It is generally agreed that the most influential philosophers in America are Charles S. Peirce, William James and John Dewey. James's fame came rather suddenly in the latter half of his life—roughly, from 1880 to 1910; it flourished with the appearance of his Principles of Psychology and shortly thereafter with his advocacy of pragmatism and radical empiricism. James was acclaimed in England and Europe as well as in America. Peirce, on the other hand, was almost entirely neglected; his work remained (...) unknown to all but a few philosophers and his chief acknowledgment was as a scientist and logician. His importance began to be recognized and his immense researches and writings studied some twenty-five years after his death. It was otherwise with Dewey. During his long lifetime his ideas not only engaged the reflections and critical discussions of philosophers, he also had a profound and contagious influence on education, the social sciences, aesthetics, and political theory and practice. In this respect his thought has reached a wider audience in America than that of either Peirce or James. In his day lawyers, labour leaders, scientists and several heads of state attested to the vitality of his wisdom. (shrink)
A fundamental and familiar feature of Aristotle’s natural philosophy is his use of the concept of physis as an explanatory principle of the development and growth of certain kinds of things. Natural things are those that possess within them an original principle of continuous movement towards some completion. Nature is thus said to belong among the causes which are for the sake of something or are purposeful. The concept is crucial, Aristotle argues, if one is to be able to explain (...) the motion and phenomena that constitute life and development in the world. Lacking this concept, as the earlier philosophers did, natural science is seriously incomplete and inadequate. (shrink)
That the arts can be deceptive, that poetry and painting can be sources of moral and intellectual error, is a criticism made long before Plato. We delight in these works of imitation, they fascinate and please us, as Aristotle remarks. But a certain danger lurks in this delight; "the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape," as Hamlet warns. The great Gorgias commenting on the arts shows how subtle that devil could be.
The forty items in this volume also include an analysis of Thomas Hobbe's philosophy; an affectionate commemorative tribute to Theodore Roosevelt, our Teddy; the syllabus for Dewey's lectures at the Imperial University in Tokyo, which were ...