The "anti-Judaist" attitudes of Kant, Hegel and Toynbee are studied. Kant was probably influenced by Jewish reformers of his time. Hegel's attitude, which developed over years, is far more interesting and complex than Toynbee's. But all three must be charged with having been somewhat unscholarly in endowing such attitudes with a systematic significance, and with having tried to force concrete historical facts to fit preconceived schemata.--W. L. M.
A volume of the Prentice-Hall "Contemporary Perspectives in Philosophy Series," this is largely a second intentional discussion by way of anthology. The articles by Malcolm, Ryle, Austin and Cavell seek to explain and defend their own conceptions of philosophy, the latter in direct reply to Mates, whose article is a critique of the movement. The editor's brief introduction is excellent, and the selection of articles highlights nicely the differences of opinion among ordinary language philosophers, while pointing to the essential unity (...) of their thought and problems.--M. W. (shrink)
This is a rambling and rather slow moving essay in metaphilosophy, though it is not so "meta" that the war in Vietnam does not get discussed. It embodies the broadest concept of philosophy's function and an unmitigated optimism in its capacities. Dogmatism, the chief obstacle to philosophic progress, is analyzed in terms of the interests and emotional motivations which underlie basic theoretical presuppositions. Its twofold cure involves the Spinozistic doctrine that the passions are best rendered meek by bringing them to (...) the light of consciousness, and the Hegelian doctrine that conflicting tendencies can only be harmonized by finding a larger context in which they become complementary. The illustration of this technique in the chapter on Eastern and Western philosophies, focusing on the concepts of reason and freedom, is the high point of the book, along with the chapter on ordinary language philosophy. The discussions of existentialism and Marxism are disappointing.—M. W. (shrink)
Religion in the generic sense is presented as an irreducible mode of human judgment. By emphasizing the generic character of religion Arnett sets himself against the "sectarians," those who would claim unique worth for a particular tradition. By arguing for the irreducible nature of religious judgment he opposes himself to the "secularists," those who would reduce religion to some other mode of judgment, or to a non-cognitive status. The strongest chapters are the third and fourth, which deal with the relation (...) of religion to morality and art, respectively. While vigorous arguments are presented against those who tend to identify religion with one or the other, e.g., Dewey and Santayana, the problems are not oversimplified, and careful attention is given to the affinities as well as the discontinuities involved. The discussion of religion and truth deals more with the generic value of religious judgment than with the question of the truth of particular religious judgments.—M. W. (shrink)
A massive series of meticulous clarifications and arguments is marshalled to attempt to refute, first, the doctrine that all relations are "internal", next, the claims that coherence is the sole criterion of the nature of truth, and finally, the theory of degrees of truth and falsity. The author's great familiarity with the literature of the coherence theorists proves almost a drawback: he prefers to cite texts extensively, but must then acknowledge important differences among them. There is little in the way (...) of a constructive alternative theory of truth, but the criticism is formidable.--W. L. M. (shrink)
Van der Poel’s book is a relatively comprehensive essay in ethics or, more properly, moral theology, providing outlines of a theological anthropology necessary for understanding man as a moral agent, a suggested process for determining the value of human actions, a consideration of conscience, and a discussion of virtue and vice. Van der Poel lays great stress on man’s historicity and the conditioned nature of moral laws and principles. He likewise attacks a naive dualism and proposes a view of man (...) influenced to considerable extent by contemporary existential phenomenology. The thought of Merleau-Ponty is quite strongly reflected in the anthropology proposed. Perhaps the most original section of the work is the one dealing with the evaluation of man’s moral acts. Van der Poel sharply distinguishes between the "material result" or physical activity and the agent’s intention and maintains that the "human reality" of the act is an interpenetration of these two aspects and that its moral worth is ultimately to be judged by "its impact upon the well-being of the individual and the human society." This view seems to have some kinship with utilitarian ethics, for it seems to make the final criterion of moral activity rest in its consequences. The comments of Paul Ramsey concerning the function of an "exception-making criterion" seem applicable to Van der Poel’s analysis of moral activity, and his way of describing human acts seems open to the same kind of criticism that Eric D'Arcy applied to the extreme utilitarianism of J. J. C. Smart in his Moral Acts: An Essay in their Evaluation.—W. E. M. (shrink)
After a survey sketch of the development of analytic philosophy and its application to problems in philosophy of religion during the 1950's, Clarke argues that the non-descriptive functions of religious language depend on its descriptive functions and that the central problem of natural theology, upon which all revealed theology depends for its meaningfulness, is to show that the statement "There is a God" is both necessary and descriptive. To this end its first task is to provide a precise definite description (...) of God for which this may be done. His own suggestions are Hartshornean, carrying with them the explicit argument that traditional conceptions are not viable. In an interesting twist of a Kantian theme it is argued that the ontological argument depends for its success on the cosmological argument. The more general question of the possibility of metaphysics in the light of linguistic philosophy is treated in chapters devoted to the descriptive character of necessary statements and the logical requirements for setting up a metaphysical language. The chapter on the application of symbolic logic to natural theology might well have been included as an appendix, for its inclusion in the main text tends to fragment an essay which is already none too unified.—M. W. (shrink)
The title refers to Anselm's insight into the modal uniqueness of the divine existence and the proof based upon it in Proslogium III. Hartshorne continues his vigorous defense of "the Proof," his polemic against its critics, most of whom confuse it with the weaker one in Proslogium II, and his attempt to show that Anselm's discovery is ultimately viable only in the context of neo-classical theism. In the second half of the book a variety of responses to the proof, from (...) Gaunilo to several contemporaries, are examined and criticized. While this does not add substantially to the presentation and defense of the argument given in the first half, it does provide ample evidence of the way in which a host of philosophical questions are brought into sharp focus by reflecting on Anselm. Some of these, e.g., the theory of modalities, receive important attention which was lacking in The Logic of Perfection. The author's own position has not changed, though he now seems more impressed than previously by Barth's treatment of Anselm.—M. W. (shrink)