determined by cultural factors" than genetic factors. Whatever a man may believe about the static features in society, it is nevertheless pervaded (...) by an evolving process that may not be easily perceptible. This process is the change that can be measured by past records. Change, far from bringing destruction, somehow fosters man’s creativity. As Landmann states, "The most favorable times are the transition periods when an old world-structure is collapsing but individualism has not yet reached its peak." Through his discussion of various philosophers, notably Nietzsche, Marx, and Scheler, Landmann establishes an interesting tension according to which he evaluates man and his relation to self, others, creatures, and God. In the final analysis, man is portrayed in Landmann’s critical account as fundamentally a creator.—G.D.D. (shrink)
As Professor Rotenstreich indicates "the purpose of the present analysis is to work out in detail Hegel’s attempted reconciliation of substance and subject." Using the major texts of Hegel, Rotenstreich reveals that the subject precedes the various stages of the dialectic rather than coming at the end of the process. Brought into the analysis is the notion of time which is Hegel’s "stumbling block" in reconciling thought and concept with actuality. In addition, the element of history in the philosophy of (...) Hegel is revealed as a shift to speculation embracing religions but the concept of God which in Rotenstreich’s estimation "Hegel willy-nilly imposes a conceptual limit." But Hegel could have gone beyond the ultimate synthesis to render God hyperspeculatively. Underlying the study is an analysis of totality which when interpreted by Kant, Spinoza, Marx and Hegel there are great differences and what seems to emerge is a lack of concept of totality when analyzed in the technological world where the individual and the world are separated in that both are independent and appear to be abstractions. This is an excellent analysis of Hegel and other major thinkers.—G.D.D. (shrink)
Michael Henry’s study centers around the theme of interiority and subjectivity in the problematic of Being. It is a study that examines the structures of Being as theorized by various continental philosophers. Henry criticizes Kant, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Scheler for their notions on the structure of Being. He believes that "presence is the foundation of knowledge" and that "Being is the desire of self." Henry indicates that the "essence of manifestation is a structure... constituted by the ontological process of (...) representation." The interiority of the individual is of primary importance because it is where knowledge is found. As he states, "... that Being is rather interior to action and determines it." In addition, "Being manifests itself... it is its light and the pure milieu of visibility wherein all things are visible." Henry’s investigation inspired by Eckhart, Fichte, and Kierkegaard is one that requires intense study. It is a study that gives fresh and stimulating viewpoints on the problematic of Being. Professor Etzkorn’s translation of the 1963 Presses Universitaires De France two volume edition is excellent. It is a complete translation of both volumes. Furthermore, he has identified all references used by Henry and has managed to find English translations for most of the texts cited.—G.D.D. (shrink)
In his contribution to socialist thought G.D.H. Cole adopted and revised Rousseau’s concept of the general will. During his early guild socialist phase Cole drew on the general will in his scheme for a functional, associational democracy. In the late 1920s Cole began to question whether the socially oriented element of individual will might be expressed in the existing social and economic circumstances. In the 1930s he combined social democratic and Marxist tenets. Nevertheless, his interest in Rousseau persisted. Will was, (...) for him, crucial to socialism. He made a significant, if neglected, contribution to the socialist tradition of Rousseau scholarship. (shrink)
The author’s purpose is to search out patterns of the world and the various manifestations of experience. How he sets out to do this is to develop a "network of theories about the most fundamental aspects of critical thinking." What this entails is a highly technical approach that requires the reader to have a firm grasp of formal logic. Castañeda, however, does present his theories and principles in a way that the reader is not overwhelmed with symbolic notation. The author, (...) in constructing his theories, is highly conscious of the fact that adequate explanations are also necessary to present his claim that practical thinking is a notion that requires critical analysis "of the experience of deliberation, recognition of duties and their conflicts, the conduct of the other person, and the decision to act." In his investigation he proposes that we must examine the agent who possesses mental and bodily dispositions, the representational system containing noemata, which are somewhat like sentence types that precede propositions, and the rest of the world, i.e., facts, events, etc. Now the investigation, as Castañeda claims, must begin with the logico-ontological structure of the representational image of practical thinking. This logico-ontological structure is an analysis of propositions and mandates. His ontology is a phenomenology of sorts when dealing with noemata, but has little relation or resemblance to German ontology. Be that as it may, dialogical considerations of propositions are set forth by Castañeda in a way that human communication emerges as vague yet somehow rational. To be more accurate, in his estimation there are dialectical principles which are vague, yet these principles determine a "minimal ethics of communication.". (shrink)
Scheler and Solovyev are two thinkers who have received little or no attention among the members of the Anglo-American philosophical community. Perhaps part of this neglect is political, and part is due to availability of texts. Dahm’s comparative analysis offers a thorough presentation of the major points of each thinker and it places them in the context of the history of philosophy.
