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Recent Philosophy, 2 Volumes: Hegel to the Present [Paperback]

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Pages   892
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.05" Width: 6.1" Height: 1.92"
Weight:   2.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2005
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  1597524867  
EAN  9781597524865  

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Recent Philosophy, 2 Volumes: Hegel to the Present by Etienne Gilson

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More About Etienne Gilson, Thomas Langan & Csb Armand A. Maurer

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Etienne Gilson was born in Paris in 1884. He became Professor of Mediaeval Philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1921, and from 1932 until his retirement in 1951, he held a similar chair at the College de France. From 1929 until his death, he was affiliated with the Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto.

Etienne Gilson was born in 1884 and died in 1978.

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A note on the occasional virtues of old, forgotten books  Feb 14, 2007
Etienne Gilson was the General Editor of this series, 'A History of Philosophy', which included the following volumes:

1. Ancient Philosophy; Anton Pegis
2. Medieval Philosophy; Armand A. Maurer
3. Modern Philosophy: Descartes to Kant; Gilson and Thomas Langan
4. Recent Philosophy: Hegel to the Present; Gilson, Langan and Maurer

Let's start this review with the contents of this book, 'Recent Philosophy':

Introduction to 'A History of Philosophy' - Etienne Gilson, v;
Preface to 'Recent Philosophy', ix

Part One: German Philosophy, by Thomas Langan

Introduction, 3

I. Post-Kantian Background, 5
Johann Gottlieb Fichte, 9
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, 16
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 23
Marxism-Leninism, 44
Arthur Schopenhauer 57

II. The Original Existential Revolt, 67
Soren Kierkegaard, 69
Friedrich Nietzsche, 78

III. Beyond Positivism and Psychologism, 93
Wilhelm Dilthey, 93
The Phenomenological Movement, 100
Edmund Husserl, 105
Max Scheler, 118
Nicolai Hartmann, 129

IV. Two German Existentialists, 145
Martin Heidegger, 145
Karl Jaspers, 153

Part Two: French and Italian Philosophy, by Etienne Gilson

Introduction, 171

V. Ideology in France, 172
Cabanis, 172
Destutt de Tracy, 175
Maine de Biran, 180

VI. Ideology in Italy, 192
Francesco Soave, 192
Melchiorre Gioia, 195
Giandomenico Romagnosi, 200
Melchiorre Delfico, 205

VII. The Christian Reaction, 208
Louis de Bonald, 209
Joseph de Maistre, 214
Felicite de Lamennais, 217
Louis Bautain, 222
From Traditionalism to Christian Philosophy, 226

VIII. The Philosophical Reaction in France and Italy, 232
French Spiritualism: Victor Cousin, 232
The Italian Metaphysical Revival, Antonio Rosmini and Vincenzo Gioberti, 237
The Spreading of Ontologism, 261

IX. French Positivism, 266
Auguste Comte, 267
Positive Psychology, 277
Positive Sociology, 283
Philosophical Reflection on Science, 287

X. Maine de Biran's French Posterity, 290
Felix Ravaisson, 290
Jules Lachelier, 296
Emile Boutroux, 300
Henri Bergson, 306

XI. In the Spirit of Criticism, 318
Renouvier's Neocriticism, 318
Octave Hamelin, 321
Leon Brunschvicg, 326

XII. In the Spirit of Scholasticism, 330
The Origins of the Movement, 331
Leo XIII, 338
Neoscholasticism, 345

XIII. In the Spirit of Augustinianism, 335
Alphonse Gratry, 355
Leon Olle-Laprune, 358
Maurice Blondel, 360

XIV. Early Twentieth Century Philosophy in Italy, 363
Benedetto Croce, 364
Giovanni Gentile, 366
Critical Idealism, 368

XV. Existentialism and Phenomenology in France, by Thomas Langan, 374
Gabriel Marcel, 374
Jean-Paul Sartre, 381
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, 386
Mikel Dufrenne, 396
Paul Ricoeur, 401

Part Three: English Philosophy, by Armand A. Maurer

XVI. Utilitarianism, 411
Jeremy Bentham, 413
John Stuart Mill, 419

XVII. Philosophy of Evolution, 433
Charles Darwin, 434
Herbert Spencer, 439
Emergent Evolutionism, 446

XVIII. Idealism, 451
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 451
Idealism Goes to College, 454
Francis Herbert Bradley, 457
Bernard Bosanquet, 464

XIX. Pragmatic Humanism: F. C. S. Schiller, 476

XX. Return to Realism, 485
G. E. Moore, 485
Bertrand Russell, 497
Alfred North Whitehead, 507

XXI. Language and Metaphysics, 520
Ludwig Wittgenstein, 521
Logical Positivism and the Vienna Circle, 530
Rudolf Carnap, 533
A. J. Ayer, 538
The Analysis of Ordinary Language, 543

Part Four: American Philosophy, by Armand A. Maurer

XXII. The Beginnings, 553
Philosophizing Divines, 554
Cadwallader Colden and the Beginnings of the Philosophy of Nature, 564
Beginnings of Social and Political Philosophy, 566

XXIII. New England Transcendentalism, 570
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 572
Orestes Brownson, 576

XXIV. Idealism of the Schools, 588
Borden Parker Bowne, 589
Josiah Royce, 595
Sage School of idealism, 602

XXV. Resurgent Realism, 604
The New Realism, 605
Critical Realism, 611
George Santayana, 615

XXVI. Pragmatism, 623
Charles Sanders Pierce, 624
William James, 634
John Dewey, 649

Epilogue, 664

Notes, 669

Index, 865

My copy of this was published in 1966 and it lists Volume 1, "Ancient Philosophy", as 'in preparation'. So I cannot even be certain the first volume of this series ever actually appeared... Also, I believe the new edition (ISBN: 1597524867) of this specific volume ('Recent philosophy: Hegel to the Present'), published by Wipf & Stock Publishers, is an exact reproduction with only (perhaps) a new preface. My single volume 1966 edition has 876 pages, the new edition (2005, in two volumes) has 892 pages listed here at this site.

