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538 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY "comes up with such completely different interpretations of eternal recurrence as an inexorable natural law, a turning point of history, the highest fatalism, the free creative act of bestowing eternity" (pp. 4--5). In this manner she manages to present the idea of eternal return as though it were only one possible interpretation among several, and a "simplistic" and "impossible" interpretation at that. Readers interested in a critical analysis of eternal return will find this book very disappointing . Professor Stambaugh says that many of Nietzsche's statements about the doctrine are contradictory (xi), and that many of them "border on 'contradiction' " (p. 4). However, she never mentions specific contradictions, or attempts to decide whether they are real or apparent, and if real, how significant they are. She is opposed to approaching Nietzsche's statements in this fashion. Instead, she maintains that the idea is "in essence enigma," and that it is inappropriate to apply the standard of logical consistency to it (pp. xi, 104). In the "beyond Nietzsche" part of her book, Professor Stambaugh covers a great amount of ground in relatively few pages. She discusses "traditional" theories of time and the "traditional" relation of time to eternity; provides a definition of "time" and discusses several aspects of time, such as its irreversibility; lists four different concepts of eternity; relates time, eternity, and eternal return, all in twenty pages. In my opinion, some of this work is philosophically misguided. For example, what insight is gained or what potential for confusion is produced by saying that "time can be defined generally as what has no end, as what happens again and again, is never finished and ultimate. Eternity we shall define as the Ultimate..." (p. 123)? Certainly much of this part of the book is quite murky. However, I suppose one must expect the explanation of an idea which is "in essence enigma" to be enigmatic, too. Consider , for example, her answer to the question of "What eternally returns? .... Eternity is eternal return of the Same. The Same is not a thing or a person recurring in endless cycles of absolute time. The Same is return" (p. 107). This idea is further elaborated in the concluding paragraph of the book: At best, the "identity" of time and eternity could be expressed by saying that time is as-simil-ated to eternity. The Same is this process o/as-simil-ation, a manner of occurring which first determines any possible "what," any thing or person or whatever.... If one asks, as one must, about what it is that comes again, one must first ask about the manner in which the "what" is constituted by the "how." The "how" in this ease is not the inexorable form of time, but the power-full freedom of possibilities of being. (P. 127) If a reader is intrigued by these passages, regardless of whatever relationship they may or may not bear to what Nietzsche wrote about eternal return, and if he has a taste for this style of philosophizing, then he might be interested in reading parts of this book. However, it definitely is not a book which every serious student of Nietzsche will want to have on his shelves. WILLIAM J. GRIFFITH Bard College Pragmatism As Humanism: The Philosophy o/William James. By Patrick Kiaran Dooley. (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1974. Pp. xii + 220. $9.95) In recent years there has been a mini-renaissance of interest in the philosophy of William James. Much of the resulting work comprises a welcome addition to the literature on James's work. Patrick Dooley's study deserves to be well received by anyone interested in a comprehensive view of the Jamesian corpus. It successfully accomplishes one of its major objectives; but the study also makes claims about James which, if they are not wrong, at least serve to give a distorted picture of James's mature work. BOOK REVIEWS 539 The reader who is looking for a critical examination of various Jamesian doctrines will not find it in Dooley's book. Rather, his "principal objective.... is to provide a thematic exposition of the philosophy of William James" (p. 1). In particular, Dooley is interested in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 538-542
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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