Mall indicates that his study of Husserl and Hume is one that demonstrates programmatic similarities. Much of his study is on Husserl’s concepts dealing with reason and experience. These concepts are compared to Hume’s basic philosophical concepts. Mall believes that Hume’s philosophy of human nature has some similarity to Husserl’s transcendental subjectivity. Hume’s concept of imagination "foreshadowed Husserl’s concept of constitution." Hume’s analysis of experience which is at the level of "mundane existence" is similar to Husserl’s pre-predicative experience. Yet, as (...) Mall notes, Hume’s analysis of experience "verges on the discovery of a transcendental explanation of our mundane experience." Linking experience with reason Mall feels that "reason is dependent on experience." With Husserl reason is seen as "a telos beyond all change and modification" that resides at a "too high a transcendental level for his phenomenology.". (shrink)
MATERIALISTS claim that in principle mentality could be accounted for entirely by properties of matter. They must, of course, clarify, as far as possible, the precise scope of the concept "properties of matter." According to materialists there exists only one type of "substance" in the universe, namely matter. Sophisticated experimental and theoretical analyses have led contemporary physicists to interpret known material entities as being composed of two classes of elementary particles, namely quarks and leptons and constituents of interaction fields that (...) mediate interactions between some or all of the elementary particles and which comprise photons, gluons, intermediate bosons and gravitons. For instance, protons and neutrons are composed--by hypothesis--of quarks, while electrons are probably the most familiar leptons. Whether any analyzed and postulated elementary particles and constituents of interaction fields are "ultimate" components of matter can never be known. It remains always possible that more basic subcomponents of known components will be discovered. This has happened repeatedly throughout the history of physics. Hence, what physicists understand by the "physical properties" of the basic components of matter must always remain expressed in terms of usually intricate hypothetico-deductive theories which are tentative and fallible. Contemporary relativistic quantum mechanics of elementary particles and of interaction fields provide typical examples of such hypothetico-deductive theories relating to present known basic components of matter. (shrink)
What Frankel has done in his book is to give the general reader an excellent selection of readings from ancient, modern and contemporary philosophers. In his foreword Frankel gives an overview on how philosophy "testifies to man’s capacity to take pleasure in the free play of intelligence." Philosophy in his estimation is an encounter with the human situation not measured in symbolic notation but revealed in tensions that struggle to find truth. He divides the readings into five sections which are: (...) Philosophy and Religion, Philosophy and Politics, Philosophy and the Ideal of Reason, Philosophy and the Irrational and The Significance of Philosophy. There is a biographical introduction before each reading and an afterword at the end of each section. The reading selections have continuity and are not too technical. Some of the philosophers represented are: Plato, Berkeley, James, Royce Nietzsche and Russell. This text could be used for an introduction to philosophy class where there are students who need a little stimulation and direction toward cultivation.—G. D. (shrink)
This book seems to be three things: a series of predictions, both major and minor, concerning economic, political and social changes during the next hundred years or so; a sustained argument in favor of the welfare state; a discussion of "prognostics" as a needed and possible quasi-science.--G. D. D.
A metaphysical continuum employing the opposing poles of interiority and exteriority is introduced in the first several sections by means of which all types of realities are to be located ontologically—an approach to ontology which aims at correcting the one-sidedness of ontologies from Parmenides and Democritus on. From the perspective of this bi-directional ontology inorganic, organic, and human realities are seen to be continuous but distinguishable with reference to the kinds of cessation or death which take place on each respective (...) level. Among the questions which are examined in the central portion of the book are: How is an "experience of death" ever possible? Can the various experiences of another's death yield some general idea which can apply to all possible cases of human death? Mora's answers run strikingly counter to the conclusions of Sein und Zeit in important respects.—R. G. D. (shrink)
An anthology containing short selections from diverse thinkers since 1880. The selections are almost uniformly relevant and lucid. The thesis are controversial, and together represent almost every point on the philosophic spectrum. Kaufmann's introduction includes a neatly argued re-evaluation of Tolstoy's late tracts.--G. D. D.
