Betrachtet man den Gebrauch der Worte ‘Moral’ und ‘Vernunft’ etwas genauer, so stellt man fest, dass nicht klar ist, was sie bezeichnen bzw. wie Moral und Vernunft zusammenhängen. In dem Buch ‘Rationalität in der Angewandten Ethik’, in dem sich verschiedene Autoren die Aufgabe gestellt haben, diese Umstände in das Licht der Betrachtung zu rücken, finden wir Fragen darüber, wie “Moral”, “Angewandte Ethik” und “Vernunft” (auch in der Anwendung) zu verstehen und zu vereinen sind.
Designed to complement the editors' earlier selection, The Social and Political Philosophy of Jacques Maritain, this book arranges its material in six sections: theory of knowledge, metaphysics, ethics, esthetics, politics, and philosophy of history, with the editors contributing a one-page or two-page introduction to each section. The texts, taken from some fifteen of Maritain's works and in some cases published for the first time in English, are well chosen and interesting in themselves, but are too brief to present fully developed (...) arguments. This raises the question of the audience being aimed at. The book is not coherent enough to serve as a serious introduction to Maritain or to modern Thomism; it is rather a "sampler," and might be most useful as a kind of bedside book for those already acquainted with Maritain.--W. B. K. (shrink)
These essays were originally presented at the first of an annual series of seminars in the humanities at John Hopkins. To avoid imposing an artificial unity on the subject, the contributors were deliberately left unguided in their choice of subject and method. The result of this policy is a rich and stimulating collection ranging from gardens to musicology. Reproductions of paintings and copious printings of musical scores show that no expense was spared to make the book as useful as possible. (...) Of greatest interest to philosophers are George Boas's witty demolition of "the age of reason" as a description for the period, J. A. Passmore on "the malleability of man," Isaiah Berlin's long reconsideration of Herder, Alfred Cobban on "the Enlightenment and the French Revolution," and Henry Guerlac on Newton's place in intellectual history.—W. B. K. (shrink)
Father Etcheverry examines four varieties of humanism: rationalist-idealist, existentialist, Marxist, and Christian. For each of the first three varieties he centers his analysis on one or two individuals: Leon Brunschvicg, Sartre and Camus, and Marx and Engels respectively. He writes as a committed Christian humanist, arguing that only a relationship with God enables man to become truly man. All other varieties of humanism prevent this full development by raising to absolute status one or another of man's essential properties—reason, liberty, matter, (...) sociability, etc.—and subordinating him too exclusively to that property alone.—W. B. K. (shrink)
Though considerably indebted to Raymond Aron, this book is primarily a distinguished historian's personal statement, on a fairly elementary level, of the meaning of the historian's vocation. Marrou's main principle is that "history and the historian are inseparable," that historical knowledge, like other kinds of knowledge, results from an interaction of subject and object. "Facts" have no meaning apart from the concepts that order them. The positivist position that historical knowledge can and should be "purely objective" produces only an extremely (...) impoverished kind of history. But Marrou has no place for rampant subjectivism. The historian must open himself to the real quiddity of the documents he studies, instead of trying to make them fit his theories; getting to know a document, like getting to know a person, is an existential encounter. Marrou writes repetitiously at times, and the translation is often stiff, but the book is a stimulating introduction.—W. B. K. (shrink)
Beardsley's exposition of his large subject shows lucidity, objectivity, deftness, and a good sense of proportion; and these virtues become more apparent the closer his history approaches the complex diversity of contemporary aesthetic speculation. Especially skillful are the succinct accounts of those aspects of each philosopher's thought which, though not directly concerned with aesthetics, are necessary for a full understanding of his aesthetic theories. Beardsley himself remains neutral, arguing neither for nor against the theories he analyzes. Some may feel that (...) the visual arts are slighted, but this is a minor criticism of a very informative and illuminating book.—W. B. K. (shrink)
West takes his title from Camus, and quotes Camus' definition of absurdity: "the division between the mind that desires and the world that disappoints." The essays, which originally appeared in periodicals, discuss Yeats, Lawrence, Sartre, Camus, Simon Weil, Graham Greene, Santayana, and other modern writers. There is no analysis, either philosophical or literary; West attempts overall estimates of each writer's contribution to the problem of absurdity, but succeeds in providing neither insights for those already familiar with the problem nor useful (...) introductions for the uninitiated. Nor, despite the expectations aroused by the preface, do we get a very strong impression of an individual's encounter with the thinkers from whom he has learned most. In vino vacuitas.—W. B. K. (shrink)
This historical study of the responses that man has tried to give to the problem of death-"If I must some day die, what can I do to satisfy my desire to live?" as defined by Fr. Dunne—is occasionally turgid but more often provocative and enlightening. From the dawn of history in Mesopotamia to the present, the book investigates the political and literary consequences of different answers to this question and of different attitudes toward death in general. Although the book's organization (...) is chronological, it is explicitly oriented to contemporary concerns, with Nietzsche's statement that "God is dead" serving as a unifying leit-motif. The most rewarding sections are the discussions of Homer's epics and the analysis of the confusions between the right to life and the right over life that are traced from Calvin, Luther, Hobbes, and Rousseau to modern totalitarianism.—W. B. K. (shrink)
