A publication by Professor Margenau is always of interest to persons concerned with philosophy of science. This is especially true, however, of his recently published book, The Nature of Physical Reality; for this book, dealing with basic epistemological problems arising from the development of modern quantum mechanics, is the most comprehensive and most systematic formulation of its author's philosophical position and is at the same time conceived as a “challenge” to “uncritical realism, unadorned operationalism, and radical empiricism”—to points of view, (...) that is, which Professor Margenau regards as “outmoded and in disharmony with the successful phases of contemporary physics”. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:BOOK REVIEWS 97 supposed by actual idealism is above all moral and involves what Gentile describes as an aspect of divinity or infinity,as well as a concrete, historical aspect. The following chapter treats of the philosophy of "actual" idealism and compares the views of Kant and Gentile on relations between moral conscience and freedom. According to Yalentini, Gentile's idealism is essentially an ethical view. This chapter concludes with noting (...) that Gentile 's solution to the problem of historical knowledge differs profoundly from that of Hegel and Croce. For "reason" is not, for Gentile, a particular interpretation of historical process, but is rather the "reason" of consciousness in activity. In Chapter In, Valentini discusses Gentile's views on art and religion. The section on art concludes with a comparison between Gentile on feeling and Kant on the transcendental unity of apperception. Whereas art is supposed to be one abstract moment of spirit, religion is the other abstract moment. Valentini suggests that Gentile and Feuerbach hold similar religious views on the attributes of divinity, which are nothing other than the loftiest qualities which man feels to possess in his essence. The history of religion is then the history of the progressive humanization of God. Gentile's religion represents a sort of modem Catholicism in that it understands revelation as a fact of conscience, church as a historical institution, dogma as having a negative character and God as a member of the dialogue between God and man. Moreover, Gentile's Catholicism has a national character; it is the religion of the Italian people. Chapter Iv treats of the relations between individual and state. For, according to Gentile, an individual is inconceivableapart from the social relations which lie within him. Here Valentini distinguishes in detail the differences and similarities between the views of Hegel and Gentile on the relations between state and individual. The differences between the views of these two philosophers are due to the differences between their methods. The method of Hegel is empirical and historical, and examines the state (which remains historical) from an external point of view. According to an idealistic method, however, thought is not to be the spectator of a process, but in every instance, an actor, and philosophizing does not result from an analysis of historical reality, but from the negation of this reality in the name of an ideal, which philosophy is to draw from it (reality). The Appendix includes a critical evaluation of the theory of the dialectic. Here Valentini hopes to distinguish between the imaginary and the real or historical applications of the dialectic. He begins his evaluation by asking: Does the doctrine of the dialectic, like the philosophy of idealism, possess negative connotations, which cannot be separated from it? Valentini suggests that in order to answer this question, we must determine the extent to which the dialectical scheme is constitutive of every concept or truth in general. For this is the way in which Hegel intended that the dialectic be understood and evaluated. Some views in Hegel's philosophy of nature are then criticized according to empirical criteria. In conclusion, Valentini attempts to answer both "internal" and "external" criticisms of Marx's view of the dialectic, and shows that there are problems involved in its application, which still have to be resolved. Mv~ M. MILBURN 9 ~an Jos~ ~ate College Husserl und Kant: eine Untersuchung ~ber Husserls Verh~iltni~ zu Kant und zum Neubantianismus. By Iso Kern. (The Hague : Martinus Nijhoff, 1964.Pp. xxiii q- 448.) This is a very important book. In fact, it is indispensable for a study of Husserl and is, at the same time, almost as valuable for a study of Kant, for it deals with the kind of searching questions that must be asked when one deals with transcendental idealism in any one of its forms. But two reasons in particular, make this book significant. One is the fact that Iso Kern was able to make extensive use of hitherto unpublished materials (manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, etc.), available only in the Husserl Archives and here quoted for the first time--and 98 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY quoted in great numbers. The other is Kern's philosophical competence... (shrink)
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“My only pride is that I am a human being—ein Mensch.” So Kant wrote in one of his Marginalia in his copy of the “Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen” of 1764. And he confessed that he had learned from Rousseau “to honor man.” But we may well ask, What really is at issue here?
The subtitle of this book—Letzbegründung, Subjektivität und praktische Vernunft im transzendentalen Idealismus—clearly defines the topic of this work of 296 closely argued pages. What the author attempts is a basic criticism of transcendental philosophy with respect to the intrinsic beginning of that philosophy in the different interpretations of Fichte and Husserl.