Taylor believes that if we "penetrate the illusions that encompass us," then we can see the picture of man as one with "God the creator." This picture is created by Taylor through his critical and sometimes whimsical approach to man’s relations with himself, others, the world and God. What man must realize is the openness of creation. He must avoid the problem of intellectualizing or showing no feeling "for the sticks, stones and grass at [his] feet." Taylor feels that man (...) is more concerned about his deeds rather than his being. Man has to rid himself of the "separateness of illusion, of failing to see what is in fact before us." The purpose of life is "not to do but simply to be." Within God’s world there is death and deterioration yet there is an ever renewing generation of life in all its forms. This book offers a vision of creation that all can share.—G. D. (shrink)
A series of lengthy and chatty arguments suggesting that most criticism written on the various arts is preoccupied with a misguided sense of the critics' own objectivity. Boas gives examples--there seem to be hundreds--aptly drawn to demonstrate his thesis that what the art-work actually meant to the artist and spectator varies from era to era, from culture to culture, and from class to class. On these grounds Mr. Boas offers a plea "for the understanding of disagreement in matters of taste."--G. (...) D. D. (shrink)
Kreyche states that philosophy is in need of reconstruction because it has become "a highly specialized game in the hands of linguistic technicians." What is needed in philosophy is an "integral realism" which unifies and integrates "the deeply rooted needs of the human spirit." The modern mind, Kreyche believes, has to be nursed back to a condition of health, and this can be done by purging our subconscious of the many false ideas found in our contemporary culture. "A re-adaptation to (...) the needs of the soul" should be the goal for modern man. This can be brought about by examining the dynamic forces of man’s nature and linking them to a reconstructed philosophy that acts as a therapy for modern man’s sickness. It is this reconstructed philosophy which is open to every segment and dimension of reality. The author wants a philosophy that "will counteract, not the computer, but the computer mentality and help restore man as the inventor of the machines he creates." We must see that human intelligence is realigned with the human spirit. This book is an admirable attempt to evaluate the needs of man’s spirit.—G. D. (shrink)
Plattel in part one of his study evaluates our contemporary society and believes it is in a crisis situation. Utopian thinking is being revived, and many in the social sciences have begun to realize that it is connected with "critical reflection." In our present situation "we face the humanization and domination of the future." If we are to have hope for the future, we have to "humanize a power over the future." The utopian thinker with his playful imagination and intellect, (...) as Plattel states, can renew society. He dares "to undertake the existential adventure." He is open to infinite possibilities and he breaks through "the repressive crust of the constituted." Yet the vision of the utopian thinker is not mindless speculation or simply scientific rationality but critical reflection on society as well as self-critique. Part two contains three socio-critical essays. Religion, politics and the university are three topics which are discussed against the background of contemporary crises. Plattel in each essay feels critical reflection must be used to meet each crisis situation. This is an excellent book on the utopian phenomenon.—G. D. (shrink)
A superior anthology of writings on criticism and its philosophic bases. Six problems are presented. Half a dozen or so selections explore each problem. Levich's lodestar is a conviction that criticism and the philosophy of art are mutually dependent upon one another. Drawing skillfully on the rich fields of contemporary literary and art criticism, he juxtaposes writings of critics and writings of a number of philosophers in such a manner as to highlight themes common to both.--G. D. D.
A discussion of the tragic from a Heideggerian perspective. Oedipus Rex, Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound, Hamlet, Faust, An Enemy of the People, Death of a Salesman, and The Flies are examined in separate chapters. The rhetoric makes for difficult reading, and the analyses themselves turn out to be somewhat conventional. More interesting are the author's concluding suggestions: he argues forcibly for the need to find some deeper ground underlying both tragic "experience" and tragic "expression."—G. D. D.
