The Achievement of Paul Weiss

Review of Metaphysics 25 (Supplement):47 - 70 (1972)
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Abstract

As I put down my copy of The Making of Men and take up Volumes III and IV of Philosophy in Process, the period of the diary when Weiss was writing the book, I wondered whether the longer work showed more awareness of human weakness and disability. The philosophic program calls for the overcoming of bias and achievement of neutrality. Has Weiss ever admitted that men are sometimes born tired, suffer weaknesses, yield to the temptation of aiming low rather than high, fail to put out much effort in capturing "the free energy" that Weiss ascribes to us all? If Weiss doesn't correct his account of human life that is too much based on his own great strengths, then the philosophy must be criticized as one-sided. Even if he has swept aside laziness as subhuman, much as a good teacher encourages students by expecting the superhuman and ignoring the subhuman, this practical encouragement cannot fully excuse theoretical failure in adequacy. For surely we who know Weiss know that he is not merely a performing artist who sometimes takes the classroom as a stage, but rather is a coach who knows how to bring the best performance out of his team of intellectual athletes. Most coaches expect to win every game and have a philosophy that never anticipates or prepares for failure. Is that why Weiss found himself so much at home in the world of Sport?

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