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196 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY in 1943, was to write an Epilogue to Julian Marias' History o] Philosophy. In early 1944, the Epilogue was conceived as a volume of 400 pages, and later of 700. In 1945 a part of the Epilogue was to be detached and given the title The Origin ol Philosophy. Then one completed part of that was published in 1953 as an essay in a Festschrift for Karl Jaspers. That, and other sections, have been put together here. The first part of the book treats philosophy as a cumulative enterprise in which each man rethinks and thinks further what other men have thought. Even when past thought has reached an end, or taken a direction we will not follow, it is only for the reason that it has already happened that we do not have to do it ourselves. This is not because history is rational but because thought is historical, rooted in ideas we did not ourselves create and based on methods we have acquired and sometimes altered. The second part of the book deals with the origin of philosophy--and the origin of "philosophy" for Ortega is concerned throughout with language and etymology. The word "philosophy" is not one Ortega likes; he prefers the word "aletheia," which was used by Parmenides and his contemporaries. In popular language, aletheia meant discovery, exposure, denudation, revelation. For the thinker, "aletheia" is "truth" as a verb, the activity of uncovering reality, which is concealed under the robes of appearance or falsehood. Philosophy, for Ortega, begins with Parmenides and Heraclitus; "proto-philosophers" he calls them. The Ionians had been scientists; their attempts at natural explanation upset religion and tradition, and prepared the way for philosophy. In a remarkably subtle and complex analysis for so short a space, Ortega argues that skepticism, atheism, wealth, and knowledge of nature created a freedom based on a need to create or choose one's own beliefs in a world in which relative abundance demands choice, since in poverty "an individual is never in the position of being able to choose; for choice assumes that the circle of one's possibilities is notably greater than that of one's needs" (p. 98). The social need to define the thinker and so grant him professional status that might minimize the hostility of the tradition-ridden and reactionary populace, especially in Athens, led to the name "sophist," which became disreputable to a hostile citizenry, and then to "philosopher." Socrates was, unfortunately, the only philosopher, the man who liked, had a taste for, or loved wisdom, but made no pretense that he had any, saying only he sought it. But the name persisted, and helped institutionalize the new profession. I haven't even intimated the delight of Ortega's incidental insights. He was probably justified in believing that his stature as a thinker was much greater than his reputation. A first-rate, full-scale study of Ortega in English would help, but what we need most is a collection and translation of his complete works. RSLPH ROSS ~cripps College Discourse on Thinking. By Martin Heidegger. Translated by John M. Anderson and E. Hans Freund. (New York: Harper and Row, 1966. Pp. 93. $3.50.) This is a translation of a speech and conversation originally published under the thematic title Gelassenheit (Pfullingen: Giinther Neske, 1959). Heidegger uses this unusual German word to remind us that there is another way of thinking than the calculative and dialectical modes made prominent by the mathematical sciences and modem cultural philosophy respectively. We have forgotten a less busy mode of thinking, a thinking released from all desire to control reality. Gelassenheit is rendered throughout as "releasement" in this translation. But Gelassenheit does not just mean letting go, or freedom from, as "releasement" may suggest. It also has the more positive sense of composure and a patient letting things be. In the context of Heidegger's attempts to define a mode of thinking not concerned with dominating reality, Gelassenheit comes to mean the freedom to be open to reality. BOOK REVIEWS 197 Heidegger stresses the ability to wait for insight, which is not, however, a mere passive waiting for something fixed. It would be...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 196-197
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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