A reference work containing summaries of all major and most minor figures in the history of Western philosophy. The summaries are concise, informative, and well-written. Bibliography and some biographical material are included. One might quarrel over accent—e.g., James and Peirce together are allotted fewer pages than some exceedingly and properly obscure church fathers. However, all important movements and modes of thought are presented. The interpretations and evaluations of the phenomenological movement seem in general a degree more knowledgeable than those of (...) the positivist and linguistic analysis movements.—G. D. D. (shrink)
SummaryExtremism in the environment‐versus innateness controversy in the behavioural sciences and in human sociobiology is being examined. Genetic effects can be severely modified or overruled by environmental factors, but may, nevertheless, be important. Dawkins' view that we are survival machines programmed to subserve selfish genes seems untenable and is a root of racialism. It is also argued that morality is compatible with mixed genetic and environmental control of brains via existing biological machinery.
Nott, a novelist, poet and writer on philosophy and criticism, examines current Anglo-American philosophers and finds them too parochial in that they analyze language scientifically and by doing so limit the scope of philosophy. The real problems are endless moral ones in Nott’s estimation, and they have been ignored by analysts who have concentrated on what we say not on what we do or ought to do. She believes that philosophy is a humane study which cannot help being ethical and (...) social. The development and direction of philosophy as being critical are acceptable if the criticism is concerned with metaphysical concepts and the structure and use of language in a way that is not abstract and syntactical. A reference is made on Chomsky’s Aspects by Nott who reveals her inability to comprehend the philosophical implications of deep structure analysis. Peirce in his relativistic approach to truth and knowledge, however, is singled out because truth as he analyzed it was not a collection of certainties but a function of belief inside a human world of common meanings. An inquiry, we are told, is valid if it moves toward a logical method of science. With this approach emphasis is placed on knowing rather than what is to be known provided the knower represents our common capacity for arriving at judgments on which we agree. The pragmatism of Peirce gives us a natural concrete expansion to our concepts. Understanding means understanding part of our world in a pragmatic sense as opposed to the analytic approach that does not concern itself with the world. In the concluding chapter, Nott states that the present day philosophical act has been narrowly circumscribed and by implication wrongly defined. The philosopher does not want to commit himself to practical opinions nor write a comprehensive treatise on the human situation. Nott ends by saying that the philosopher must examine his environment and the distinctness of the human person. Unfortunately, Kathleen Nott has not considered the complexities of human existence nor has she made an attempt to consider them seriously as seen by her rejection of philosophers who attempt to define the complexities of human existence.—G. D. (shrink)
Until recently, the paradoxes of set theory were hardly used at all in the analysis of dialectical contradiction. "Violations of the Aristotelian law of contradiction have been found everywhere except where logic and mathematics saw them." Today a practice of study of paradoxes in set theory by the devices of materialist dialectics is taking shape in our literature.
A brief account of Huysmans' life and major works. The narration is made to pivot upon Huysmans' turn to Catholicism; the conversion itself, however, is treated in a somewhat superficial manner. Critical opinions in the book appear for the most part to have flowered from stock secondary material.--G. D. D.
Volume 14 in the Bollingen Series Collected Works, is the result of Jung's interest in the symbolic significance of alchemy. Various ancient modes of symbolism are held to prefigure Jung's own theory of psychological growth as the union of opposites. Numerous esoteric texts from the old alchemists receive lengthy commentary. A curious and elusive odyssey; recommended only for the most zealous of devotees.--G. D. D.
An introduction to both the literary works and the music criticism of Hoffmann. Hoffmann's affinities with Schelling and Schopenhauer are discussed, and his ties to the overall German Romanticism movement carefully traced. A pleasant and readable essay.--G. D. D.
The Four-Colour Theorem (4CT) proof, presented to the mathematical community in a pair of papers by Appel and Haken in the late 1970's, provoked a series of philosophical debates. Many conceptual points of these disputes still require some elucidation. After a brief presentation of the main ideas of Appel and Haken’s procedure for the proof and a reconstruction of Thomas Tymoczko’s argument for the novelty of 4CT’s proof, we shall formulate some questions regarding the connections between the points raised by (...) Tymoczko and some Wittgensteinian topics in the philosophy of mathematics such as the importance of the surveyability as a criterion for distinguishing mathematical proofs from empirical experiments. Our aim is to show that the “characteristic Wittgensteinian invention” (Mühlhölzer 2006) – the strong distinction between proofs and experiments – can shed some light in the conceptual confusions surrounding the Four-Colour Theorem. (shrink)