Basing his detailed exposition of Barth's understanding of our knowledge of the divine existence chiefly on volume II, part 1 of the Church Dogmatics, this American Catholic scholar exhibits the thorough-going consistency of Barth's exclusively a prioristic approach, while indicating some fundamental difficulties for it, and arguing the superiority of the Thomist position. One of the fundamental issues discussed is whether God discloses himself only through special, "vertical" acts of grace, or whether, as the Thomists affirm, the abstractive power of (...) the intellect, itself a gift of God, may not apprehend the radical dependence of all finite things on a first, unique, cause. The critical problem is whether or not the perfect certitude of faith demands a "sacrifice of the intellect," as Barth seems to contend.--P. K. J. (shrink)
By studying afresh the "act of explanation," the author hopes to achieve a reconciliation of diverse methodologies. Man's own personal being is to be taken as the clue to the nature of our "ultimate explanatory forms."--P. K. J.
These ten essays by members of the Pennsylvania State University Philosophy Department are written in a sophisticated style, and range over problems in metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. They bear out the authors' claim to be "united by nothing more than a sense of the importance and mission of a philosophy which assumes its total responsibilities" and an interest in the classical traditions of Western philosophy.--P. K. J.
"There are no paradoxes in mathematics," says Kurt Gödel. Moreover, Gödel seems to be right on this count. That is, there are no paradoxes, in the strict sense of the word, internal to the known and available body of mathematical knowledge. But while there are no paradoxes in mathematics, there certainly is an embarrassing bag of difficulties when we come to the application of mathematical concepts to the physical world. Of these, perhaps the most unruly offenders of all are the (...) problems proposed about 2500 years ago by Zeno and which, in modern idiom, have to do with the proper mathematical treatment of phenomena involving change and motion, and the physical meaning—if any—which may be assigned to convergent infinite series. At each stage in the growth of mathematical knowledge since their formulation Zeno's paradoxes have been the subject of some alleged resolution. Now Grünbaum contributes to this tradition, and it must be said that he makes a strong case. The weapons in the intellectual arsenal which Grünbaum brings to bear upon Zeno include such sophisticated devices as measure theory, but the weak link in the argument is in the first chapter where the author presents his somewhat psychologistic theory of temporal becoming. Grünbaum has a great many interesting things to say in later chapters about infinite processes, quantum mechanics, and Hilary Putnam. This is a first-rate contribution to the philosophy of physics.—H. P. K. (shrink)
The relations between physical science and technology, and their implications for culture, are investigated. Van Melsen argues that physical science merely extends, though in an abstract manner, man's ordinary methods of gaining knowledge about the world, that science and technology require one another, and that while science and technology threaten to overcome man's control of them, they also offer a great opportunity and stimulus to man's further self-realization.--K. P. F.
An introduction, in a somewhat humorous vein, to philosophy for the layman. The book, a series of brief dialogues between the author and a clothing salesman, deals with certain traditional questions in philosophy, concluding with, as most important, the questions of the existence and nature of God.--K. P. F.
As part of an attempt to reconcile Indian philosophy and Western science, the author here maintains that the methods and theories of contemporary science support idealism rather than materialism. He holds that the world is a primal, undifferentiated field of energy, itself indeterminate and inexpressible, which man conceptually distinguishes in ways determined by "the genetic habit of the race."--K. P. F.
An attempt to come to grips with the problem of how we acquire new concepts or how we develop new theories. Mr. Schon builds his theory on the basis of the idea that we do deal with new situations, or with old situations in new ways, and that we can do so only in terms of "old" theories—concepts which apply literally to other situations. He argues that we do so by "displacing" such concepts, using them as metaphors or projective models (...) for the new situation. This displacement both yields new concepts and conserves old assumptions uncritically. Mr. Schon devotes much attention to the role and nature of the metaphorical use of concepts, yet he fails to develop an explicit theory of their literal use.—K. P. F. (shrink)
Designed to acquaint students who already possess some knowledge of Thomism with modern, non-Thomistic systems of philosophy, this textbook examines the ways in which various modern philosophers have dealt with the problems of the nature and limits of knowledge and presents for comparison the Thomistic solutions to these problems. There are brief selections from the writings of major proponents of the positions considered. The interpretive expositions attempt to be sympathetic and, in view of the amount of abridgement and simplification required (...) by the nature of the text, involve few unhappy omissions or distortions.--K. P. F. (shrink)
This edition is apparently a facsimile reproduction of Andrew Motte's translation of 1729, but no acknowledgment is given. It contains a brief biographical introduction by Alfred Del Vecchio. It omits Newton's prefaces and that of Cotes to the second edition, the latter being of value to those interested in the conflict between Newton's views and those of Descartes. Neither index nor table of contents are provided. In short, a not very helpful edition.—K. P. F.
