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BOOK REVIEWS 417 in some sense evaluation precedes description, is one which, from the evidence available in this volume, we may expect to receive an increasing amount of philosophical attention. This is an extremely readable book. Almost all of the contributors show themselves to be sensitive to the phenomena of art as well as knowledgeable of the historical background of the problems of current aesthetics. It is worth noting, finally, that among the musicologists, art historians, literary cirtics, and philosophers represented here there is a vigorous sort of cross-disciplinary dialogue which shows, not only that aesthetics need not be "dreary," but that the lament "No communication among disciplmesl" is not always true. JOHN M. WAL~V~ University o] Missouri at St. Louis Metaphysical Analysis. By John W. Yolton. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967. Pp. xviii + 216.$7.50) Between metaphysics on the one hand and linguistic analysis on the other lies a fathomless chasm which cannot be easily bridged. Indeed, even to attempt to unite these hostile domains is to invite manifest hazards. Nevertheless the spanning of thiS cleft is the object in the present book of a scholar whose earlier efforts produced valuable studies of Eddington 's philosophy of science, the ways of thinking and perceiving, and the theory of knowledge . John Yolton, now at York University, Toronto, here begins by examining the analytical foundations of phenomenalism; he concludes that phenomenalism is a genuine ontology rather than a mere Jason de parler. He ~imi!arly scrutinizes the theory of sense data along with the epistemologieal dualism which is usually associated with that theory; he concludes that the dualist's claim of a transcendent reality is also a genuine ontology rather than a mere variety of constructionism. In the third part of the book Yolton probes typical modem views with respect to the theory of meaning. His principal conclusion here, as in the first two parts, is that you cannot escape ontology: "To claim that we could determine what the world is like by examining language is not to make a meaning or epistemic claim; it is already to engage in ontology" (p. 156). Indeed, he carries the analysis of meaning beyond the point of merely showing that meaning is entwined with ontology. He actually puts forward and defends his own theory of meaning, and he uncovers and exhibits the ontology and the theory of truth which it entails. Among the principal features of Yolton's theory of meaning, of objects, and of truth are the following standpoints: a) Knowing how to use an expression is necessary for knowing the meaning of the expression , but it is often not su~cient for knowing the expression's meaning. To claim that knowing the use is sufficient "is extravagant; we cannot do without reference" (p. 146). b) What a meaningful expression refers to is "the intentional, not the actual, object" (p. 160). c) The kind of being possessed by the intentional object may conveniently be called "inexistence." Thus: ... when I think of a book, that book intentionally inexists in my thought. What is the relation between the intentionally inexisting book and the actual book? The one I can read, buy, take home under my arm, give to a friend, but this is not true for the other. In short, the intentionally inexisting book is not a book at all.... What an intentional object is in the content of some thought. As a content, it does have mental reality, but ... It]he world of inexistenee is not existence. [p. 164] d) The reification of some abstractions is a legitimate ontological procedure. Specifically, "certain kinds of non-empirical objects, such as the general will, absolute spirit, or the state,...are reifications proper, abstractions from perceptual experience hypostatized by the demands of ontology" (p. 170). To take the state as an example, "the refusal to 418 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY accord objective existence to such an abstraction characterizes only the short-sighted" (p. 173). e) A proposition is true if the conditions which it prescribes correspond to the actual situation. In Yolton's words: ... it is not the assertion which corresponds with existence, but the conditions prescribed by the assertion. Every truth situation involves...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 417-418
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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