This volume is intended for use in an undergraduate philosophy course employing the problems' approach. Chapter I provides a clear presentation of Cartesian rationalism. Following the exposition of Descartes' position, there is a section on the standard criticisms levelled by B. Russell. Aune defends the rationalist position with an outline of the traditional arguments for the validity of intuitive knowledge. Chapter I terminates with a list of "Study Questions" and an annotated bibliography suggesting further readings. Chapter II considers classical English (...) empiricism, taking the thought of Hume as paradigmatic. There is a discussion of a priori and a posteriori knowledge as well as a section on the problems of induction and solipsism. Chapter III outlines the attempts of contemporary empiricists to eschew Hume's skepticism by envisioning the world as a construct of our sensory experiences. To avoid the solipsism still implicit in the latter position, a re-evaluation of Hume's theory of perception is offered. Wittgenstein and Strawson are briefly treated in this section. Chapter IV explains the pragmatist's attempt to reduce to the same untenable position the rationalist and empiricist views of the a priori. Chapter V concentrates on the pragmatic theory of justification and includes a treatment of N. Goodman's "new riddle of induction." Aune's book is a readable account of conflicting theories of knowledge and undergraduates should find it of value.--W. J. L. (shrink)
This work, written well within the tradition of contemporary British analysis, attempts to cope with the question of why most philosophical problems, as well as many problems concerning the foundations of the sciences, have not yet been laid to rest. The author holds that most of these problems could be disposed of simply by stating the problem in such a way as would clearly indicate the means or lack of means by which the statement could be tested. --W. S. L.
An attempt to show the possibility of penetrating into the ultimate nature of things through the development of what the author calls "buddhi" or "philosophical" reason. Overcoming the limitations of "logical" or "scientific" reason as exemplified in classical physics, philosophical reason reconciles the dualism between knower and known and reveals the unity of the "within" and "without" of nature. This insight into ultimate reality occurs in a state of "dreamless sleep." The world of the "not-self" or of objects is disclosed (...) by philosophical reason to be in its essence spiritual. The external world is a configuration of the unified self.—L. W. (shrink)
A compact, lucidly written book by a formal logician dealing with "the application of the laws of logic to various fields". After an introductory section in which the author fixes his terminology and clarifies the specific intent of the book, four "methods" are systematically discussed: the phenomenological, the semiotic, the axiomatic, and the reductive. According to Bochenski, the book is not intended to be philosophical in a primary sense. That is, the author is not himself immediately concerned with the justification (...) of any one of the "methods." This does not mean, however, that the problems intrinsic to each of the "methods" are not pointed out, problems such as the possibility of carrying out a phenomenological reduction in the Husserlian sense, the difficulties in the semantic definition of truth, the significance of the relativity of systems of logic, and the justification of inductive procedures. In each case Bochenski mentions alternative solutions that have been suggested. The book is extremely helpful in spelling out the consequences involved in the choice of a particular problem. It should prove informative to philosophers regardless of their allegiance to any one of the four "methods" discussed by Bochenski.—L. W. (shrink)
Fr. Seidel sees "the crisis of creativity" as a perennial issue facing man, forcing him to make decisive choices that ultimately affect his destiny. The basic concern of the book is to analyze the creative process itself which Seidel does not accept as an irrational, brute eruption into consciousness. While recognizing the importance of the unconscious, he attempts to bring out those factors that are not immune to analysis. Drawing on insights of Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Freud, James, and Bergson, Seidel (...) discusses the significance of "selective forgetting," remembering, and the association of ideas. According to the author, creativity is a process that should be taken account of in the conscious reflections of philosophers. He feels its neglect in much modern and contemporary philosophy can be attributed to a fundamentally misleading conception of the importance of methodology that found its way into philosophy with Bacon and Descartes. The search for the single right method, which when found and exercised would yield "truth," is thus seen as concomitant with the denigration of an intuitive basis for knowledge. For Seidel, this is a reversal of the Aristotelian view which acknowledges the instrumental character of any method and its subordination to prior insight. Because of its non-technical nature, the book can be read with profit by both professional philosophers and the generally educated public.—L. W. (shrink)
A book whose primary concern is to show the possibility of making objective value judgments within a context that acknowledges the inescapable historicity of the human situation. Mr. Stern discusses problems such as the nature of historical reality, the difference between past and present history, the questionable presuppositions of a teleological philosophy of history, and the confrontation in modernity between a doctrine of natural right and that of historicism. While accepting a kind of relativism consequent upon an historicist position, the (...) author finds a locus for objective moral evaluation in the universality of the human project. That men of all times are born, live, suffer, die, and welcome that which conduces to human well-being, enables us to condemn civilizations that have thwarted the human endeavor to conserve life. Although the means at the disposal of men to carry out the human project differ in different historical periods, what remains unalterable, according to Mr. Stern, is that at all times men praise what conduces to health and relieves suffering. While the author gives many cogent arguments in favor of his position, the "ontological status" of the universal human project remains, in the last analysis, problematic. To overcome historicism in the way that Mr. Stern sets out to do requires a more rigorous theory of knowledge and being than he offers us.—L. W. W. (shrink)
An ambitious work that attempts to rethink the Meditations with Descartes. Beginning with a thorough discussion of the meaning of method in the Meditations and its role in Descartes' philosophy as a whole, Beck has written a detailed and scholarly work that tries to be as sympathetic as one can perhaps be to the Cartesian enterprise. Beck defends Descartes against criticisms made primarily by his contemporaries rather than by more recent philosophers, although these latter are given some acknowledgement. The book (...) can be read most profitably conjointly with the Meditations themselves, and like most commentaries, tends to become somewhat dense when read apart from its specific subject matter. Beck's most illuminating comments concern the significance of the order of the proofs for God and hence Descartes' own understanding of the ontological argument, and the perspective in which Descartes himself viewed the "mind-body" problem. Drawing heavily on Descartes' personal letters for the clarification of his philosophy, the book is undoubtedly an important contribution to an understanding of the contemporary relevance of Descartes when read on his own terms instead of from the point of view of a particular philosophic school.—L. W. (shrink)
A highly interesting selection of readings in political philosophy, drawing on specifically political thinkers as well as on recent work in sociology and psychology. Thus, there are selections from Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Bentham, Mill, Marx, and Engels, as well as from Weber, Riesman and Erikson. Wolff discusses the reasons for his selections in his introduction where he indicates the peculiar kind of relevance he believes empirical data to have for both "analytic" and "normative" political thought. An article by (...) Wolff, entitled "An Analysis of the Concept of Political Loyalty" is included in the readings. The book itself has two main divisions: "The Individual and the State," and "The Individual and Society." Given the wealth of sources from which it draws, the highly interesting introductory material, the illuminating comments by Wolff preceding each selection, and his suggestions for further reading, Political and Social Man is a valuable book for all those concerned with the present status of political theory.—L. W. (shrink)