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BOOK REVIEWS 379 concerned, signifies the surrender of the critical standpoint of philosophy to ideology. It surely indicates that Abbagnano is somewhat sanguine concerning the marriage of existentialism to social pragmatics. At any rate, Mr. Langiulli has presented a clear translation of representative essays by Abbagnano which serves to whet one's appetite for some of his more substantial philosophical studies. One would hope that more translations of Abbagnano's works will be forthcoming. GEORGE J. STACK State University College of New York at Brockport God and the Seven Spirits. By Evelyn Feiring. (New York: Philosophical Library, 1965. Pp. 159. $3.50) The seven spirits before the throne of God have been a recurring theme in mystical vision. They were, of course, part of Saint John's Revelation. Also they were shared by Irenaeus, some of the Gnostics, Joachim of Flora, Dante, Paracelsus, finding their fullest exposition in Jacob Boehme's Mysterium Magnum where they may have come from the Jewish Cabbala. Likewise seventeenth-century alchemy was full of references to them, especially in their elucidations of the seven stages in the alchemical process, and they also appear in the work of Swedenborg, William Blake and the poetry of Robert Browning. So when a new work on this old mystical theme appears, a work of sincere poetical vision which surely reminds us of those writers, we should pay it serious attention, as here we are dealing more with vision than with the vagaries of individual thought; we may be transgressing into the realm of psychic archetypes; and anything which we can say may be welcome. The scheme of the seven spirits is combination of metaphysics, psychology, cosmology and epistemology. Before reality is there is Undifferentiated Spirit, the old mystical Ungrund, or Groundless. Next, the knowing of creations and heavens. Then the life of Creation: earth and plants, the third spirit. Here Miss Feiring departs from the traditional pattern for she sets as fourth spirit, the love of creation, stars, sun; as fifth spirit, the joy or power; as sixth, the expression of creation in mammals and men; and as seventh, the peace of religion. These seven spirits of God, as Miss Felting gives them, are different from the deeply psychological tomes of Jacob Boehme and the resulting ternary of Hegel. For Miss Felting does not start where Boehme began, with the insight that "in Yes and No all things consist" and she lacks his deep alchemical understanding of the nature of reality. What Miss Feiring does add is art effort to integrate the world of quantum physics into this ancient scheme. She is seeking to apply this scheme of seven spirits to the world of modern science and even perhaps to nuclear physics, for the transmutation of elements in the modern sense is suggested. However, in this age of analysis, when the principle of empirical verification suggests that all propositions which cannot be tested by sense experience are speculative metaphysics and so meaningless, we may want to question the entire frame of reference in which this philosophy is put. No one would venture to suggest that the mysticism of the Zohar, of William Blake, holds in this age of logical positivism and Rudolf Carnap. Yet perhaps, as Ludwig Wittgensteiu says, near the tortuous end of the Tractatus, "It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists" (6.44). Miss Feiring simply does not believe that, for the rest, we must pass over it in silence. She 380 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY raises again the extremely interesting, although not always adequate, vision of the seven divine spirits without, however, the dialectical subtlety of Boehme or the objectivity of Swedenborg. Still this book has to be faced as such--mystical vision. JOHN JOSEPHSTOUDT Pennsylvania State University Announcements RUSSELL CENTENARYCELEBRATIONS Oct. 12-14, 1972 Plans are underway at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario for the celebration of the one-hundredth anniversary of Bertrand Russell's birth. Visiting speakers include: Sir A. J. Ayer, Mr. I. F. Stone, Mr. Christopher Farley of the Russell Peace Foundation, Professor S. P. Rosenbaum, and Professor N. Rescher. The programme will also include films, tapes, and a play entitled "The Chair of Indecency...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 379-380
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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