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Book Reviews PLATO, ARISTOTLE, SALVATION AND SCIENCE: RANDALL'S HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Ever since 1926, when The Making of the Modern Mind presented John Herman Randall, Jr. to the world as an historian of ideas at once learned, synoptic and fascinating--"the one man who above all others rendered the development of the modern Western mind both perspicuous and enchanting" X--his teaching and writing have been major influences in molding teaching and research in the history of philosophy , especially in this country. John Randall not only inherited Dean F. J. E. Woodbridge's celebrated course in the History of Philosophy at Columbia University and taught it with even greater distinction for four decades, he has put the philosophical community in his debt for at least fourteen books and over a hundred published articles. Of these, nine books and more than a score of articles deal directly with matters in the discipline of history of philosophy, and numerous others touch thereon in important ways. It is likely that a large fraction of all teachers of the history of philosophy in this country is made up of his former pupils. It seems appropriate, now that he has passed his three-score years and ten, to review as a single whole those five of his books which, taken together (and together with such subsequent articles as constitute the earnest of a sixth related volume) constitute a single large-scale account of the history of Western philosophy from the Greeks to the current century. This, the most substantial such history to appear in English, has been issued by Columbia University Press on divers dates under sundry titles, and permits no single bibliographical entry. Instead, there appear: 2 1. Plato, Dramatist of the Life of Reason. 1970. 273 pp. 2. Aristotle. 1960. 300 pp. 3. Hellenistic Ways of Deliverance and the Making of the Christian Synthesis. 1970. 235 pp. 4. The Career of Philosophy. Vol. I: From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. 1962. 983 pp. 5. The Career of Philosophy. Vol. II: From the Enlightenment to the Age of Darwin. 1965. 665 pp. 1 John P. Anton, Naturalism and Historical Understanding (New York: State University Press, 1967). p. vii. 2 Hereafter these will be referred to as Plato, Aristotle, Ways, Career I, and Career II, respectively. [459] 460 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY This series has been continued by several major articles, on T. H. Greene, Bradley, Bosanquet and Royce,a which promise to be chapters in a proposed Vol. III of The Career of Philosophy. These all, taken together, present some 2700 pages of scholarly but lucid prose; the importance of Randall's achievement is however not merely a function of size. He is, first of all, a genuine historian--one who understands historians and to whom historians listen. (A formidable medieval historian, S. Harrison Thompson, once asked me why we thought we could teach "history of philosophy" in our department when we counted not a single historian among us.) His scholarship never obtrudes--one often wishes for more references and footnotes--but it is unmistakably there in his command of materials in half-a-dozen languages, in his awareness of well-entrenched positions he departs from, in the breadth of knowledge of social and cultural backgrounds he brings to bear where it illuminates. His history of philosophy is cultural history of a high order. Randall is not merely an historian, but a philosopher of notable ability. This is apparent in the volumes under consideration in at least three ways. He writes no mere chronicle of philosophical literary events, but understands history in terms of a worked-out philosophy of history, one which has already appeared formulated in his Nature and Historical Experience,4 and which is again suggested in chapters one and two of Career L "It is impossible," he holds, "to gain any real insight into the history of philosophical ideas without being led to formulate a philosophy of cultural and social change" (Career I, p. 7). History, as he sees it, is "the continuing readaptation of materials in the light of changing needs and problems" and is hence "a human achievement ." "Cultural change must be taken as the basic subject-matter...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 459-472
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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