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472 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY defect much less than that of Aristotle himself (or St. Thomas). Perhaps all I am pointing out here is that any empiricism is limited to an appreciation of only those aspects of experience which do not themselves shake the empirical attitude fundamentally . This may be a lack in Randall's otherwise profound and extensive sensibilities ; it is not, I must admit, in any way a lack in his historiography, since it is a lack of something that tends toward confessional rather than objective history, and buys its ability to illuminate and transform at the cost of ability to inform and guide. We clearly can't have everything, and I am quite willing to give up some dimensions of Existenz for the evident wealth of Randall's offerings. No review of his work can pass over his style, which can be straightforward, elegant, terse, witty, involved, or even teasing as the literary occasion warrants--and is always readable and even delightful. He is undoubtedly most memorable when he is sardonic, holding up to good-natured chaffing some widely-held but questionable stance. Let one example suffice: One gathers, indeed, from our standard histories of the sciences . . . that the world lay steeped in darkness and the night of superstition, till one day Copernicus bravely set aside the errors of his fellows, looked at the heavens and observed nature, the first man since the Greeks to do so, and discovered, as from some peak in Darien, the truth about the solar system. The next day, so to speak, Galileo climbed the leaning tower of Pisa, dropped down his weights, and as they thudded to the ground, Aristotle was crushed to earth and the laws of failing bodies sprang into being. And thus was modern physics born full-grown from the head of Galileo, as Athene from the brow of Zeus. (Career I, pp. 256-257) Randall's history of philosophy obviously did not spring full-grown from his brow, but is the fruit of a lifetime of search and thoughtfulness. It surely is not the true history of philosophy; as he himself says, No system of ideas can be said to be literally true--not even our boasted science, powerful as it is in certain directions. All such systems are interpretations, in symbolic language, of the world and human life as men have experienced them. They can be called true only in the sense that they manage to organize men's beliefs and activities in terms of men's fundamental interests and commitments, in terms of their organizing or ultimate concern. (Ways, p. 191) But it is a true history, in the light of commitments both timely and humane. Randall's interpretation of "the two major philosophers our so-called 'Western' civifization has managed to produce" and the multitude of footnotes that have succeeded them is an organization well deserving of belief, and is unquestionably destined to serve as the point of reference for years to come for philosophers who are serious enough about their intellectual debts to want to understand their creditors, and those who recognize that avoiding the mistakes of the past is done by understanding them in their own context. EDWARD J. MACHLE University of Colorado Modes of Greek Thought. By Victorino Tejera. (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971. Pp. 237) Professor Tejera has written an unusual and remarkably perceptive book by bringing together his knowledge of classical philosophy, ancient art, religion, philosophical anthropology and historical scholarship. Perhaps the outstanding merit of this BOOK REVIEWS 473 book is that it places the many modes of Greek thought in their proper cultural context . Wide in scope, challenging as interpretation, the book moves quickly with the analysis of presuppositions and attitudes while staying close to exhibiting in each case of mode the delicate balance the Greeks maintained between thought and expression, content and form. Tejera's approach is particularly commendable for his able discussion of a great variety of complex problems without resorting to superfluous summaries of plots, stories and philosophical treatises. He relies primarily on the dissection of issues, presentation of empirical material and critical review of testimonies and modern authorities. As a result he offers a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 472-474
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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