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Reviews187 hardly true. Although idealism and positivism competed as a dialogue during their formative years, by the time these authors were actually publishing, they had inherited the tendency for philosophical discussion and controversy much less than any defined or defining view. In the last third ofher study, then,Johnson takes up the Generation of 1914, first focusing on Pérez de Ayala, J. R. Jiménez, and G. Miró and their major works that react to and often parody the themes and practices of the earlier generation. She stresses mat even though stylistically diis generation replaced the overt philosophical dialogue and discursiveness of the Generation of '98 with a focus on visual imagery and linguistic virtuosity, the leadership and influence ofJosé Ortega y Gasset and his focus on the issues of perception and phenomenological description meant that the crossfires continued as the apprentices revised and modified the aesthetics of their Masters. Her final chapter concentrates especially on the relationship of Ortega and his ideas to Benjamin James, Pedro Salinas, and Rosa Chacel. She shows that these last three, separated somewhat further in time and aesthetics from the Generation of '98, move to a more humorous and parodie dialogue where the concepts of consciousness and language take precedence over the sometimes agonizingly serious existential concerns of their elders. This last chapter moves quite rapidly and is perhaps too abbreviated; Johnson assumes that her readers are more thoroughly familiar with the last works studied than the generally much more familiar texts of the first sections of her book. Chapter One in particular contains an inordinate number of typographical errors that momentarily distract the reader. The author's major points are all clearly made and strongly grounded, however, and provide us with a wellrounded and effective vision of the power of intergenerational relationships to provoke philosophical and aesthetic debate and innovation through literature. Whitman CollegeCelia E. Weller Realism and Representation: Essays on the Problem ofRealism in Relation to Science, Literature, and Culture, edited by George Levine; xiii & 331 pp. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993, $50.00 cloth, $23.50 paper. Two of the contributors to this collection refer to the same story by Borges in which a fictional world invented by humans gradually replaces the "real" world created by angels. However, while Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth sides with the inhabitants ofBorges's imaginary world "who know that any system is arbitrary" and that "the elevation of one system above others by calling it 'truth' is merely impoverishing and simple-minded," Robert Scholes is unwilling to abandon 188Philosophy and Literature truth, arguing that "behind most literary views of the inadequacy of language lurk those angels of Borges." The antirealist vs realist debate is die crux of diis volume, based on a 1989 conference at Rutgers University. In his introductory essay, George Levine (who edits the collection as well as the "Science and Literature" series in which it appears) states "that the point of this volume and of the conference is to break down the absoluteness ofthe relativist/antirealist positions ofthe literary camp and the objectivist/realist positions of the scientific one." Most of the contributors, however, are from the literary camp, and having thoroughly deconstructed literary realism, they move on in these essays like a school of piranhas to tear away at (and in some cases to savor) the flesh of scientific realism. The antirepresentationalist position is heavily represented. "Representation as such is too poor, too meager a concept to allow us to say much about any art at all," write Bas C. Van Fraassen and Jill Sigman, for whom "texts of science" are also "open texts." Similarly, N. Katherine Hayles asserts that "our interactions with the flux are always richer and more ambiguous than language can represent"; yet while she is against scientific positivity, the "elusive negativity" or "constrained constructivism" she advocates stops well short ofthe unconstrained constructivism ofskepticism and relativism. More radically, Paul Churchland challenges the traditional view whereby "cognitive states" are represented by sets of beliefs, sentences, or propositions. Instead, he proposes a "neurocomputational" model of understanding involving the activation of certain patterns or "vector[s] across a large population of neurons." Richard Rorty is the arch-antirepresentationalist in the group whose...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 187-189
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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