- Anima e intelletto: Ricerche sulla psicologia peripatetica da Teofrasto a Cratippo, and: Alessandro di Afrodisia: Tra naturalismo e misticismo (review)
- Journal of the History of Philosophy
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 13, Number 3, July 1975
- pp. 402-404
- View Citation
- Additional Information
402 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY pelled to articulate a new "myth of origin"? Poliakov suggests that psychoanalysis might explain the strange concepts and peculiar structure which make up the Aryan myth. Thus he sketches the talk of "virile" and "feminine" races in popular nineteenth-century texts, as well as the tension between "regressive maternal images" (p. 204) and paternal images --matters which are the very stuff of myths of origin and ideal subjects for psychoanalytic inquiry. "In psychoanalytical terms it could be said that the West generally identified itself with its ancient 'Fathers' while seeking to surpass them, whereas Germany, on the contrary , tended in various way to reiect them and to deny their paternity" (p. 103). The psychoanalytic explanatory thesis is, I repeat, suggested rather than argued for. As a result, one remains perplexed that so many distinguished minds seem to have been demonically inhabited. Why does Poliakov adduce such massive evidence with so little explanation ? My own suggestion is that he has taken as his task the terrible burden of amassing and organizing the evidence. He hopes that experts in psychoanalysis will be able to provide an explanation for the historical development he has established. Since racial theory has itself often been used as an ultimate principle of historical explanation, one can expect problems in eliciting a satisfactory explanation of the explanation. Of course, in the infinitely rich fabric of history everything is connected with everything else. Some link must have existed between the rise of Jewish economic power in Germany and certain theological outbursts, just as there was a connexion between the exegesis of the curse on Ham and colonial preoccupations. Nevertheless, it is impossible to explain the German-Aryan mystique by reference to the Rothschilds. (p. 305) I take these lines to express the considered view of a scholar who has devoted years to the history of anti-Semitic ideas and actions: Marxist explanations simply do not begin to cope with that cataclysmic event, the Holocaust. Rather than wait for an adequate theory which can provide a satisfactory explanation for anti-Semitism (or color racism) he has presented us with an organized body of data which any putative explanation must face. Nevertheless, philosophers remain reluctant to explore either the involvements of the Great Philosophers with racist doctrines or the interrelations of philosophical methodologies with racist theories. To some, it is philosophically irrelevant whether a given philosopher supported racism. It is of mere historical interest if Poliakov is understood to have shown that philosophy, once put in the service of theology, later served racist ideology instead. But such attitudes help prevent one from asking whether there are any structural connections between philosophy and racism, or whether certain philosophical methods actually facilitate the articulation of racist theory. Poliakov helps provide a prima facie case that several philosophical methods made (and, indeed, continue to make) positive contributions by providing the conceptual elements required for the formulation of racist doctrines. HARRYM. BRACKEN McGill University Anima e intelletto: Ricerche sulla psicologia peripatetica da Teofrasto a Cratippo. By Giancarlo Movia. (Padua: Editrice Antenore, 1968. Pp. 238.3,300 Lire) Alessandro di A/rodisia: Tra naturalismo e misticismo. By Giancarlo Movia. (Padua: Editrice Antenore, 1970. Pp. 93.1,400 Life) Both of these books show a wide reading in original texts and secondary sources and both include admirable and comprehensive bibliographies for the subjects treated in them. However, both books share the same shortcomings. Perhaps the most striking is the au- BOOK REVIEWS 403 thor's tendency to become so involved with recounting what other scholars have said on an issue that he often does not seem to have a position of his own or an interpretation that could not be gathered from other secondary sources. In his Anima e intelletto, which is the more substantial of the two books, Movia attempts to survey the development of the psychological ideas to be found in the early Aristotelian tradition. Those studied are Theophrastus (pp. 35-67), Dicaearchus of Messana (pp. 71-84), Aristoxenus of Tarentum (pp. 84-93), Clearchus of Soli (pp. 94-111), Strato of Lampsacus (pp. 111-150), Ariston of Ceos (pp. 150--155), Critolaus (pp. 156181 ), Andronicus of Rhodes (pp. 185-193...