Of course, this volume is dated by its age and also its Catholic orientation. This book carries both the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur; it will not surprise anyone to learn that most of the books I read do not do so. Now, France (and Italy) were, and still remain, the center of the Catholic intellectual universe. But even still, it is simply absurd that German Philosophy gets 170 pages while French and Italian Philosophy gets 230 pages! How does one possibly justify giving Schelling only 7 pages while de Biran gets 11? As I said, absurd... Also, the inclusion of a chapter on French 'neo-Kantianism' (XI) without a chapter or section on German neo-Kantianism (F. A. Lange, Kuno Fischer, and Hans Vaihinger, e.g.) is equally bizarre. But one could multiply quibbles endlessly: how is it that Gentile merits a mention but Gramsci does not? Generally, the sections on English and American Philosophy are also too long, with utterly pointless mentioning of people like Bosanquet, Bowne and Colden. But enough of that! This book is the first place I encountered, several decades ago, people like Hartmann, Biran, Lamennais and several others. For that alone I am grateful. Also, there are almost 200 pages of notes in which I naturally delighted.

But why bother picking up this book? One of the reasons to read people you don't agree with is that they occasionally show you things you would otherwise have missed. For instance, Langan, in the final section of his essay on Nietzsche asks, in effect, 'when do the Greeks laugh?' and, in a handful of pages, manages to speak more sense about Zarathustra's joy, and most especially its distance from the joys of the archaic Greeks, than one finds in whole books on the subject. Although Langan likely was unaware of this, Nietzsche points at this 'Zarathustrian Joy' in a similar manner when he himself, in Ecce Homo, refers to Zarathustra as the 'Yes-Saying' part of his work. The herd of perpetually indignant 'supermen' of course are barely aware of this...

Langan wonders "gaiety - is this really a Greek Ideal?" - And correctly concludes that it is not. Thus Langan is surely correct to say of Zarathustra that in "his greatness, in his mercy, he is more than Greek." At the very beginning of 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra', in the Prologue, Zarathustra decides to go down the mountain to share his knowledge and joy with mankind; now, anyone who has read the Iliad knows that this gesture is simply inconceivable to an Achilles, - who was universally considered the greatest of the Greeks. If there is no reason to help, Achilles will help no one. Indeed, with reason, he is prepared to sit on his hands while those that love him die at the hands of their (and his) enemies. But Nietzsche has his creature Zarathustra compare himself to the sun, asking, "what would your happiness be had you not those for whom you shine?" Like the sunshine Nietzsche intends his Zarathustra to be a gift to everyone; the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' alike... As Langan correctly observes, "in practice, Zarathustra feels some compassion, else why would he continue to preach to the 'little ones,' and 'the hens in the barnyard'..."

Exactly. But is all this, at bottom, merely a case of old wine in new bottles? Does Nietzsche intend to go back to, or reinstate, some natural or historic order? Langan observes that for Nietzsche, "Being was indeed becoming, [which] he never doubted, characterizing this principle as 'true, but deadly'." Now, the greatest interpreter of Nietzsche, Heidegger, wants to go back to the Pre-Socratics; I mean to their pre-Platonic experience of Being. It is Heidegger who seems to wish to go back to the archaic Greeks. But how are we to understand Nietzsche? Are we to choose between Langan and Heidegger? Let us not make this choice too easy for ourselves! Nietzsche also knows there is no going back:

"Whispered to the conservatives.-- What was not known formerly, what is known, or might be known, today--a reversion, a return in any sense or degree is simply not possible. We physiologists at least know that. Yet all priests and moralists have believed the opposite--they wanted to take mankind back, to screw it back, to a former measure of virtue. Morality was always a bed of Procrustes. Even the politicians have aped the preachers of virtue at this point: today too there are still parties whose dream it is that all things might walk backwards like crabs. But no one is free to be a crab. Nothing avails: one must go forward--step by step further into décadence..." (Twilight of the Idols, Skirmishes of an Untimely Man, section 43).

Yes, we have all read Heidegger's scathing attack on Nietzsche's 'succumbing' to the lure of values in the fourth volume of his brilliant Nietzsche study, but as we can see from the above quote (from 'Twilight of the Idols') Nietzsche has taken the measure of Heidegger, avant le fait, and has given history his judgment: to Nietzsche, Heidegger is but another priest or moralist, trying to fit the world into a bed of Procrustes, - that is, into a former measure of virtue. Like Catholic conservatives, Heidegger wants to go back...

Langan, however, has a finer ear for Nietzsche's dedication to the new and his love of joy than does Heidegger. It is in these two aspects of Nietzsche's thought that one can correctly speak of Zarathustra's "qualities of a suspiciously Christian tint" - but Langan entirely misses Nietzsche's esoteric practices. Thus he mistakenly treats Zarathustra as Nietzsche's mouthpiece...

But enough of that! Langan sees, correctly sees, what so many commentators refuse to see: Zarathustra is, and can only be, a post-Christian development. This is but one example of the gems one can pick from old books written by people that one does not agree with. This book is conceived as a textbook for Catholic students, but one is here and there surprised by the sophistication of the analysis. This is why we should all continue to read, for example, Thomists, Marxists, Straussians and Phenomenologists; we read them in order not to miss what we might ordinarily have missed. Four stars for being what is by necessity quite rare: an interesting textbook...

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