In Plato's Gorgias, Gorgias of Leontini, a famous teacher of rhetoric, has come to Athens to recruit students, promising to teach them how to become leaders in politics and business. A group has gathered at Callicles' house to hear Gorgias demonstrate the power of his art. This dialogue blends comic and serious discussion of the best human life, providing a penetrating examination of ethics, the foundations of knowledge, and the nature of the good.
This is a tough-minded book, written in a clear, even-toned, flat and uncompromising style. There are no concessions to time and place: all is a matter of true premises and valid argument. Sainsbury presents Russell's arguments in a manner always cogent, usually lucid and occasionally with remarkable insight. More perhaps than in other volumes in this series, the arguments are not only of the philosopher at hand, but pre-eminently for professional philosophers. The arguments are for the most part those (...) adduced by Russell in support of his doctrines of logical atomism and hence for various claims about language, knowledge, and the world. Sainsbury has deliberately chosen to limit his discussion to these topics, thus omitting reference to Russell's moral and political philosophy and to some topics in philosophical psychology. The choice was a useful one, enabling Sainsbury to trace themes beginning in chapters on "Meaning," "Names," "Descriptions," and "The Perfect Language," to those on "Knowledge," "Ontology," and "Mathematics.". (shrink)
This book contains three essays: "The Mask and the Face: The Perception of Physiognomic Likeness in Life and Art" by Gombrich, the renowned art historian and critic; "The Representation of Things and People" by psychologist, Julian Hochberg; and "How Do Pictures Represent" by philosopher, Max Black. The book is based upon lectures delivered in the Johns Hopkins 1970 Thalheimer Lectures, where, taking off from the question "how there can be an underlying identity in the manifold and changing facial expression of (...) a single individual," there is an interdisciplinary attempt at clarifying the problem of representation. Gombrich’s central thesis is that the key to artistic representation is empathy and projection, which is guided by the interlocking display of the permanent and mobile features of the object represented. Perceptual activity and empathy rely more on the muscular imitation than on passive visual reception. He holds that what is singled out as the likeness-factor uniting the permanent and mobile features in, for example, the photograph of the four-year old Lord Russell and such factors in the ninety-year old Russell is the "general tonus, the melody of transition from given ranges of relaxations to forms of tenseness." Hochberg’s essay spells out the position that perception is purposive behavior, wherein the purpose is the information sought and behavior is the "succession of glances in different directions." Holding that perceptual activity is grounded in expectations, he lays aside Gombrich’s muscularity-thesis in favor of a learned expectation of feature characteristics. Black’s essay is a conceptual analysis of "depiction," or more precisely, of "P displays a subject S if and only if R, where R ‘will constitute the necessary and sufficient condition for P displaying S'." The essay, which proceeds in a Wittgensteinian Investigations-type fashion ends where the reader would hope it begin. He concludes that the problem can only be adequately answered by moving from logical investigation to the world of the artisan and art lover. To arrive at this conclusion he debunks six candidates that claim to meet the depiction conditions: causal history, selective information, intention, mimesis, resemblance, and "looking-like." At best, depiction may be considered a "cluster" concept of all six. Further determination, he holds, requires knowledge of the purpose of a particular depiction, and this takes us out of logic and into art; and so Black stops, unfortunately.—W. A. F. (shrink)
This is a nonsense book. It summarizes essential tenets of Pölätüöism, which is the definitive reconciliation of modern science and Roman Catholicism, and chronicles the long and eventful life of its founder. Although neither the cleverness nor the taste maintains a uniform excellence, there is much delightful satire on recent philosophy and religion. Pölätüö's interview with Russell, and his paper "On the Reality of the Soul and on the Reality of Onion," are two of the highlights.--W. L. M.
This book is made up of three rather superficial essays by Russell, hardly more than tapes of lectures given years and years ago. It's a pity that Russell, or someone, sanctions such bowdlerizing of what was once philosophical profundity. Russell is at his acerbic worst in these essays, shallow and intolerant.--W. A. J.
Seemingly, every mental act has a content or subject-matter. When I think, imagine, or hear, there appears to be a content or subject-matter of my thinking, imagining, or hearing. Now, what the difference is between this kind of content and the content of nonmental containers or containings, is a question which has beguiled even those thinkers, such as Ryle in England and physicalists in America, who are disinclined to recognize the mental as a separate ontic domain. When the problem of (...) isolating the nature of mental content or subject-matter was revived in the 19th century, Franz Brentano followed the Scholastics in calling these contents "intentions." The editor of the present volume, while noting that the concept of "intentionality has played a very central role in such philosophical movements as phenomenology, existentialism, and neo-Scholasticism," brings out the fact that this concept also, in recent years, was taken up by "philosophers in the analytical tradition as a powerful conceptual tool...." Seminal writings on the nature of intentionality by Frege, Russell, Carnap, Hempel, Ryle, Quine, Chisholm, Wilfrid Sellars, Thomas Nagel, Aune, Linsky, Hintikka, and others are brought together in this well-organized anthology, along with an introduction, a supplement containing unpublished Sellars correspondence with David M. Rosenthal, a bibliographical essay, and an index.—W. G. (shrink)
A selection of the published papers of Russell on the subjects of logic and epistemology. Included are "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism," "On Denoting," and "Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types." Each essay is preceeded by some remarks by the editor on the context and history of the essay.--W. T.