In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews199 analytico-referential discourse and the medieval discourse from which it emerges as well as the discourse of the Greeks, Reiss explores the coming to dominance of modernist praxis by reading Utopian and science-fiction texts (from More's Utopia through Kepler's Somnium, Campanella's Città del sole, Bacon 's New Atlantis and New Organon, Cyrano's Voyage dans la lune and Voyage au soleil to Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels). In a concluding chapter, Reiss emphasizes that the dominance of analytico-referential discourse is coming to an end. We are facing a crisis in all modes of discursive practice, which makes it all the more important to comprehend how fundamental changes in discourse take place. Reiss's book not only contributes to the understanding of discursive power and discursive change and to the démystification of modernist praxis; it also sketches impressively the outline of some of the paths between the imperatives of truth and valid experimentation in science, possessive individualism in politico-economic theory, taste in aesthetic theory, common sense in philosophy , and contract in social theory. The Discourse ofModernism is not, however, without problems. Thus, Reiss is unclear as to the extent of the dominance of a dominant discourse: if such a discourse is accompanied by others contemporaneous with it and if it is undergoing change, if— that is — its spatio-temporal universality is constantly in danger, how dominant is it? Furthermore, Reiss's exploration seems at times circular (rather than dialectical): his readings allow him to give evidence for the adequacy of his historical schema; but this very schema is what allows him to read texts in such a way as to give the needed evidence. More generally, Reiss does not solve problems that are perhaps inherent to his undertaking: for instance, if systems are always in flux, how can we talk about systems? how can we read what is "other" except insofar as it is not other? and, very bluntly, how free can Reiss and his vision be of analytico-referential bias? It remains that the breadth of Reiss's arguments, the intricacy of his developments , and the remarkable ambition of his investigation make The Discourse ofModernism a fundamental text for anyone concerned with the meaning of and changes in human praxis. University of PennsylvaniaGerald Prince Ludwig Wittgenstein, by David Pears; xxiv & 208 pp. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986, $7.95 paper . This is a new edition of a book that first appeared in 1970. The changes are concentrated in the new preface, which significantly adds to the worth of the book, filling certain lacunae in the original. 200Philosophy and Literature This introduction to the philosophy of Wittgenstein is divided into two sections, one dealing with his early views embodied in the Tractatus LogicoPhihsophicus , and the other with his later views in the Philosophical Investigations. Pears is more concerned with plotting the course of Wittgenstein's views as a coherent evolution than as a disjointed conversion experience. He presents us with a kind of map; this book makes little or no effort to answer the deep problems with Wittgenstein's views. Repeatedly the author drops a line of inquiry just when the professional philosopher is ready to say, "Yes, but ..." Frustrating as this may be for the reader, it really shows admirable restraint on the part of the author to keep within the bounds of his task of providing an introduction. To this end, Pears draws freely on other philosophers such as Kant, Hume, and Russell as a backdrop for Wittgenstein's views. Also conducive to his purpose is the fact that the book is refreshingly unpeppered with the usual verbatim quotations of the stock mysterious aphorisms. The introduction immediately preceding the first section would make an admirable short introduction to philosophy in general, starting as it does from the broadest issues such as what philosophy is (and giving a remarkably clear answer!). The first section on the Tractatus is particularly lucid and wellargued . Pears has a knack for giving one a feel for the issues in a short space without getting bogged down in details or exegesis. On the other hand, perhaps more exegesis would have been in order in the second section...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 199-201
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.