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256Philosophy and Literature science. The book also has an appendix with the title "A Practical Guide to Literary Thematics," which contains advice for the aspiring thematologist both about method and bibliographical research. Though no doubt useful for those who want to pursue this line of research and though it provides illuminating insight into the way in which Ziolkowski himself works, the appendix seems incongruous in a book which otherwise contains essays addressed to an advanced academic audience. All the essays are of a high scholarly standard, well researched, with a clear line of argument and, a rare treat these days, written in a clear and lively prose. When the book nevertheless fails to satisfy, this has to do with the nature of the subject itself. For in spite of the presence of the word "thematics" in the title of the book, only one of the six essays (the last, "The Ethics of Science from Adam to Einstein: Variations on a Theme") deals with a theme. The other essays all deal with literary motifs. For the general reader this is an important distinction. For central, perennial literary themes have an inherent interest which literary motifs do not possess. And an exploration of such a theme tells us something about why literature is interesting and important which a discussion of a motif cannot tell us. An exploration of the treatment in Western literature of the theme of the moral responsibility of the scientist for the practical application of his research gives us insight into the literary manifestation of a concern that engages our intellect, imagination, and moral feeling independently of its occurrence in literature. And the identification of this theme in various literary works is a partial explanation of why we continue to find those literary works interesting. A similar exploration of the treatment in Western literature of teeth and toothdecay , the carbuncle, or the talking dog, has a more limited interest and contributes little to our understanding of the nature ofliterature itself, fascinating as the exploration of these motifs may be to the specialist. University of OsloStein Haugom Olsen Philosophical-Political Profiles, by J├╝rgen Habermas, translated by Frederick G. Lawrence; xxv & 21 1 pp. Cambridge : MIT Press, 1983, $25.00. To readers daunted by Habermas's arid, at times convoluted style, this collection of essays spanning twenty years of intellectual encounters should come as a respite; to those unfamiliar with him, it will serve as an introduction. Passionate and precise, rigorous and readable in one, it presents West Germany's foremost social theorist's view of eleven recent philosophers, a view increasingly shaped by a theory of emancipatory communication. Reviews257 The question tying the volume together is whether philosophy still has a purpose ; the perspective informing it holds that "the future of philosophical thought is a matter of political practice" (p. 17). Two general, historical-analytical essays (on the task of critique and the fertile connection between German idealism and Jewish philosophy) set the context for the subsequent profiles, ranging from Karl Jaspers ("The Figures of Truth," 1958) to Hans-Georg Gadamer ("Urbanizing the Heideggerian Province," 1979). Many of these close-ups are occasional , prompted by public honors, major publications, anniversaries, or deaths. As such, they are in the mode of"bourgeois philosophical journalism," as Habermas notes in the preface to the first German edition, documents of a vanishing era "with which thought is so incarnated in single great figures that one has to encounter the thinkers in coming to terms with their ideas" (translator's introduction, p. ix). However, the conditions for proceeding collaboratively and/or collectively do not yet exist. Not the least attraction of the essays is therefore the (single) position Habermas takes in regard to his figures. He situates their work for the task at hand and is not afraid to judge. Most pronounced perhaps is his verdict on Martin Heidegger ("the prophetic thinker" not of distance so much as of rank distinction, to whose basic vocabulary "communication does not belong," p. 53), and his grief over the death of Theodor W. Adorno, whose aid in realizing all that we "are incapable of knowing in the present state of affairs" remains indispensable (p. 109). The personal tone of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 256-258
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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