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

410 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY the famous doctrine of "mirroring" or representation. I do not intend to criticize Spinoza rather than Sen, simply to illustrate the difficulty of adequate exposition when cognate philosophers are not given enough attention. In my judgment the only really weak chapter of Sen's book is his critical examination of some of the difficulties of Spinoza's system (chap. 10). First of all, his critical base is unclear. Spinoza's theory of substance is "rather abstruse" (p. 177). "Experience, taken at its face value, never reveals the identity of thought with its object" (p. 180). Spinoza's monism "requires a great stride of speculative imagination" (p. 185). Some vague appeal to experience and what can only be called personal opinion are made to substitute for penetrating critical analysis. Oddly enough, impressive difficulties are raised throughout the book, and dealt with skillfully and with ease by the author, occasionally appealing to the very metaphysical method which in this chapter is considered suspect. The chapter is puzzling and disconcerting, resembling nothing so much as those annoying footnotes that readers sometimes demand before they approve dissertations. Nothing would have been lost if it had been omitted. If anything, though, these reservations are intended to put in sharper focus this book's real merits. Sen is capable of careful textual analysis, and he possesses admirable expository talents. His book will serve the student well who wants to find out what precisely Spinoza said in Part I of the Ethics and what he meant. ROBERTJ. MULVANEY The Catholic University o/America L'Empirisme de Locke. By Francois Duchesneau. Ohe Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973) Duchesneau's careful study of Locke is a fine example of the way precise tracings of historical lineage can illuminate philosophical issues. By placing Locke in the context of Descartes, Gassendi, Hobbes, and Boyle, epistemological questions found in Locke's Essay are sharpened, their analysis deepened. The early chapters ("Locke et la Doctrine de Sydenham" and "L'Empirisme M~clicale de Locke") trace the medical background of Locke, especially his relations and similarities with the doctrines of Thomas Sydenham. The drafts of the Essay, together with other early fragments, are made to yield, in this Sydenhamian context, greater understanding of Locke's philosophy of science and of its accompanying theory of knowledge than one usually finds in studies on Locke. Duchesneau does not take the medical interests of Locke as some magic key to his philosophy; rather he explicates the empiricism of Locke's philosophy and of his science by reference to attitudes and doctrines inherited but extended from Sydenham. Chapter III ("L'Analyse Empiriste de la Connaissance avant Locke") charts seventeenth-century empirical epistemology prior to Locke. The middle chapters ("Positions Initiales de Locke sur le Probl ~me de la Connaissance" and "Locke Philosophe de l'Exprrience") constitute one of the most sophisticated discussions that I know of Locke's philosophy of experience. The final chapter ("Locke et la Throrie Malebranchiste des Idres") is an especially important discussion of Locke's reaction to Malebranche's theory of ideas. A theme running through this study is that of the rationality or intelligibility of the real. That theme is reflected in the concerns with the relation between knowledge and reality which Duchesneau finds in seventeenth-century writers. Does a writer's theory of knowledge presuppose certain features in reality, even though the real may not be accessible to human cognition? In writing of Sydenham, Duchesneau suggests that this question takes the form of asking how treatment of symptoms can cure: "A priori, la rrponse est simple: il faut admettre que les phrnomrnes observrs, qui servent de fondement h la m&hode de traitement, rrvrlent une rationalit6 inhrrente au rrd" (p. 16). But Sydenham did not be- BOOK REVIEWS 411 lieve reality was directly accessible to man. It is, however, the real which is responsible for the order and uniformity of observed phenomena. Our knowledge is limited to phenomena but by being careful and patient observers of the phenomena of illness, of symptoms, we can construct an effective diagnostic on the general assumption that what lies behind these phenomena is responsible for them. Hypotheses on the nature of the reality behind appearances...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 410-413
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.