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BOOK REVIEWS 161 bly beyond experience," or "if they are accessible to experience, then they are, tautologously, not experience-independent" (56). Grayling thinks Berkeley rightly concludes that the existence of things independent of experience is inconceivable: for what is inaccessible to experience we can form no conception of, and what is accessible to experience is not independent of it. Grayling defends this argument ingeniously, though I think he trades on an ambiguity in "conceiving something independent of experience," much as Berkeley seems to trade on an ambiguity in "conceiving something without the mind." Whether or not readers are persuaded by Grayling's defense of Berkeley, they should find this a rewarding book. It forces one to think through in a new light Berkeley's familiar arguments. At the book's end, Grayling rejects the Berkeleyan God but suggests that "a detailed non-theistic reworking of Berkeley's central arguments" against absolute realism is possible, a reworking he promises in a future book, which readers of this one, if they are like me, will eagerly await. CHARLES J. MCCRACKEN Michigan State University William James Booth. Interpreting the World: Kant's Philosophy of History and Politics. Toronto: University Press, 1986. Pp. xxviii + 189. $27.5o. In his writings on history and politics Kant straddles a narrow divide between optimism and pessimism. On the one hand, the view of man in his pure moral philosophy is that of a dualistic, rationally incomplete individual who may, indeed, aim at doing his duty but cannot, because of his flawed nature, be certain of putting it into effect. On the other hand, the view of man's predicament in his writings on history and his later essay, Religion Within the Bounds of Reason Alone, is more positive. Although now weighed down by our incomplete and morally imperfect natures, Kant does not rule out the possibility that some time in the distant future we shall be able to get our passions almost wholly under our control and create a society fit for rational beings. It is always tempting to take the view that Kant, as an Enlightenment figure, was more wedded to the optimistic than the pessimistic view--his reaction to the French Revolution (greeting its achievements but denouncing its methods)--appears to prove the point. However , Booth persuades the reader that the issue is less clear-cut than this and that Kant is at times more inclined to give in to the contrary feeling of pessimism. This stress on the less optimistic aspect of Kant's assessment of the human species is what gives Booth the title of his book--Interpretingthe World.Although he acknowledges in the first section that for Kant practical reason takes precedence over theoretical reason, Booth suggests that this does not lead Kant to an activist style of politics. According to the author, Kant would prefer nature to take its own course rather than force the pace of historical development. For Booth, there appears to be a disjuncture between the teleological development Kant detects in history and the moral motives we have as good citizens to will improvement. In Booth's presentation "the moral politician," one of the most interesting of Kant's political concepts, fades into the background. 162 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 27: ~ JANUARY a989 Instead of the emphasis being placed upon ways of thinking and acting, Booth puts the stress on ways of looking upon and assessing history. As with Patrick Riley's recent work on Kant's political philosophy, the CritiqueofJudgmentplays an important part in Booth's interpretation of Kant's politics. This is because Booth believes that a theory of political judgment, not unlike Kant's judgments of the beautiful and the sublime, can be derived from the work. The judgment of beauty finds within nature objects of aesthetic and, therefore, human value. With such a reflective judgment it appears as though nature is shaped by a wise creator whose wish is to please us. The judgment of the sublime, in contrast, accepts nature in all its diversity, arbitrariness and cruelty and seeks nonetheless to interpret it as an ordered whole. What comes out, of course, from placing such stress on the role of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 161-163
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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