This represents the first modern translation of any of the writings of von Humboldt and the only introduction to his works in English. Included are many of his reflections on history, religion and politics, the latter being of special interest. On the whole, the translation is readable and the problems discussed, though somewhat dated, are of interest to those concerned with the perennial problems of the philosophies of man and culture.—S. A E.
A clear statement centering on the ramifications of the thought of Heidegger and Bultman [[sic]] for various theological problems. Macquarrie also discusses Teilhard de Chardin and Karl Rahner in a reasonably sympathetic way. While possibly of use as an accurate introduction to the subject-matter, the book fails to be philosophically or religiously illuminating.--S. A. S.
A careful, wide-ranging but basically unilluminating study of the medical, philosophical, and psychological literature on the concept of identity, beginning with Descartes and dwelling on Erik Erickson, who has pursued William James' approach to the problem. Erickson has investigated group identity in two Indian cultures, its connection with the ideals of the individual, and the development of this connection in the child. The middle of the book is an intermezzo which discusses Ovid's Metamorphoses and W. F. Hermans' The Dark Room (...) of Damocles as anthologies of human conflicts, and of identity problems of members of the resistance movements during the Second World War. In the last third of the book, De Levita attempts to clarify the mass of material he has presented. He makes a suggestive distinction between "identity" and "individuality," "identity" being the unique combination of roles which I call mine, and "individuality" being the manner in which I enact my roles. He comments that men too often stress which roles they play rather than how they are played. The book is best approached as a review of literature on the subject rather than as an attempt to directly confront the problem.--S. A. S. (shrink)
This book of readings contains selections from Hospers, Stevenson, Black, Urmson, Hampshire and many others. Topics treated include the nature of art, aesthetic experience, creativity and art criticism.—S. A. E.
The main divisions of this collection are concerned with knowledge, rationalism and empiricism, truth, induction and perception. The selections tend toward the British tradition, though there are selections from such thinkers as Plato and Kant.—S. A. E.
Gurwitsch's concern in this book is with the doing of phenomenology rather than the explication of what other phenomenologists have done. His analyses of Husserl's views, with whom he appears to be in close agreement, are in the service of the concrete phenomenological analyses Gurwitsch himself undertakes. His remarks on William James serve as a further corroboration of the interest practicing phenomenologists are taking in James' thought and the phenomenological strains which run through it. What emerges in Gurwitsch's own thought (...) is a view of consciousness and its objects which parallels in large measure Husserl's middle period investigations, in particular those appearing in the Ideen. Gurwitsch's work is to be praised as an attempt to introduce concrete and sometimes original phenomenological insights into the American philosophical scene.—S. A. E. (shrink)
A popular reworking and extension of the works of Prescott Lecky, forerunner of the "third force" in American psychology, known variously as humanistic, perceptual, transactionist, existential. While the book is highly readable, full of good advice, and pointed in the right direction, it is not even remotely adequate to the difficulty of the subject matter. However, the treatment of coming-into-existence is sensitive.--S. A. S.
The underlying assumption of this book is that "speeding up the process of securing maximal contributions from ethical theory for solving moral problems involves the fullest self-conscious focusing on method." With clarity and insight the author explores various ethical theories and their relationships to one another, trying always to bring about an understanding of what is truly at stake in various theoretical controversies and to relate ethical theory to the business of morality itself.—S. A. E.
Phillips contends that the disrepute into which philosophy of religion has fallen is the fault of the many philosophers who, instead of investigating the meaning of prayer in its religious context, have approached religious language in a literal, unimaginative, and insensitive way. To remedy this, he carefully analyzes what the believer is doing, in order to find the "depth grammar" of religious statements. In the process he draws uncritically on Simone Weil's account of prayer as effacement of the self before (...) a "supernatural" God, one who is more than an existent among existents. It is unfortunate that more activist conceptions of prayer are completely overlooked. Even so, it is a highly perceptive and lucid analysis of prayer which clears much of the noxious underbrush from the path of the philosopher of religion. A brief bibliography and index are included.—S. A. S. (shrink)
Crocker's book is a continuation of his study of French intellectual history of the enlightenment period. In an earlier volume he dealt primarily with theories of human nature, metaphysics and psychology. Here his concern is with moral experience and values. Crocker traces the advance of utilitarianism and nihilism as they undermined the traditional solutions to man's moral problems, viz., Christianity and Natural Law. He shows how the political theories of the France of the eighteenth century were shaped by metaphysical and (...) ethical considerations. The treatments of Voltaire and Rousseau are incisive.—S. A. E. (shrink)
This selection includes Spinoza's interpretation and comments on Descartes writings, together with Spinoza's Thoughts on Metaphysics. The translation reads easily and the introduction is genuinely useful.—S. A. E.
