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

436 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Individual volumes are not indexed, but an index of names and subjects for the whole edition will be provided. Clearly, this edition is organized to be used as a whole set, which makes individual volumes less useful in themselves. Yet the high cost means that very few individuals will be able to purchase the whole set, and only the most affluent libraries. Assuming that this edition as projected is completed, will it revolutionize Shaftesbury scholarship? I doubt it. The unpublished material will probably offer few great surprises. Shaftesbury's primary works have been published already. However, the material made available will provide support for interpretation and will enrich our knowledge of Shaftesbury as a man and as a thinker. An example of this is The Adept Ladys, in the first volume, printed for the first time in unabridged form. Written in the form of a letter, it recounts what may have been an actual encounter Shaftesbury had with some religious enthusiasts. It underlies again his intense dislike of "false enthusiasm" and contains an interesting passage extolling the virtues of moderate Anglicanism, whose established rites provided a bulwark against "Cant and Nonsense " and "horrid Superstitions" (p. 414). The textual variants will also probably not reveal anything startling; ninety-five percent or more seem to be minor changes in wording. Shaftesbury's thought matured in a relatively short period of time that was terminated by his illness and early death. Thus, there was not the time to make extensive and substantive revisions over a long period of years. But the variations provided will help to clarify some passages and give us further insight into Shaftesbury's thought. STANLEY GREAN Ohio University Ezra Talmor. Descartes and Hume. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 198o. Pp. xviii + 174. $17.oo. It is usual to think of Hume's philosophy as a repudiation of Descartes's system. It is also commonly thought that Hume's experimental method was frustrated by the inherited doctrine of ideas upon which he tried to ground his science of human nature. By questioning both of these conventional suppositions in his study Descartes and Hume, Ezra Talmor encourages his readers to reconsider both Hume's relationship to Descartes and the historical role of the doctrine of ideas. Talmor proposes that Hume aimed to preserve what was essential in Descartes's conceptual revolution by eliminating those reactionary features of Cartesianism that were incompatible with the emerging scientific world view. Hume preserved the doctrine of ideas and the dichotomy of mind and matter that that doctrine entailed. He tried to eliminate those vestiges of Aristotelianism--substantial forms, powers, contingent causes, and the like--that left openings for anthropomorphic views and supernatural explanations. Unlike those commentators from Thomas Reid forward, who find the source of Humean skepticism in a doctrine of ideas that drops a screen BOOK REVIEWS 437 between mind and world, Talmor argues that the doctrine is a corollary of the experimental method and is needed to guarantee the objectivity of knowledge. By this he means that the chief epistemological point of the doctrine of ideas was to distinguish radically between objects of consciousness and material objects and thereby to break the bad Scholastic habit of projecting mental qualities and propensities onto physical reality, The depiciton of Hume as a consistent Cartesian requires tact in the selection of textual details. Descartes was concerned with the methodology and metaphysical foundations of natural science. Hume wanted to apply that method to the social sciences, and he found helpful clues in the ontology implied by the physics of his day. On the question of methodology, Talmor aptly appeals to the often neglected Essays, Moral, Political and Literary, where Hume's determinism most clearly shows itself in his positivistic assumption that all phenomena ! including cultural ones, are amenable in principle to causal explanation. On one ontological point, it is true, as Talmor reminds us, that Hume took from the physicists' notion of secondary qualities the suggestion that moral qualities, like sounds and colors, are subjective--"not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind. ''~ But do Hume and Descartes concur in distiniguishinig between primary and secondary qualities? In his discussion of "the modern philosophy" in...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 436-438
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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.