A clearly written and uncomplicated text, suitable for use with elementary and high school students as well as in college classes. It presents, in thorough detail, the techniques for making deductions, testing for validity, etc., in the logic of sentences and of universal quantification. The exposition rests upon the basic notion of inference according to rules; some fourteen rules of inference are presented and explained. Truth values and truth tables are discussed as means for determining important properties of inferences, e.g., (...) testing for validity of the inference, consistency of the premisses, etc. These techniques are then applied in formulating a simple mathematical system, a set of axioms for addition. The system is then used to illustrate the deduction of theorems with universal quantification.—K. P. F. (shrink)
The nine essays in this collection attempt to define the relationships between classical or scholastic logic and modern symbolic logic, and to apply the formal tools of logistic in the attempt to solve some of the problems with which the older logic had grappled. The first four chapters argue that there is no basic divergence between modern logistic and the classical logic; indeed, the formal parts of these chapters develop a proposed formal system of the categorical syllogism which can be (...) interpreted as a special case of the class calculus. The final five chapters deal with a variety of logico-philosophical problems, including the paradox of the "liar," the logical analysis of existence, and, somewhat informally, the problem of universals. I. M. Bochénski is the author of five of the articles.--K. P. F. (shrink)
This second volume in a series of Source Books in Asian Philosophy contains selections and in several cases complete works, from the writings of Chinese philosophers from Confucian humanism to contemporary communism. Chan maintains a balance between modern, medieval, and ancient thinkers as well as between Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Chan has prefaced each of the 44 chapters with a brief introduction discussing the historical background and relative influence of a school, and has interspersed interpretive comments throughout the texts. Also (...) included are chronological tables of dynasties and philosophers, an appendix on translating Chinese philosophical terms, and a glossary of Chinese characters.--K. P. F. (shrink)
Religion has to do with one's total response to the universe. Mature religion involves a healthy skepticism, a sense of humor, and a respect for persons, accepting only internal gods, and basing itself on the rational processes of scientific thinking. Intertwining with this statement is an attempted analysis of the nature and sources of "immature," "heard" religion, presented in a dogmatic manner--K. P. F.
This collection of essays, presented to William Humbert Kane, O.P., founder of the Albertus Magnus Lyceum, has as its principle of unification the notion that the metaphysics and philosophy of nature of Aristotle, Albertus Magnus, and Thomas Aquinas relate directly and importantly--and more than historically--to modern science in all of its aspects. The general reader will probably find that several of the articles illumine for him aspects of the Aristotelian philosophy as much as they do aspects of modern science.--K. P. (...) F. (shrink)
This volume includes the Sigma XI-RESA National Lectures, 1961; the Sigma XI-Phi Beta Kappa Lecture, 1961; the RESA Proctor Prize Lecture, 1960; and a special Sigma XI Diamond Jubilee presidential article. The latter three are non-technical articles on such topics as trends in and growth of science in this decade, and the interrelations of science and government. The other articles discuss recent experimental and theoretical results in such areas as climatology, magnetic interaction of atomic nuclei, the effects of solar disturbances (...) on terrestrial magnetism, human genetics and evolution, the biophysics of chemoreceptors, astrophysics and cosmogony, and the physics of the plasma state of matter.--K. P. F. (shrink)
While it is primarily a detailed, technical treatise on the principles of the technology of automata, this book does contain some philosophically interesting material. In Part II, devoted to the theoretical construction of robots with consciousness but which exhibit no behavior, Culbertson advances and develops the idea that we can analyze perceptual consciousness in terms of the four dimensional "world-lines" of the transmissions of impulses along neurons, or rather in terms of interconnecting networks of such world lines. In Part III, (...) he argues that consciousness, defined in physical terms, cannot cause behavior. He presents, as an alternative, a doctrine of "historical causation" in which whole extended time periods in the past affect the present—K. P. F. (shrink)
In this essay, a Jewish thinker argues that the world as depicted by science forms a single system: each part is related to all because all are related to a single knower; this single system constitutes a whole which has priority over its parts because it conditions or delimits their behavior. This totality is the unchanging source of all processes, all making actual what had been merely possible. This totality Kohn attempts to define as God, and, taking it for granted (...) that science depicts the universe as undergoing continuous evolution on the whole and within its parts, he attempts to show how such evolution reveals, in the human perspective, that God is creativity. He distinguishes three "levels of being" produced in the course of the cosmic evolution--inorganic matter, sensitivity, conscience--but denies that the arising of any one of these phases involves the super-addition of something new to the preceding ones. He argues that this notion of God answers all religious requirements, and concludes with a warning and a plea regarding the possibility of future evolution in the light of man's ability to exercise conscious control over events.--K. P. F. (shrink)
