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)
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)
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)
This chapter introduces W.E.B. Du Bois’s original political thought and his strategies for political advocacy. It is limited to explaining the pressure he puts on the liberal social contract tradition, which prioritizes the public values of freedom and equality for establishing fair and inclusive terms of political membership. However, unlike most liberal theorists, Du Bois’s political thought concentrates on the politics of race, colonialism, gender, and labor, among other themes, in order to redefine how political theorists and activists should build (...) a democratic polity that is truly free and equal for all. Additionally, this chapter defines some key concepts Du Bois developed to scrutinize a white-controlled world that does not welcome black and brown persons as moral equals. These trailblazing concepts include: the doctrine of racialism, double consciousness, and Pan-Africanism. Finally, this chapter defends Du Bois’s contributions to black feminist thought and American labor politics, which inspired major social justice movements in the twentieth century, in which he played a notable role. (shrink)
While it has been omitted by numerous critics in their otherwise comprehensive readings of Yeats’s oeuvre, “Beautiful Lofty Things” has been placed among the mythical poems, partly in accordance with Yeats’s own intention; in a letter to his wife, he suggested that “Lapis Lazuli, the poem called ‘To D. W.’ ‘Beautiful Lofty Things,’ ‘Imitated from the Japanese’ & ‘Gyres’... would go well together in a bunch.” The poem has been inscribed in the Yeats canon as registering a series of fleeting (...) epiphanies of the mythical in the mundane. However, “Beautiful Lofty Things,” evocative of a characteristically Yeatsian employment of myth though it certainly is, seems at the same time to fuse Yeats’s quite earthly preoccupations. It is here argued that the poem is organized around a tightly woven matrix of figures that comprise Yeats’s idea of the Irish nation as a “poetical culture.” Thus the position of the lyric in the poet’s oeuvre deserves to be shifted from periphery towards an inner part of his cultural and political ideas of the time. Indeed, the poem can be viewed as one of Yeats’s central late comments on the state of the nation and, significantly, one in which he is able to proffer a humanist strategy for developing a culturally modern state rather than miring his argument in occasionally over-reckless display of abhorrence of modernity. (shrink)