The "anti-Judaist" attitudes of Kant, Hegel and Toynbee are studied. Kant was probably influenced by Jewish reformers of his time. Hegel's attitude, which developed over years, is far more interesting and complex than Toynbee's. But all three must be charged with having been somewhat unscholarly in endowing such attitudes with a systematic significance, and with having tried to force concrete historical facts to fit preconceived schemata.--W. L. M.
A volume of the Prentice-Hall "Contemporary Perspectives in Philosophy Series," this is largely a second intentional discussion by way of anthology. The articles by Malcolm, Ryle, Austin and Cavell seek to explain and defend their own conceptions of philosophy, the latter in direct reply to Mates, whose article is a critique of the movement. The editor's brief introduction is excellent, and the selection of articles highlights nicely the differences of opinion among ordinary language philosophers, while pointing to the essential unity (...) of their thought and problems.--M. W. (shrink)
A massive series of meticulous clarifications and arguments is marshalled to attempt to refute, first, the doctrine that all relations are "internal", next, the claims that coherence is the sole criterion of the nature of truth, and finally, the theory of degrees of truth and falsity. The author's great familiarity with the literature of the coherence theorists proves almost a drawback: he prefers to cite texts extensively, but must then acknowledge important differences among them. There is little in the way (...) of a constructive alternative theory of truth, but the criticism is formidable.--W. L. M. (shrink)
Religion in the generic sense is presented as an irreducible mode of human judgment. By emphasizing the generic character of religion Arnett sets himself against the "sectarians," those who would claim unique worth for a particular tradition. By arguing for the irreducible nature of religious judgment he opposes himself to the "secularists," those who would reduce religion to some other mode of judgment, or to a non-cognitive status. The strongest chapters are the third and fourth, which deal with the relation (...) of religion to morality and art, respectively. While vigorous arguments are presented against those who tend to identify religion with one or the other, e.g., Dewey and Santayana, the problems are not oversimplified, and careful attention is given to the affinities as well as the discontinuities involved. The discussion of religion and truth deals more with the generic value of religious judgment than with the question of the truth of particular religious judgments.—M. W. (shrink)
After a survey sketch of the development of analytic philosophy and its application to problems in philosophy of religion during the 1950's, Clarke argues that the non-descriptive functions of religious language depend on its descriptive functions and that the central problem of natural theology, upon which all revealed theology depends for its meaningfulness, is to show that the statement "There is a God" is both necessary and descriptive. To this end its first task is to provide a precise definite description (...) of God for which this may be done. His own suggestions are Hartshornean, carrying with them the explicit argument that traditional conceptions are not viable. In an interesting twist of a Kantian theme it is argued that the ontological argument depends for its success on the cosmological argument. The more general question of the possibility of metaphysics in the light of linguistic philosophy is treated in chapters devoted to the descriptive character of necessary statements and the logical requirements for setting up a metaphysical language. The chapter on the application of symbolic logic to natural theology might well have been included as an appendix, for its inclusion in the main text tends to fragment an essay which is already none too unified.—M. W. (shrink)
Van der Poel’s book is a relatively comprehensive essay in ethics or, more properly, moral theology, providing outlines of a theological anthropology necessary for understanding man as a moral agent, a suggested process for determining the value of human actions, a consideration of conscience, and a discussion of virtue and vice. Van der Poel lays great stress on man’s historicity and the conditioned nature of moral laws and principles. He likewise attacks a naive dualism and proposes a view of man (...) influenced to considerable extent by contemporary existential phenomenology. The thought of Merleau-Ponty is quite strongly reflected in the anthropology proposed. Perhaps the most original section of the work is the one dealing with the evaluation of man’s moral acts. Van der Poel sharply distinguishes between the "material result" or physical activity and the agent’s intention and maintains that the "human reality" of the act is an interpenetration of these two aspects and that its moral worth is ultimately to be judged by "its impact upon the well-being of the individual and the human society." This view seems to have some kinship with utilitarian ethics, for it seems to make the final criterion of moral activity rest in its consequences. The comments of Paul Ramsey concerning the function of an "exception-making criterion" seem applicable to Van der Poel’s analysis of moral activity, and his way of describing human acts seems open to the same kind of criticism that Eric D'Arcy applied to the extreme utilitarianism of J. J. C. Smart in his Moral Acts: An Essay in their Evaluation.—W. E. M. (shrink)
Contains extensive and uninterrupted selections from Plato, Aristotle, Butler, Hume, Kant, Mill, Moore, Ayer, and Toulmin. An introductory essay discusses agent morality vs. action morality, self-interest and benevolence, feeling and reason, rules and consequences, particular actions and general practices, and ethical absolutism vs. ethical relativism with reference, for the most part, to the selections which follow. The only disappointing selection is Plato's, which fails to contain any of Plato's own positive ethical theory.—M. W.