Though its title suggests a mere orderly exposition of philosophical theses, this book actually presents a series of arguments in step by step development for a frankly Thomistic system of metaphysics. Starting with an acceptance of the "critical attitude" in philosophy, Peters argues that we can find the epistemological ground of "the science of what transcends experience" in our experience of the "to be" of finite beings. He then proceeds to develop the traditional topics of Thomistic metaphysics. In large measure, (...) the arguments advance dialectically by critical consideration of various anti-metaphysical positions. Some of the major premisses of crucial arguments could be questioned by non-Thomists, but the challenges made are provocative.—K. P. F. (shrink)
This provocative, if sketchy, essay develops the theme that, although thought and reality are ultimately distinct, both are elements of one and the same reality--"a communion of living and interacting forces." The presentation recognizes a dialectical character to reality, in the form of opposing thrusts and tendencies, and a plurality of foci of demands to be met, all operating through and partially constituting history. It fails, however, to explicate the movement in the dialectic of reality and to explore the possibility (...) and value of dialectic as a cognitive process.--K. P. F. (shrink)
Illustrates Aristotle's use of a vast number of terms by quoting, for each term, from one to almost forty passages ranging from a brief sentence to a paragraph. References to the loci of the passages in the Bekker edition are given. The book also includes an introduction of 162 pp. by Theodore E. James, consisting of brief summaries of Aristotle's works.--K. P. F.
The seven contributors present the reader with a set of perspectives on the subsequent histories of the central ideas of these great thinkers. The essays focus on the ways in which these ideas were caught up in social movements and had been taken up by others who used them to support programs for radical historical changes, thereby subjecting them to distortions and perversions. The whole book reflects the feeling that history itself has purged away the dross which lay within the (...) original ideas, and that what now remains is either pure gold or later perversions illicitly smuggled in under the cover of various "isms."--K. P. F. (shrink)
Four essays of interest to the philosopher of science. The collection includes three short essays by L. P. Coonen, D. M. Lilly and C. DeKoninck. In the major essay, "Evolution: Scientific and Philosophical Dimensions," R. J. Nogar first presents a detailed analysis of the current status of the concept of evolution, showing that its meaning varies greatly from discipline to discipline. He argues that in view of the great stability of organic species, the consideration of evolutionary processes exclusively as space-time (...) distributions in inadequate, and needs supplementing by a concept of "nature," to explicate the relation between generator and generated, and the facts of heredity.--K. P. F. (shrink)
Written by a chemist, this is a stimulating book. Following somewhat the line taken by men like P. Jordan, Sausgruber argues that "Democritean," mechanistic principles cannot account for life. This phenomenon forces us to look for a non-material spiritual element, which, the author believes, points to a supreme spirit.--K. H.
A text devoted to a study of the early Cartesian work, Regulae ad directionem ingenii. Very few authors deal exclusively with the Regulae, and even fewer try to read it as a unity. Marion aims at both. He contends that the Regulae is a crucial work in the corpus of Descartes. Departing from those critics who read it in terms of the Discours, and finding no texts prior to the Regulae that cast light on this difficult work, he proposes that (...) the Regulae carries its own clue as to how it is to be read. (shrink)
This paper attempts to argue for the theory-ladenness of evidence. It does so by employing and analysing an episode from the history of eighteenth century chemistry. It delineates attempts by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier to construct entirely different kinds of evidence for and against a particular hypothesis from a set of agreed upon observations or (raw) data. Based on an augmented version of a distinction, drawn by J. Bogen and J. Woodward, between data and phenomena it is shown that (...) the role of theoretical auxiliary assumptions is very important in constructing evidence for (or against) a theory from observation or (raw) data. In revolutionary situations, rival groups hold radically different theories and theoretical auxiliary assumptions. These are employed to construct very different evidence from the agreed upon set of observations or (raw) data. Hence, theory resolution becomes difficult. It is argued that evidence construction is a multi-layered exercise and can be disputed at any level. What counts as unproblematic observation or (raw) data at one level may become problematic at another level. The contingency of these constructions and the (un)problematic nature of evidence are shown to be partially dependent upon the scientific knowledge that the scientific community possesses. (shrink)
As the title indicates, Sprague’s book is concerned with the "theoretical background" of Plato’s conception of the philosopher-king. This theoretical intention is explained in the preface to consist in focusing on the philosopher-king "as man of art or science, rather than as head of state". It is never quite clear in her account, however, how such a distinction between a theoretical and a political framework is justified. As Sprague’s own discussion in the later portions of the book testifies, the philosophical (...) statesman’s art cannot really be separated from his function as the head of a state. (shrink)