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BOOK REVIEWS 273 skill, his subtle mind, his bold constructions and reconstructions, and his sometimes unexpected but persuasive conclusions. E. H. VOLKART University o! Hawaii Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England. By Frank Miller Turner. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974. Pp. 273. $12.50) It is a well-known story that Sidgwick gave up his fellowship because he could no longer subscribe to the Apostle's Creed. The episode tells us something about a typical Victorian phenomenon, the loss of orthodox faith. But it also shows an aspect of at least some Victorian minds very unlike the standard Huxleian scientific rationalist. For Sidgwick as for James Ward, Frederic Myers, Samuel Butler, Alfred Wallace and George Romares (the other men of letters or science discussed in this essay) the loss of religion left an intellectual and emotional gap to be filled. The story of attempts by these men to find some alternative basis for a spiritual realm in parapsychology, parapsychism and creative evolution is told here with a wealth of documentation, and similarities between these late Victorians and their continental counterparts are suggested. Claremont Graduate School A. R. Louca Ernst Mach: His Work, Li]e, and Influence. By John T. Blackmore. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 1972. Pp. 414. $16.95) John T. Blackmore's biography of Ernst Mach is a distressing book. On the one hand, the book has significantly enriched the public store of biographical information about Mach. On the other hand, Blackmore does not understand the nature of Mach's major contributions to the development of either modern physics or philosophy, and so portrays it in a misleading way. This is a lamentable state of affairs, since his is the only full length biography of Mach. According to Einstein, it was Mach who shook the dogmatic faith in classical mechanics held by the physicists of the last century. For Mach as for Newton, concepts and principles were inferred from phenomena and then rendered general by induction. The sum of Mach's critique of Newton's absolutes was that they could not be inferred from experience. According to Einstein, despite Mach's help in clearing up past confusions, he was not a reliable guide to the future since he did not understand "the constructive-speculative nature of thought, more especially scientific thought..." ("Autobiographical Notes," in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, ed. by P. A. Schilpp [Evanston, 192I], p. 21). "All concepts, even those which are closest to experience, are from the point of view of logic, freely chosen conventions..." (ibid., p. 13). But Blackmore does not locate Mach's error in a mistaken view of method; rather for Blackmore, Mach's great error was to be a phenomenalist. In his preface, Blackmore writes: "To clarify and occasionally criticize Mach's philosophical ideas especially those of a phenomenalistic or Buddhistic drift, I have often contrasted his point of view with what I call 'common sense'. I mean the representationalistic view of Galileo, Boyle, Locke, and Newton----ideas widely accepted and 274 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY used by practical people today and the only epistemology compatible with a reasonable understanding of the process of perception as accepted by most scientists in the field" (pp. x-xi). Thus, in his account of Mach's critique of Newton, Blackmore assesses the matter as involving merely a decision between phenomenalism and dualism. For Blackmore , when "Newton talked about physical reality he meant what lay entirely beyond experience (i.e., consciously noticeable experience). When Mach talked about physical reality, he meant what lay entirely within experience (consciously noticeable experience)" (p. 91). These claims are based on Blackmore's explication of Newton as a dualist, who believed that ideas were in the mind while objects were outside of the mind, and of Mach, on the other hand, as denying the existence of objects apart from sensations. On the basis of this analysis of the philosophical differences between Newton and Mach, Blackmore makes short work of Mach's famous critique of Newton's account of absolute space as set out in The Science o/Mechanics (LaSalle, 1960): Math objected to "absolute space" on the grounds: first, that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 273-276
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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