This is a rambling and rather slow moving essay in metaphilosophy, though it is not so "meta" that the war in Vietnam does not get discussed. It embodies the broadest concept of philosophy's function and an unmitigated optimism in its capacities. Dogmatism, the chief obstacle to philosophic progress, is analyzed in terms of the interests and emotional motivations which underlie basic theoretical presuppositions. Its twofold cure involves the Spinozistic doctrine that the passions are best rendered meek by bringing them to (...) the light of consciousness, and the Hegelian doctrine that conflicting tendencies can only be harmonized by finding a larger context in which they become complementary. The illustration of this technique in the chapter on Eastern and Western philosophies, focusing on the concepts of reason and freedom, is the high point of the book, along with the chapter on ordinary language philosophy. The discussions of existentialism and Marxism are disappointing.—M. W. (shrink)
The major portion of the book is devoted to careful and detailed historical analysis of two traditions of theodicy in Christian theology, the Augustinian and the Irenaean. The latter, though foreshadowed by the second century Bishop of Lyons, was first fully developed by Schleiermacher. Both traditions are traced right up to the contemporary scene in English theology and systematically compared. The last five chapters are devoted to the author's own constructive theodicy which grows out of the Irenaean tradition. He finds (...) the ultimate solution to the problem of evil in a doctrine of universal salvation.—M. W. (shrink)
Never neglecting the theological psychology which underlies the Augustinian outlook, Deane interprets his political theory in terms of two conflicting tendencies. The dominant one is his "politics of imperfection" according to which the state has the negative functions of keeping peace and punishing overt evil. But there gradually emerges alongside it a theocratic view of the state according to which it can serve as an arm of the church in suppressing heresy. While noting that it was the latter aspect which (...) received more development in the Middle Ages, Deane suggests that the contemporary relevance of Augustine's theory is the realism which pervades the former. In the light of the scattered nature of Augustine's writing on political questions, the extensive quotation both in the text and in notes is quite useful.—M. W. (shrink)
A concise set of speculations regarding principal divine attributes. Part I outlines these themes as treated by fourteen historical philosophers. Part II is a systematic reconsideration and reordering of such notions as infinity, form, and self-sufficiency, which Sontag considers central. Freedom of will, hence some degree of contingency, he concludes, must be allowed in a modern concept of God, thereby altering notions of God's unity, power, motion, etc. --W. L. M.
The title refers to Anselm's insight into the modal uniqueness of the divine existence and the proof based upon it in Proslogium III. Hartshorne continues his vigorous defense of "the Proof," his polemic against its critics, most of whom confuse it with the weaker one in Proslogium II, and his attempt to show that Anselm's discovery is ultimately viable only in the context of neo-classical theism. In the second half of the book a variety of responses to the proof, from (...) Gaunilo to several contemporaries, are examined and criticized. While this does not add substantially to the presentation and defense of the argument given in the first half, it does provide ample evidence of the way in which a host of philosophical questions are brought into sharp focus by reflecting on Anselm. Some of these, e.g., the theory of modalities, receive important attention which was lacking in The Logic of Perfection. The author's own position has not changed, though he now seems more impressed than previously by Barth's treatment of Anselm.—M. W. (shrink)
One of the first volumes to appear in "The Princeton Series--Humanistic Scholarship in America," this book sustains a vigorous defense of religion as a proper field of study within the liberal arts curriculum. A comprehensive description of the present status of religious studies at undergraduate, seminary and graduate levels is combined with the attempt to raise and answer the numerous problems associated therewith. Candid and persuasive answers are given to such concrete questions as departmental vs. diffusionist structures, curriculum balance, and (...) the relation of religion to pre-theological training, but the touchy subjects of indoctrination and sectarian influence suffer from a lapse into generalities.--M. W. (shrink)
While the methods and results of this classic work have been modified considerably by later Bultmannians, its translation now gives the English reader several opportunities: 1) To see "form criticism" at the spade-work level. 2) To judge the degree to which "form critical" results rest upon arguments from form alone. 3) To see in detail the historical skepticism which underlies the better known existential theology of the author. The supplement to the third edition. extends the original documentation of 1921.--M. W.
Included are eight essays by Collingwood from the period of 1921 to 1930, and introductory essay by the editor which adroitly summarizes the later views of The Idea of History and An Autobiography and discusses the relation of the early essays to them, and a bibliography of works by and about Collingwood, including a list of reviews of his books. One of the essays is a sympathetic critique of Croce, another a devastating attack on Spengler. The others discuss the nature (...) of historical-knowledge, its relation to scientific knowledge, the nature of philosophy of history, and such special problems as the theory of cycles and the idea of progress. On the whole, as the editor suggests, the relation to the later writings is that of continuity and anticipation.—M. W. (shrink)
The first five essays, including the title essay, are a stimulating contribution to contemporary discussion in philosophical theology. Their most striking feature is the attempted synthesis of Heideggerian-Bultmannian existentialism with Hartshorne's neo-classical metaphysics. Unlike Hartshorne, Ogden gives particular attention to the moral argument for God's reality, drawing heavily on the work of Stephen Toulmin, and engaging the atheism of Sartre and Camus in provocative fashion, in both the title essay and in "The Strange Witness of Unbelief." The final three essays (...) treat specifically Christian problems within the context of the philosophical framework previously developed—How is Jesus Christ God's unique and decisive act in history? What does it mean to call him Lord? What is the meaning of Christian eschatology? An explicit discussion of the relation between the theologian as philosopher and the theologian as Christian witness would have been helpful, since it is difficult to gather precisely what Ogden thinks of this relation by comparing the final three with the first five essays.—M. W. (shrink)
Christian secularism is here the equivalent of theistic naturalism. It is sharply distinguished both from the more radical secularism of Van Buren and the death of God theologians, and from the supernaturalism of traditional Christian views of history, which deny its autonomy by affirming special divine breakthroughs into it and a mode of human existence transcending it. The book is less a case for Christian secularism than an account of what it is, or rather, what it is not. Its three (...) divisions are entitled "Faith," "History," and "Secularism."—M. W. (shrink)