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BOOK REVIEWS 1 17 knowing becomes important as a precondition for further doing. Rockmore brings out the anti-Cartesian nature of this active theory of the self. Knowledge is essentially an interaction between subject and object. Objectivity cannot be encountered from a neutral and independent standpoint; it can be encountered only as a relation between an object and an active experiencing subject. This theory must abandon the search for certain knowledge of the real founded upon the guarantee of a cogito; it turns toward pragmatism. In order to understand experience we require concepts, which we impose upon experience and which constitute experience. But since the concepts used to constitute experience must originally be derived from experience itself, this process is inherently circular. It abandons the traditional notion that real knowledge must be founded upon absolute certitude. Experience cannot yield timeless truths. Since our concepts are dependent upon the social context from which they derive, as this context changes so must our concepts, and as these concepts change, our constitution of experience will change. Rockmore argues that Fichte and Marx were the most prominent opponents of the Cartesion concept of man as a contemplative spectator. However, much of what Rockmore says about Fichte and Marx throughout the book would also be true of Hegel. Instead of developing this connection, Rockmore emphasizes the differences. He argues that Hegel replaces man as an active subject with an infinite, absolute subject and thus returns to a version of the Cartesian spectator theory. A treatment of Hegel more extended and with finer nuance would have produced a stronger book. PHILIP J. KAIN Stanford University Borden Parker Bowne. Representative Essays of Borden Parker Bowne. Edited by Warren E. Steinkraus. Introductory essay by Herbert W. Schneider. Utica: Meridian Publishing Company, 198o. Pp. xvi + 228. $1~.5o. No one can claim a comprehensive knowledge of American philosophy without an understanding of personalistic idealism, or personalism, A foundation for this understanding is a careful study of the writings of its founder, Borden Parker Bowne. By bringing together in a single volume, Representative Essays of Borden Parker Bowne, essays that embody Bowne's main interests--practical religion, ethical concerns, science , freedom, logic, idealistic metaphysics--and wisely selected correspondence between Bowne and James, Warren Steinkraus provides a valuable introduction to personalistic idealism. Within the restrictions of a brief review it is not possible to consider adequately the complexity or depth of Bowne's perspective as expressed in these fourteen chapters. Suppose we ask what Bowne's most significant philosophical contribution is. It seems to me that the answer is, a vigorous and timely defense and development of personalistic (theistic) idealism. Bowne's defense is represented by a half-dozen essays , including those providing a solution to the natural-supernatural dichotomy and those expressing clearly the difficulties inherent in modern materialism. 118 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY To avoid self-contradiction within the theory of knowledge, Bowne argues, we are obliged to view nature as dependent upon "a Self-directing Force, or Free Mind, a Spiritual Being, an Ever-Living Will." "God is, not the probable, but the absolute necessity of science as well as religion." Rejecting "a lumpish materiality," Bowne offers a "rational idealism" or "theistic idealism," which holds that both the meaning and existence of things is governed by consciousness. A teleological explanation fits with a causal account since that account requires purpose, will, and mind for its full understanding. Nor can mind be adequately conceived as an organization or product of matter. This simpleminded reductionism continually reappears in thought. On the one hand, Bowne argues, if mind be such a product, then thought, feeling, and volition must be explained in physical terms. On the other hand, if mind is an immaterial product of matter, then it must be explained how the principles of continuity and conservation of energy can be held, If nerves consume energy in their functions, then thought must represent a certain amount of energy consumed in its production. If physical energy is used in producing thought as thought, then such energy seems to lose its distinctive traits and disappear into the mental realm--a vanishing that can only puzzle materialists. Is, then, the physical energy lost? Or, is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 117-118
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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