A highly readable account of the development and present teachings of spiritualism, theosophy, New Thought, Divine Science, Church of Religious Science, Unity, and Christian Science. Professor Judah has personally participated in a number of the movements and hence his approach is reasonably sympathetic, although his general attitude is that of a liberal Protestant. He successfully demonstrates not only the tremendous variety of doctrines and personalities active in the above groups, but also indicates the substantial agreement in major areas. The book (...) is a reasonably objective, fascinating introduction to the "Age of Aquarius," which will, according to its heralds, replace a dying Christianity of the old Piscean dispensation. The book is well indexed.--S. A. S. (shrink)
Kenneth Patton, a Unitarian minister, presents us with a celebration of the world in rambling free verse. Unfortunately, the reader wearies of the highly self-conscious, epigrammatic, and didactic approach. As poetry the book fails. It fares better if approached as a testimony to Mr. Patton's powerful convictions of the oneness of men with each other and the cosmos, of the essentially creative, joyful, and wondrous nature of human life. "Creator" deserves special mention for its rare, anti-Nietzschean insight into the way (...) in which a creator is necessarily both male and female.—S. A. S. (shrink)
Dr. Littleton's book is valuable as a brief but stimulating introduction for the non-scientific layman to various physical data. However, the author's central purpose is to demonstrate that science and religion are compatible by using these data as proof that "science" recognizes the infinite. While some enlightening points are made, Dr. Littleton vitiates his main purpose by making highly problematic philosophical statements with no reasoned support at all.—S. A. S.
Dr. Williams first focuses on human faith, the creative power which seeks to change possibilities into actualities, and then extrapolates "God," a limited, struggling, experimenting teleological force in the universe as a whole, a force which can be addressed either as "Thou" or "It." Faith is not something which men can consciously control, not mere fancy, but a quasi-objective force which can control a man if he allows it to do so. The comments on problems such as the place of (...) rites and ceremonies, immortality, development of moral character, and the relation of individual rights to social institutions, although not rigorously developed, reveal an honest and generous mind.—S. A. S. (shrink)
A concise look at the present "revolt" in both the Protestant and Catholic churches, a revolt hopefully leading to the radical re-structuring of the church so that it may serve today's "secular age," an age freed from thinking imposed "from above". Man in the secular age refuses to separate out a piece of life and call it sacred or religious, but instead sees Christ at work in "the events of our time," and struggles with him against destructive forces. Although he (...) emphasizes the positive aspects of secularization, Williams points to a danger in this process: the shrivelling of man's sense of life to the narrow limits of the here and now. The book is a brief, clear introduction to a number of contemporary theologians. Although it breaks no new ground and fails to show why "metaphysical" principles cannot be validly applied to temporal events, its message of revolt against outgrown ideas and institutions bears repeating.—S. A. S. (shrink)
A clear, complete, and detailed account of the German theological influences on Bonhoeffer, as well as the stages in the movement of his own thinking toward the shattering and prophetic suggestions in the Letters and Papers from Prison. Unfortunately, the book devotes only sixty pages to the direct examination of these final suggestions, which have touched a live nerve in recent theological thought, and is disappointingly hesitant about investigating the possible ramifications of Bonhoeffer's ideas, which point in at least two (...) distinct directions. The Christian's life is said to be one of joining the suffering, powerless Jesus in the world, as well as one of participating in the presence of a beyond in our midst, a beyond which gives itself not in weakness but in strength and life, in "solved problems." Since Bonhoeffer himself recognized the newness of the "religionless" approaches which occurred to him in his last year, one wonders if Phillips' scholarly but unimaginative treatment of this highly admirable man does not obscure more than it illumines.--S. A. S. (shrink)