This book is, in effect, a supplement to the author’s The Search for Concreteness: Reflections on Hegel and Whitehead. It deals with a problematic which is not merely Hegelian or merely Whiteheadian. The discussions of the points of view of Peirce, Popper, Wieman, and of other “perspectives” is proof of this. But, as the author states, his concern is “to salvage the core of the Hegelian account of concrete actuality as grasped a prior by setting it within a context in (...) which hypothetical reason is also accorded a clearly defined role.”. (shrink)
In the introduction the author states that his aim is “to determine whether Kant’s moral thought should be called ‘teleological’.” In his conclusion he admits that “several puzzling aspects of Kant’s moral thought have been illuminated [and] several erroneous interpretations have been corrected.” Both statements are true. But it is also true that some problems still remain.
This book, Volume 21 of the Synthese Historical Library, is one of the more important publications in recent years pertaining to Kant’s philosophy. It deals specifically with Kant’s precritical writings, his disavowal of the Leibnizian conception of space and the emergence of Kant’s own epistemological position. Miss Buroker develops her arguments forcefully, clearly, and with a philosophical sensitivity that is quite exceptional.
Although published first, this is Volume IV of a new and most timely edition of Hegel’s Collected Works. The entire set will consist of at least 32 volumes. Taking the volume now at hand as a fair sample of what is to come, we can expect not only a handsome, well printed and attractively bound set, but, most importantly, a distinctively scholarly collection that should be a great boon to Hegel scholarship the world over.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:BOOK REVIEWS 139 twenty years ago has slowly given way to an awareness that cross-cultural differences are real enough to call for different rules of behavior and different sets of values. Several possibilities are still open to the ethicist concerned with the problem of relativism. We may want to reconsider more carefully than ever before the connotations of "relative," of "action" and of "culture" in the context of those (...) anthropologists whose claims are said to be detrimental to ethics. Of these terms so crucial for what Moser calls relativism of right, only the first has been analyzed from opposite perspectives by Stevenson and Berlin. So far as I know, no one has treated "relative" as a relational term in the fruitful way suggested by Berlin.19 We may also come to realize that the issue of relativism is too much imbedded in historical and metaphysical tenets and thus is not amenable to the ahistorical treatment of the logical status of moral judgment. Thus we may want to rewrite its whole history by exploiting one of the best facets of Moser's essay. That is, a comparative study of the sociology of knowledge with the organic model of cultural anthropology. Lastly we may agree with A. Edel and consider the whole issue a closed chapter in the history of philosophy, and move on to the philosophically more fruitful investigation of the why and wherefore of moral change between generations and between historical periods. L. M. PALMER University of Delaware Ernst Cassirer: Scientific Knowledge and the Concept of Man. By Seymour W. Itzkoff. (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1971. Pp. xi +286. $9.95) There is a sense in which the title of this book is misleading. To be sure, Dr. Itzkoff does deal with Cassirer and with Cassirer's neo-Kantian conception of scientific knowledge and of man. But there is more to the book than this. The first seven chapters are, in effect, a demonstration that "Cassirer left us with a difficult theoretical dilemma: the existence of two contrasting and opposed views of human nature" (p. 172). The last two chapters (pp. 172-252) are the author's attempt to bring those two views into harmony within the framework of contemporary science and philosophical analysis. The first two chapters (pp. 1-37) trace briefly the development of philosophical thought from the time of "the intellectual revolution set in motion by Galileo" to Kant's "Copernican revolution"--to the Kantian thesis, that is, that "the fundamental act of perception and the structuring of experience itseLf depend upon... 'transcendental apperception' as a 'condition of the possibility of perception itself'" (p. 27). It is the concern with "form and function" rather than with "substance and reality," which the Marburg neo-Kantians, and with them Cassirer, accepted as the lasting achievement of Kant's "critical philosophy." But Cassirer found in Kant also a "parallel concern... for humanistic disciplines" (p. 33) and, as "a central theme," the assertion of the "autonomy of human nature" (p. 35). The survey is suggestive but, in some respects, it is also inaccurate. For example, Kant's presumed "lapse into a radical subjectivism" cannot be justified by the reference, in passing, as it were, to the Opus postumum (p. 29)--although the fault is here perhaps that of Norman Kemp Smith rather than that of the author. A more ~o I. Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford, 1969), pp. 96-106. 140 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY serious misrepresentation of Kant may be found in the author's acceptance of T. D. Weldon's statement that "the categories... supply principles which are... essential to the existing of a unitary self-consciousness" (p. 32), for this is precisely the reverse of the Kantian position. Also, it is hardly accurate to speak of "Kant's postulation of laws of ethical behavior" (p. 36), for, surely, the various formulations of the categorical imperative are not "laws of ethical behavior" but criteria of such laws. Chapters 3 and 4 (pp. 38-98) are devoted to discussions of the nature of scientific knowledge. Kant's initial commitment to Newtonian mechanics is, of course, a wellknown fact; but Professor Itzkoff quite correctly points out... (shrink)