In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

324 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 26:2 APRIL i988 have drawn and however undeniably valuable we may estimate his contribution to the development of philosophy on Kantian lines. It must be acknowledged, however, that Monteiro's attempt to bring Hume closer to Kant is shared by several contemporary critics. In the fourth chapter, Monteiro puts forward an original interpretation of Hume's epistemology, based chiefly on the Dialogues on Natural Religion. The author argues convincingly in support of his tenet that Hume developed a naturalistic epistemology in which pre-Darwinian traits may be recognized. Outstanding among them is Hume's interpretation of habit as a means of survival superior to reason. In the fifth chapter, Monteiro refers to Hume's use of irony, especially as a weapon against ideology and censorship. To this latter subject he devotes the sixth chapter, agreeing with Noxon that Hume's strategy consisted in using dialogue form, so that dangerous opinions should be voiced by one of the interlocutors. This is followed by a series of interesting biographical data showing that, despite his cautious attitude, Hume could not keep his ideological enemies at bay. In the seventh chapter, Monteiro draws a comparison between Hume's and Freud's doctrines, in order to show that both differ from traditional hedonism and that Hume's recourse to understanding in order to reconcile pleasure and reality forestalls one of Freud's main tenets. Up to this point, the parallel sounds convincing and attractive, but I think Monteiro carries Hume's rationalistic bent too far when he attributes to him a "reasonable and calculating hedonism," such as Ricoeur attributes to Freud. In general, Monteiro's intepretation tends to minimize the role of the passions as a cause of human action in Hume's moral theory. On the other hand, he sets off some of the most novel and positive traits of Hume's system, when he interprets his theory of justice as a substitution of the principle of reality for the principle of pleasure . His emphasis on the role of the understanding in providing nature with additional means for self-adjustment, is another relevant contribution of the author's to an interpretation of Hume's philosophy from a contemporary point of view. In the last chapter, Monteiro insists on the importance of hypotheses in Hume's epistemology, as their introduction into scientific explanation would mark the boundary between science and common sense knowledge. Hume's employment of hypotheses in his own science of man is a recurrent tenet in this collection of studies. It gives unity to Monteiro's work and makes of it an interesting contribution by a Latin American scholar to recent literature on Humean epistemology. MARGARITA COSTA University of Buenos Aires Michael J. Crowe. The Extraterrestrial Life Debate. 175o-z9oo. The Idea of a Plurality of Worldsfrom Kant to Lowell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Pp. xix + 68o. $59.5o. Though I feel sure that this book was conceived and executed independently of Stephen J. Dick's Plurali~ of Worlds (which I reviewed in this journal, vol. u2, no. 3, 1984), BOOK REVIEWS 3~5 it is a natural sequel to it, but on a much grander scale. The most fundamental revolution in pluralism occurred during the period covered by Dick's book. It was the replacement of the problem of mundi dissiti by the problem of locating other centers of natural motion in our own firmament. The invention of the telescope, aided by analogical imagination, soon replaced the debate on the plurality of worlds with debate on extraterrestrial life; and a metaphysical question was converted into an at least potentially empirical question. With this came another important change occurring in Crowe's period. There were very few new arguments (I have tried to show elsewhere that all the argument-forms were exhausted already in the classical period), but within two centuries of the time when pluralism was regarded as a heresy the onus probandi was shifted to the opponents of pluralism. The author wisely says, several times, that theology was more powerful than the telescope; so overwhelming was the influence of natural theology with its attendant teleology that the now dominant argument for...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 324-326
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.