The dream of graduate students: an excellent dissertation which developed into an excellent book--scholarly, complete, and unbiased. Sartre's central claims are that emotional response is intentional, signifying an object evaluated, and an emotional response is an act, a chosen response which attempts to "magically" transform a situation too difficult for ordinary instrumental solutions. Fell accepts Sartre's first thesis, but argues that the chosen action and self-deception of the second thesis are not definitive of all emotions, but are rather partially explanatory (...) of a range of self-consciously entertained emotions. In addition, Fell convincingly exposes the difficulty of explaining emotional phenomena solely by phenomenological means: Sartre's analysis of the context of consciousness solely as it appears to consciousness rules out any systematic role for inference or hypothesis, and thus eliminates a causal account, e.g., one attributing continuity, dispositions, or habits to consciousness. Perhaps Fell's most devastating criticism concerns Sartre's final failure to overcome the split between subject and object, between value and fact. For this split, while eliminated on the level of the immediate, unreflective and emotional, reappears even more insistently on the non-deceptive level of the reflective. Thus Fell succeeds in demonstrating the one-sidedness of Sartre's theory of the emotions, but is less illuminating in sketching an "Hegelian Aufhebung" of Sartre's perspective and that of the "processive-objective-naturalistic" approach. There is an excellent bibliography and index.--S. A. S. (shrink)
In five brief chapters the author presents Unamuno's theories of language and truth, his epistemological views, and what the author terms his "Quixotic" existentialism. None of the problems alluded to are discussed in any depth, but the brevity of the book recommends it to those seeking an introduction to the main lines of Unamuno's thought.—S. A. E.
Mr. Wallace sees in the biblical tradition of Elijah and Elisha material of great relevance to men of today, and particularly when it is correlated with certain New Testament traditions. The argument presupposes a Christian reader.--A. S.
The choice of topics around which the readings are grouped is very good. Not only are the more technical and theoretical problems of ethics discussed, but classical sources are brought to bear on such concrete problems as capital punishment, birth control and divorce.—S. A. E.
Kwant carefully outlines what he takes to be Merleau-Ponty's most basic discovery, the body-subject, detailing the French philosopher's approach to this phenomenon. The author relates Merleau-Ponty to Marxism, phenomenology and Sartre, as well as to the sciences and scientism. The critical remarks offered at the end of the book are a bit sketchy, but on the whole Kwant shows himself to be a careful and faithful renderer of Merleau-Ponty's thought.—S. A. E.
Do the later Platonic dialogues abandon the earlier doctrine of forms? If not, do the forms, as the objects or contents of thought, have any relation to experienced things? Schipper, in this lucid and scholarly study of the Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Philebus, and Timaeus, maintains that Plato continues to assume the essentials of the earlier doctrine of forms, and that while he offers no complete and explicit answer to the second question, the later dialogues do provide clues which are consistent (...) with each other. In formulating this answer, Schipper suggests that sensible things can be considered in two aspects: as immediately sensed and as known by means of the forms; the two aspects are united by the perceiving and knowing mind. However, this seems to be merely a restatement of the problem. Her other, more provocative suggestion is that forms are not discovered by an intellectual perception, but are assumed or posited as demanded by logos or argument in order to explain and define experienced things. Thus the interrelated forms can apply to things without being immanent in them. Although the treatment of the dialogues is careful, the book is primarily a spiritless exegesis of the text, together with an account of what other scholars have said. It is bereft of an index.—S. A. S. (shrink)
A well-edited compendium of some of the basic writings in the field. Included are passages from such thinkers as Augustine, Aquinas, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Royce, and Tennant, together with helpful philosophical introductions, bibliographical notes, and editorial footnotes designed especially for the student.--S. A. E.
