First published in 1938. The aim of this book is to expound Kant’s _Critique of Judgement _by interpreting all the details in the light of what Kant himself declares to be his fundamental problem. _A Commentary on Kant’s Critique of Judgement _provides an excellent introduction to Kant’s third critique, and will be of interest to students of philosophy.
The title of this work is a somewhat saucy overstatement of its thesis—that perceivers seek in works of art experiences of "discontinuity" and "disorientation," as a kind of "rehearsal" for "real life" situations in which they must negotiate intellectual tensions, resulting from a disparity between what they expect and what actually happens. Art-perceiving, the author asserts, is a "biological, adaptive" mechanism characteristic of the human organism. Peckham, like most thoughtful readers of art history, is irritated by the preposterous assertions that (...) man's perceptions are a mad, disorderly blizzard of phenomena, and the artist alone can bring "order" to the mess. Of course, it is obvious that neither of these notions is very sensible, but the unfortunate truth about the lay psychology of most criticism is that Dr. Peckham's assertions in this connection will probably be regarded as controversial in many departments of literature and fine arts. The author is at his best when barbedly [[sic]] criticizing his colleagues; he is at less than his best, however, when he assumes the mantle of philosophical psychology in order to bring authority to his arguments. Intent upon finding confirmation in both the fashionable and passe schools of behavioral science and philosophy, he masses gluts of aphorisms from Gestalt psychology, Husserl, Heidegger, Susanne Langer, and Paul Ziff (the last pair being very indiscreetly aligned to form notions which are no less intuitive than those of the various art-historians he is admonishing. In the area of psychology, Peckham ignores all of the current approaches, and in the area of philosophy he refers to linguistic analysis or philosophy of science as though each were substantively and methodologically unified, and possessed clear-cut views about the universe. Peckham's central thesis, moreover, leaves one unable to distinguish a work of creative physics from a novel.—E. H. W. (shrink)
According to the subtitle of this anthology, the essays are intended to discuss and explore "the cohesive and disjunctive forces" existing between C. P. Snow's infamous "two cultures" of science and the humanities. As in all the colloquia on this subject, there tends to be a mishmash of problems in definition, with Snow's relatively simple and straightforward contrast lost in the shuffle of terms. The fact that in this volume no one agrees upon what science is tends to limit its (...) ability to solve Snow's problem, but, on the other hand, it offers many ruminations on the various meanings of science. Gyorgy Kepes, for instance, thinks of science mainly as a set of technologically sophisticated instruments and advocates that technicians and visual artists collaborate on the design of "light shows" and other flashy works of modern art, especially the design and execution of environmental art. Harry Levin, the well-known scholar of comparative literature, thinks that the division of intellectual activities into "scientific" and "cultural" might be better replaced with dividing scholars into "generalists" and "specialists," arguing that the human community needs a balanced representation of both camps. Talcott Parsons advocates the incorporation of scientific methods into traditionally humanistic considerations, proposing that social science is the logical amalgam of the two cultures. Parsons, by the way, is more commendable for practicing what he preaches than some of his colleagues in the social sciences, particularly Oscar Handlin, also represented in this volume. Altogether, sixteen points of view are included in the symposium, most filled with sonorous language and unsupported generalizations about matters of historical and current fact, but all of them literate and filled with challenging philosophical puzzles.—E. H. W. (shrink)
Kneller's main concern is that, "If we are to understand the problems, policies, and concepts of education, we must first examine carefully the language of educational discourse." This book is a sober and readable review of several problems in modern philosophy, in which are revealed some of the strategies used by the giants of language philosophy to analyze difficult philosophical propositions and paradoxes. Each chapter of historical exposition is paralleled with a chapter of applications to problems in educational philosophy. The (...) early part of the book is a review of John Dewey's central theses, plus a few words on research methodology in general, both of which are related to the conduct of classroom lessons; the second part of the book, which Kneller calls "Formal Analysis," is an exceedingly competent precis of work in the philosophy of science, especially Wittgenstein's and Carnap's, followed by a series of important caveats to educational researchers, reminding them of some of the serious problems of inference and generalization in the behavioral sciences; the third section, featuring Ryle, Austin, and Strawson, is called "Informal Analysis," and is principally a discussion of "ordinary language" philosophy, with applications to the familiar clichés and slogans of school administrators and politicians. Kneller favors this last group, since he feels that informal analysis is more "practical and humane," and his feelings are supported by some current conflicts between hard and soft educational research. The basic exhortation of this book, though, is that people who talk and think about education should be more philosophically competent about it, even if their philosophical blunders have not yet affected their ability to teach and make policy. He maintains that educational philosophy will not add anything new to the educational universe, but rather, clarify what is already there.—E. H. W. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of papers from the Third Consultation on Hermeneutics at Drew University. The goal of this conference was, in Hopper's words, to "question what kind of language, or thinking, is appropriate to a fundamental ontology, to a language that does not commit objectification, or reification, upon its subject matter in the very mode of its utterance." The first essay in the volume was not read at the conference, but is reprinted from a 1961 Harper's magazine, namely, (...) Norman O. Brown's "Apocalypse: the Place of Mystery in the Life of the Mind." It is unfortunate that Brown is given the place of honor in this collection, since his essay is somewhat offensive and irresponsible. Consider, for example: "Truth is what any fool can see. This is what is meant by so-called scientific method. So-called science is that attempt to democratize knowledge—the attempt to substitute method for insight, mediocrity for genius, by getting a standard operating procedure," or "Vacancy is not the worst condition of mind." Of the remaining papers in this book, the high-points are Kenneth Burke's "Theory of Terminology," a reader's key to his many fine writings on figurative language, Beda Allemann's "Metaphor and Antimetaphor," an interesting analysis of Kafka's prose style, and Owen Barfield's "Imagination and Inspiration," an essay on the difficulties of talking about spiritual experiences in understandable language. In fact, Barfield levels the most relevant criticism at this symposium when he cautions that "very different considerations apply to the exercise of the imagination on the one hand, and, on the other, any attempt to investigate its nature."—E. H. W. (shrink)