The farther the headlong passage of time takes us from the October days of 1917, the more deeply the significance of that great seminal event is impressed in the history of mankind. The revolution that began half a century ago in a single country, Russia, marked a fateful turning point in world history, the beginning of a new epoch defined by the transition from capitalism to socialism and communism on a world scale.
"Prophecy by magic is a myth. But prophecy by science is a fact." With these words, Lenin begins his article "Prophetic Words" [Prorocheskie slova], in Poln. sobr. soch. [Complete Works], Vol. 36, p. 472. Written in the middle of 1918, a very difficult time for the young Soviet republic, it is devoted entirely to Engels' forecast three decades earlier of the possible outcomes of a world war. With amazing forecasting ability, Engels described the destruction and upheavals that war would cause, (...) the downfall of capitalist empires and the inevitable triumph of the proletariat. Engels warned the kings and statesmen of the capitalist class: "If you unleash forces with which you will not subsequently be able to contend, then, no matter how things develop, at the end of the tragedy you will be a ruin, and the triumph of the proletariat will either already have been won or in any case be inevitable.". (shrink)
The usual way for new cells to come into being is by division of old cells. So the zygote, which is a—new—single cell formed from two, the sperm and ovum, is an exception. Textbooks of human genetics usually say that this new cell is beginning of a new human individual. What this indicates is that they suddenly forget about identical twins.
One of the ways of dividing all philosophers into two kinds is by saying of each whether he is an ordinary man's philosopher or a philosophers' philosopher. Thus Plato is a philosophers' philosopher and Aristotle an ordinary man's philosopher. This does not depend on being easy to understand: a lot of Aristotle's Metaphysics is immensely difficult. Nor does being a philosophers' philosopher imply that an ordinary man cannot enjoy the writings, or many of them. Plato invented and exhausted a form: (...) no one else has written such dialogues. So someone with no philosophical bent, or who has left his philosophical curiosity far behind may still enjoy reading some of them. (shrink)
Purely by questioning Socrates has elicited from an uninstructed slave the conclusion that the square on the diagonal of a square is twice the original square in area. Then comes a part of the dialogue which I translate: Socrates . This knowledge, then, that he has now, he either got some time, or always had? Meno . Yes.
Ludwig Wittgenstein was born in 1889, son of parents of Jewish extraction but not Jewish religion. Asked how his family came by the name ‘Wittgenstein’ Ludwig said they had been court Jews to the princely family and so had taken the name when Jews were required by law to have European-style names. The father, Karl, was a Protestant, the mother a Catholic. The Jewish blood was sufficient to bring the family later on into danger under Hitler's Nuremberg Laws. They did (...) not think of themselves as Jews or belong to the Jewish community in Vienna. The children were brought up sort-of Catholic though so far as I know only the eldest, Hermine, towards the end of her life, took this seriously and made a profession of faith before friends and household. At 9 years of age Ludwig and Paul, a year or two older than Ludwig, talked together and decided that their religion was all nonsense. Paul became a pianist of some fame, but soon after his debut in Vienna he became a wounded prisoner on the Russian front and his arm was lopped off by a surgeon who did not know he was a pianist. (shrink)
This penultimate volume of Copleston's monumental history covers the nineteenth century German philosophers and some of their non-German dependents, such as Kierkegaard, and their contemporary heirs, such as Heidegger. Copleston's usual clarity and sympathy win out even when treating such recalcitrant thinkers as Hegel, Fichte, Nietzsche and Schleiermacher. His interpretations are always reasonable and credible, and often illuminating. Unfortunately, they are not as dialectical as the originals, and a good deal is lost in the translation from system to exposition.--W. G. (...) E. (shrink)
A densely-packed and comprehensive textbook of scholastic metaphysics. Metaphysics is understood as including "not only a general investigation of beings but also the study of knowledge and of the divine nature and attributes in the light of natural reason." Owens brings to this task the Gilsonian understanding of a Christian philosophy, his own considerable knowledge of Aristotle, Aquinas and scholastic philosophy generally, and a conviction that metaphysics is a knowledge of the universe and the things within it, founded on necessary (...) principles. Though intended as a college text, Owens' work might be better taken as a standard reference manual, much like the classic Latin text of Gredt.--W. G. E. (shrink)
The intentionality of sensation -- The first person -- Substance -- The subjectivity of sensation -- Events in the mind -- Comments on Professor R.L. Gregory's paper on perception -- On sensations of position -- Intention -- Pretending -- On the grammar of "Enjoy" -- The reality of the past -- Memory, "experience," and causation -- Causality and determination -- Times, beginnings, and causes -- Soft determinism -- Causality and extensionality -- Before and after -- Subjunctive conditionals -- "Under a (...) description" -- Analysis competition--tenth problem -- A reply to Mr. C.S. Lewis's argument that "naturalism" is self-refuting. (shrink)
G.E. Moore, more than either Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Wittgenstein, was chiefly responsible for the rise of the analytic method in twentieth-century philosophy. This selection of his writings shows Moore at his very best. The classic essays are crucial to major philosophical debates that still resonate today. Amongst those included are: * A Defense of Common Sense * Certainty * Sense-Data * External and Internal Relations * Hume's Theory Explained * Is Existence a Predicate? * Proof of an External World (...) In addition, this collection also contains the key early papers in which Moore signals his break with idealism, and three important previously unpublished papers from his later work which illustrate his relationship with Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Two attitudes are possible: one, that the world is an absolute jungle and that the exercise of coercive power by rulers is only a manifestation of this; and the other, that it is both necessary and right that there should be this exercise of power, that through it the world is much less of a jungle than it could possibly be without it, so that one should in principle be glad of the existence of such power, and only take exception (...) to its unjust exercise. (shrink)
Western philosophy and science are responsible for constructing some powerful tools of investigation, aiming at discovering the truth, delivering robust explanations, verifying conjectures, showing that inferences are sound and demonstrating results conclusively. By contrast reasoning that depends on analogies has often been viewed with suspicion. Professor Lloyd first explores the origins of those Western ideals, criticises some of their excesses and redresses the balance in favour of looser, admittedly non-demonstrative analogical reasoning. For this he takes examples both from ancient Greek (...) and Chinese thought and from the materials of recent ethnography to show how different ancient and modern cultures have developed different styles of reasoning. He also develops two original but controversial ideas, that of semantic stretch and the multidimensionality of reality. (shrink)
Since psychiatry remains a descriptive discipline, it is essential for its practitioners to understand how the language of psychiatry came to be formed. This important book, written by a psychiatrist-historian, traces the genesis of the descriptive categories of psychopathology and examines their interaction with the psychological and philosophical context within which they arose. The author explores particularly the language and ideas that have characterised descriptive psychopathology from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. He presents a masterful survey of the (...) history of the main psychiatric symptoms, from the metaphysics of classical antiquity to the operational criteria of today. Tracing the evolution of concepts such as memory, consciousness, will and personality, and of symptoms ranging from catalepsy and aboulia to anxiety and self-harm, this book provides fascinating insights into the subjective nature of mental illness, and into the ideas of British, Continental and American authorities who sought to clarify and define it. (shrink)