A useful exposition of the historical background and current disposition of problems involving religion and science both as separate and as related endeavors. Barbour combines the scientific knowledge of a physicist, the religious attitude of a liberal Protestant, and the philosophical approach of a Whiteheadian in attempting to present a "theology of nature." The book is repetitious, with the compensation that the chapters are thereby relatively independent units, with a summary at the end of each. The author, while not offering (...) a creative vision of his own, has produced an accurate and perceptive introduction to the problems of trying to relate religious and scientific experience.--S. A. S. (shrink)
A closely reasoned, although overly long study of the somewhat less than revolutionary contributions of Moore, Stevenson, Toulmin, and Hare to meta-ethical theorizing. The final chapter moves beyond commentary to a balanced analysis of the problems of analyzing moral language. Kerner argues, following Austin, that the bifurcation of moral language into description and evaluation is crude and misleading. Rather, moral judgments differ from descriptive utterances because of their characteristic "performative force," their use or function. Hence moral philosophy properly does not (...) offer pseudo-descriptive definitions, but rather explores in an empirical way the criteria of application and the performatory forces of moral utterances. However, Kerner recognizes that the relevant criteria of application, as well as the specification of the performative forces, are fixed only by our decisions, which in turn can be supported only by arguments which attempt to establish the competence of the person making such decisions. In other terms, Kerner argues that since moral principles are neither descriptions of a nonnatural world of values nor empirical generalizations, they must be treated as enunciations by a legislator. Unfortunately, as Kerner points out, the concept of being well qualified as a moral legislator lacks clear-cut applicability if developed outside a particular moral system.--S. A. S. (shrink)
A beautifully executed limning of the men doing some of the freshest theological thinking today. With Bishop Robinson's Honest to God as his starting point, Mehta interviews Paul Tillich, Paul van Buren, Reinhold Niebuhr, Bishop Robinson, A. R. Vidler, H. A. Williams, Donald MacKinnon, A. M. Ramsey, I. T. Ramsey, Nicholas Stacey, Rudolf Bultmann, and Karl Barth. Almost half of the book is devoted to the portrait of Dietrich Bonhoeffer which emerges from Mehta's stay in Germany with Bonhoeffer's closest friend, (...) Pastor Eberhard Bethge. The book is reporting rather than a probing of the philosophic issues, but, taken as such, it constitutes a tantalizing gateway into a world in which insight, courage, honesty, and immense confusion flourish together like plants in an untended garden.—S. A. S. (shrink)
The lectures that form the basis of this volume were the inaugural series of St. Thomas More Lectures, given at Yale in 1962. Murray treats the Biblical problem of the presence of God and the contemporary problem of the death of God. Though not detailed, the lectures are far-reaching in scope and raise in captivating manner the question of the meaning of the contemporary religious situation, challenging the reader to rethink for himself the problem involved in adequately interpreting this situation.—S. (...) A. E. (shrink)
These essays do a rather thorough and sometimes exciting job of articulating the encounter between Christianity and contemporary philosophies of existence. Earle, representing the "opposition," puts the case for Nietzsche and Sartre quite convincingly. Edie's treatment of Heidegger might have been more subtle and suffers from the closeness with which Edie links Heidegger with Tillich. Wild's essays, without a doubt the most interesting but most perplexing in the collection, appear to be at once orthodox and revolutionary, with an overall Bultmannian (...) cast.—S. A. E. (shrink)
In this vigorous, popularized presentation of Vedanta, Mr. Watts attempts to shake the reader out of his hallucination that he is a "separate ego, enclosed in a bag of skin." With a great beating of drums, he reveals the prime secret, the taboo of taboos, the answer to all of the world's problems: the Ultimate Ground of Being, the Self of the World, the whole endless process of life, is you. All the conflicts and competition of life are a daring (...) game of hide-and-seek played by the Self of the World, a game in which God pretends that he is all of the forms of life; when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self. The book, although intended for the non-technically trained reader, is almost too earnestly written, with an awareness of at least some of the philosophic issues involved. The book is more notable, however, for the wit, the fascination with life, and the joy it communicates. There is a short bibliography.—S. A. S. (shrink)
A well-printed paperback edition of Mill's A System of Logic, Bk. 6, with an introduction by Magid and Appendices containing excerpts from other volumes of System of Logic referred to in the text, as well as biographical notes on individuals mentioned.—S. A. S.
A simply written answer to the charges that religious statements are meaningless because they are non-verifiable or misuse language. Ping admits that the language of faith is not literally sensible and hence cannot be objectively established as true, nor is it a strict construction according to ordinary usage. However, he maintains that religious language is nonetheless meaningful when seen in its context of encounter and commitment so that verification occurs in the determination of life. The testing process is the adequacy (...) of religious statements to give meaning and direction to life. Ping is well aware that this use of language lacks clarity and precision. What he does not seem to be aware of is the enormity of problems which this position raises, such as the posited sharp distinctions between sensible experience and "life," between "experiential" and "experimental" verification. A helpful bibliography is included.—S. A. S. (shrink)