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Shorter Reviews121 (2) that art exists for its own sake and owes no debts to reality. Gass is sometimes thought of as holding the second view, but I take it that his position is richer and more complex. I think that he refuses to accept this reputedly clear distinction. Gass consistently argues for the importance of art, because it is a product of human activity which does not exist on a different ontological plane from other products of human activity. Literature is made with language, and language is essentially communicative. Though Gass calls Tolstoy's What is Art? "that masterpiece of the missed point" (p. 304), this is a point that Tolstoy, for all his craziness, has not missed. What is communicated in literary works of art and why we take interest in them, are important philosophical questions which are not answered by pointing out, as I have, the disanalogy between the words in a literary work, and the paint in a painting. Perhaps someday Gass will have more to say to us about these questions. MlDDLEBURY COLLEGESTANLEY BaTES Atheism and the Rejection ofGod: Contemporary Philosophy and The Brothers Karamazov, by Stewart R. Sutherland; viii & 152 pp. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977, £6.75. In The Brothers Karamazov Ivan denies intelligibility to any way of life in which prayer and worship play central parts, and he allows only a trivial concept of God. Sutherland contends that Ivan's atheism can be understood only by grasping the role of his emotions. In general, "certain terms are such that some uses of sentences in which they are included are correctly understood as partially expressive of emotions" (p. 45); in particular, "the expression of emotion is part of the meaning of sentences including the word 'God' " (p. 44). In religious terms, Ivan's "poem" of the Grand Inquisitor is a study of Christ consequent upon a rejection of God (p. 75), and the questions raised "about the nature of love and its compatibility with Christ's gift of freedom leave a much more ambivalent picture of Christ" (p. 79) than that claimed by most commentators. Sutherland asks whether faith can make a logically appropriate response to Ivan's atheism, and whether an "artistic picture" (Dostoyevsky's phrase) can help settle a philsophical question. He contends that Dostoyevsky imagines a "form of life" in which terms such as "God" can have a sense denied to them by Ivan. Five necessary criteria for something being a form of life are suggested (p. 98). There must be detectable differences in behavior and discoverable coherent logical rules at work, even when knowledge of what counts as coherent requires a grasp of the point in following such rules; there must be criteria within the putative form of life for distinguishing between truth and falsehood, and between appearance and reality, and these criteria must enable us to determine incompatibility with the putative form of life; 122Philosophy and Literature finally, we must be able to distinguish between those activities which are part of a game and those which are part of a form of life. Sutherland holds that by tracing out the life of Zossima we can see how Dostoyevsky modified the concept of miracle, but he concedes that if the pattern! of living we are shown is so circumscribed as to have no application outside a monastery then, according to the criteria just stipulated, Zossima cannot be said to exemplify a form of life at all. Sutherland also agrees with Bakhtin that Dostoyevsky "could not accept any single metaphysical picture with its consequent ideology, and that this is what dominated the structure of the novels" (p. 138). For Sutherland, emotions can be "constituent parts" of belief, not merely "associates or correlations of beliefs" (p. 140). It would seem to be an essential tenet of the view to which he is committed, however, that emotions are characterized by their objects and beliefs as much as by their behavioral features; and it is the complex beliefs of the characters that Sutherland, like the commentators he castigates, seeks to spell out. At one point Sutherland refers to the narrator (p. 118), and although he denies an identity of views between Zossima and Dostoyevsky, the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 121-122
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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