Allen begins with a general survey of "atheism and atheists" in the Renaissance, gives brief sketches of six individual "atheists"—Pomponazzi, Cardano, Vanini, Montaigne, Charron, Bodin—devotes chapters to rational theology against atheism and to reason and immorality, and closes with a portrait of the "atheist redeemed" in the person of the Earl of Rochester, the arch-rake of the Restoration who was converted during his final illness. He points out that during this period "atheist" usually meant no more than a person whose (...) theology did not agree fully with that of the name-caller, and that none of the thinkers he mentions merited the term in any strict sense. The book is a wide-ranging, erudite survey without much attempt at either analysis in depth or synthesis, but Allen's somewhat Voltairean point of view helps give it form.—W. B. K. (shrink)
Although the essays in this book vary a good deal in quality, they all distort the eighteenth century to some extent by concentrating on its "modernity," about the scope of which, to increase the confusion, none of the authors is very explicit. One essay treats the emergence of scientific thought quite superficially; another presents Jacobi as an anti-type of Goethe and a fore-runner of existentialism. Herbert Dieckmann argues against the common "from classic to romantic" view of eighteenth-century aesthetic history. Ernest (...) Mossner characterizes "the enlightenment of David Hume," seeing him as a liberator of the mind from its various idols and reiterating his view that Hume was only a "mitigated sceptic." Dietrich Ritschl emphasizes Semler's contribution to the historical study of the Bible; his essay also contains, but only implicitly, some warnings for today's aggiornamento theologians.—W. B. K. (shrink)
Margolis's main concern is to clarify aesthetic terminology, and especially to distinguish between normative and descriptive uses of such terms as "taste" and "aesthetic." His own definition of a work of art, however, "an artifact considered with respect to its design," hardly improves on the definitions he criticizes. Some of the problems he discusses can be seen as versions of the One and the Many: e.g., the relation between a symphony and its different performances or between a poem and the (...) different interpretations it gives rise to. Among the more interesting chapters are those on figurative language and on "truth and reference in fiction."—W. B. K. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie (1976) II An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner; textual editor W. B. Todd, 2 vols. (1976) III Essays on Philosophical Subjects, ed. W. P. D. Wightman ...
Principled discussions of civil rights became inherently less likely as a direct result of the observation by Earl Warren, in Brown v. Board of Education, that, respecting freedmen, “Education of Negroes was almost non-existent, and practically all of the race were illiterate,” and in proportion as that observation increasingly became the foundation of common opinion on the subject. Warren's observation was not true in any meaningful or non-trivial sense. Nevertheless, it served to perpetuate the myth of a backward people needing (...) help to catch up instead of the truth of a people being held back. That is the perspective – the disadvantaged group perspective – that ultimately infected all discussion of civil rights, even after the designation of so-called “disadvantaged groups” had been extended beyond American blacks. To define civil rights, we may well begin with what all mankind would likely recognize. Thus the dictionary definition of “civil rights” stands: “the rights that belong to all individuals in a nation or community touching property, marriage, and the like.” In that definition the term “rights” may be further expanded to mean “legitimate claims,” following the definition of right as law – as “a claim or title or interest in anything whatever that is enforceable by law.” This definition applies with minimal distinction of regimes intruding and, therefore, without the host of recent complications in the United States that create the impression that civil rights have something to do with pluralism. Previously, the generic definition was thought to exhaust the meaning of the term in the United States. (shrink)
None of Peirce's most recent interpreters fall clearly into only one of these classes. All are expositors, critics, and innovators. Yet their emphases differ, and the classification serves to highlight them. W. B. Gallie, for instance, is mainly interested in introducing the general reader to the broadest line of Peirce's thought on pragmatism. He does this appreciatively, with skillful fluency. Yet he also advances a critical thesis about the meanings Peirce gave to "pragmatism," and he tests the compatibility of Peirce's (...) metaphysical and logical writings with suggestive results. Manley Thompson's book has, on the other hand, a more formal cast throughout. It is "offered as an essential propaedeutic to the determination of Peirce's place in the history of ideas". With closest care it traces the development of Peirce's pragmatic philosophy, setting out an ordered, definitive statement of what Peirce said, driving finally to a brief evaluation of the whole philosophy in which the pragmatic maxim is a principle. Lastly, the Studies in the Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce contains essays of all three emphases: there are biographical, historical, and elucidating essays; there are critical ones that quibble to distraction and critical ones that excite to construction; and finally, there are a few that go through Peirce to continue inquiry on topics in ethics, logic, and metaphysics. (shrink)