We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
Language and Being: An Analytic Phenomenology (review)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

114 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY In his article, "Time and the World Order," he does go further in this direction. But the notion of analogy, heavily relied upon, is not sufficiently explicated to help philosophers parse differing conceptions of time and their complex conceptual interrelations . Sellars also argues convincingly that whereas Kant was correct in claiming the transcendental ideality of space, Kant's arguments fail with respect to establishing the same status for non-ideal spatial relations between particular states of affairs. Sellars himself argues for the "mere" objective being of the latter, but on substantially different grounds. I shall tip my hand by saying that the true ground for the transcendental ideality of the perceptual world lies in the distinction between perceptible physical objects and the objects of theoretical science, a distinction that was blurred by Kant. Thus, his concept of physical appearance runs together not only the idealized counterparts of perceptible things (e.g., systems of point-masses whose velocities and accelerations are amenable to differential equations ) but also the objects of micro-physics which are as imperceptible as ideal objects, though for radically different reasons. (p. 56) Perhaps no doctrine in Sellars' thought is more difficult to analyze and assess than that concerning persons as conceptual agents. Our SeUarsianly endorsed Kantian framework of public physical objects includes persons as individuals--that is to say, as logically individual subjects of various predicates. But on the level of scientific theory, persons, as well as nonpersons, dissolve into pluralities of logical subjects. How then does one account for the unity of the person? A suggested answer is that on the metaphysico -scientific level the concept of a person is inappropriate. Another suggested Sellarsian answer is that a micro-neuro-physiological handling of purposiveness, a concept entailed by the distinction between mental acts and mental actions, may well be possible. The implication of this suggestion, of course, is that the concepts of person and agent are no more difficult to handle than the concept of purpose. But Sellars' remarks here are decidedly incomplete. To conclude on a series of negative notes would be inappropriate, however. Sellars offers a great deal of painstakingly careful, important philosophical analysis in this study. And at the same time he provides a Kantianly modelled and modified metaphysical vision. I have pointed out some difficulties. These are perhaps the inevitable, though not irremedial consequences of the magnitude of the undertaking. At any rate, they should give philosophers of scientific persuasion pause for further thought. STEPHEN A. ERICKSON Pomona College Language and Being: An Analytic Phenomenology. By Stephen A. Erickson. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Pp. viii+ 165. $6.50) For minds concerned with synthesis it is hardly tolerable that two chief trends in philosophy today, language analysis and phenomenology, should apparently have so little to do with one another. Hence, books like this one are beginning to appear which strive with might and main to build bridges across the chasm. There are many ways of erecting such intellectual structures. Stephen Erickson, a young philosopher at Pomona College, attempts it by applying the tools of analysis to Heidegger's writings, primarily to Being and Time. Since Erickson is both learned and BOOK REVIEWS 115 perceptive, the result is more cautious and independent-minded than most such comparative works. Though his primary allegiance seems to lie with Wittgenstein and other analysts, he tries to understand Heidegger's baffling formulations and, in his final, most difficult chapter, to agree with some of Heidegger's main emphases. For example, p. 159, "... in a transcendental sense Being takes precedence over man. This position I believe correct." How many analysts will approve his efforts to cope with Heidegger's bold theses on the relations of human being to Being should be interesting to look for in reviews. The path of the synthesizer is usually a stony one. For the student of Heidegger it is gratifying to observe that Erickson rejects the common notions that he is either an idealist or an existentialist. He rightly understands Heidegger's endeavor to distinguish entities or beings from Being as such and considers him to be an ontologist who uses a distinctive phenomenological method for.his...