My title has been taken from the following passage in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : Describe the aroma of coffee—why can't it be done? Do we lack the words? And for what are words lacking?—But how do we get the idea that such a description must after all be possible? Have you ever felt the lack of such a description? Have you tried to describe the aroma and not succeeded?
In 1954 F. R. Leavis wrote to the Times Literary Supplement taking issue with one of its reviewers. The reviewer had contrasted Leavis's approach to Shakespeare with that of Empson and Bradley. The latter, the reviewer had said, ‘like the plain man, or the audience in a theatre, cannot help considering the situation [in one of Shakespeare's plays] as “actual” and the characters as “real”’. Leavis, the reviewer had implied, treats the situation and characters somewhat differently.
This is a very useful collection of important, standard, primary sources. Two-thirds of volume one is taken up with Plato and Aristotle with the rest of the volume evenly divided among the Presocratics, Hellenistic philosophers and Medieval philosophers. Four of the Platonic dialogues are complete. Second edition changes in the first volume include: changes in translators and new entries. In both volumes Kaufmann's prefaces are very brief and mainly biographical. He consistently ties in information about each thinker's contemporaries. The second (...) volume has readings from Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Almost half the second volume is taken up with Hume and Kant. The second edition changes in volume II are: expansion of Spinoza's Ethics, Locke's Essay, Berkeley's Principles; and additions of Descartes' correspondence with Princess Elizabeth, and a short Leibniz essay translated especially for this volume by M. Furth. The selections are adequately long and representational. The volumes contain double columns, no index, no bibliographies, no "Study Guides," just solid and important reading.--S. O. H. (shrink)