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136Philosophy and Literature The Architecture ofExperience, by Graheun D. Meulin; vi & 201 pp. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1981. $24.00. (Distributed in North America by Columbia University Press.) Graham Martin is a lecturer in French at the University ofEdinburgh. He writes in his most impressive and delightful form when he traces die imperfect synonymy of words used in French, English, and other lemguages to treuislate one another. A persistent theme of this book is the need for human beings to pursue freedom by confronting original, provoking works of literature and other eurts — and to increase that provocation by reading books in at least two lemguages. To grasp ambiguities and shades of meeming in one or more lemguages is to be freed from a bond of tribal dogmatism. Thus Martin writes: "These remarks rest upon die following propositions (which I take to be unassailable): (1) that language does not fit reality as the glove fits the hand; (2) that even if it did so, the glove and the hand are not die same diing; (3) that this is shown unmistakenly by the disagreements between different lemguages; (4) diat language, the awareness of reality, and the fit between the two are operations diat die individual in die last resort performs. And ifthe philosophical position diat we are then driven to is a sort of 'individualism,' dien so be it" (p. 100). A number of professioned philosophers are likely to relish the examples of frustrated translation, then to squirm at their alleged role in supporting such theses. "Has the author," they might ask, "been having recent nightmares about the 1920s and about forms of Logical Atomism and Picture Theories of Meaning?" Martin, it is clear, would reply diat inflexible people everywhere evade his theses, while totalitarian governments of today strongly encourage the petrified and pseudo-perfectionist errors about language which he attacks (p. 159). He sees himself as a humanitarian who shares Sir Karl Popper's zeed for individual criticism and creative change (pp. 26, 75, etc.). Here I suspect that Martin has fedlen with a polymadiic plop between two stools in dropping his pronouncements on synonymy. For the general reader he is radier eruditely obscure. For die philosopher he offers no hint ofknowing the still central debate between W. V. Quine and his critics on sameness of meaning. Martin's concluding chapter on "culture" is by far the most timely and moving. "Everyone knows [diat] 'culture' has at least two definitions: (1) the creative fine arts . . . and (2) the manners and customs of a people, dieir religious beliefs and social organization, dieir explicit or implicit attitudes and values" (pp. 135-36). He distinguishes accordingly between culture as (1) "value-culture" and (2) "socio-culture." He quotes widely from sociologists', educators', neo-Marxists', and odiers' recent attempts to expel value-culture from national life and schooling. Arguments based on egalitarianism and supposedly value-free social science are intelligently castigated. This chapter deploys Martin's knowledge of writers in different fields in ways diat make it easier for the layman to follow the arguments. And if diose arguments are relatively unsophisticated , they remain worth discussing in seminars as well as in popular discussions. Less happily, Chapter One, Outwards from Perceptions," has The Architecture ofExperience beginning with "Consciousness" and "Raw Sense Data" for building the "world ofpersonal and social relationships" (p. 17). Yet Martin ignores how Russell, Carnap, and Reviews137 Goodman failed monumentally at related constructions. Literature, not philosophy, is Martin's stronger suit. University of AlbertaJohn King-Farlow Swifi's Anatomy ofMisunderstanding, by Frances Deutch Louis; 193 pp. Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes & Noble, 1981, $19.50. Swift generates fierce satirical energy that yields no tolerance for critics who are strenuous bull milkers or hermetic diddlers. A reasonable critic like Professor Louis approaches him warily, not wanting to end up as anodier "in die long dull line begot by Momus" (p. xxvi). No critic comes away from Swift unscadied — neither does Louis, but she makes a noble and interesting effort. This book is a lucid and tenacious demonstration of die centrality of epistemology in Swift's two major works, A Tale ofa Tub and Gulliver's Travels. Professor Louis shows convincingly that both satires concern man's...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 136-137
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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