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

368 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY them to be more subtle thinkers than is captured by the approbation "vulgar." None are crude reductionists, much less so than many of their twentieth-century heirs, and Moleschott and Cz61be, if not Vogt and Biichner, are depicted as conversant with the more subtle issues in nineteenth-century philosophy of science, with German Idealism, and with its critiques by the left Hegelians. By his depiction of "scientific" materialism as a more coherent and complex intellectual movement than previously assumed, Gregory's study forces further reflection on the exact nature of the historical relationship of this to "historical" materialism. Wartofsky's book implicitly maintains a sharp distinction between these two materialisms, and Feuerbach's lapse into the former is regretted and used to indicate Feuerbach's intellectual decline. Scientific Materialism poses, however , certain difficulties for the presumptions of such analyses. By arguing that Feuerbach is indeed seminal for the emergence of a particular form of materialism that cannot be readily presumed to be a simple continuation of Enlightenment French materialism, the problem is posed that both forms of materialism are derived from a common source in German philosophy, a "dialectical" critique of idealism. Although this point is indeed more an implied suggestion than a developed thesis in Gregory's work, there is an issue here that would seem to demand further exploration. Gregory's concluding remarks, citing evidence for a renewed interest in nineteenthcentury scientific materialism by Marxist intellectuals, gives further reason to see more in common between the two materialisms than has often been assumed. The possibility that the longstanding conflict between Marxists and "scientific" materialists reaches back to a divergence from a common historical root suggests some interesting revisions in the present understanding of the roots of modem materialism in its several varieties. To its disadvantage, Gregory's book was written without the benefit of Feuerbach, and in light of the latter, his discussion of Feuerbach's thought and the content of his materialism could be considerably deepened, without necessarily altering his basic argument. Furthermore, the most vulnerable point of his book rests in the possibility that Feuerbach may not be as important as he depicts in the development of German scienufic materialism. The evidence presented on this issue is less than completely compelling and cannot exclude the possibility that the movement also owes a great deal to such sources as David F. Strauss, the French Id~ologues, and to German reductionist physiology. Wartofsky's analysis of Feuerbach's mature materialism, I should note, adds a great deal more weight to Gregory's thesis in this regard. Taken as a pair, as they should be, these books pose an interesting set of issues for those concemed with nineteenth-century thought. PHILLIPR. SLOAN University of Notre Dame S. Morris Eames. Pragmatic Naturalism: An Introduction. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1977. Pp. xxvii + 242. $10.00; $4.95, paper. Those of us who are sympathetic to the movement in American thought that has variously been referred to as "pragmatism," "instrumentalism," "experimentalism," and "empirical naturalism" have often had great difficulty in communicating our enthusiasm to others. Problems always seem to affect the coherency of the exposition. For example, it is tempting to discuss the more dubious elements in James's philosophy such as the pragmatic theory of truth or the sometimes excessive voluntarism of "The Will to Believe" and neglect the aspects of his psychology which so influenced Dewey and Santayana. Discussion of Peirce begins on solid ground with "The Fixation of Belief" and "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" but can get bogged down in the obscurities and complications of his evolutionary metaphysics. Dewey's writings are so voluminous that it is difficult for the student to get a representative selection of his over-all standpoint. How does one cope with these difficulties? How does one clearly express those central elements BOOK REVIEWS 369 in the pragmatic movement that are of concern today without lapsing into an excessively long exposition which is all too apt to get bogged down in technicalities, qualifications, and drawnout polemics? Professor Eames's solution is in effect to take Dewey as offering the most fully developed version of the philosophy he...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 368-371
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.