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246 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY He is not only indicating a virginal and fertile field in the philosophy of Leibniz, Kant, etc., but also a solid and broad basis for prelogical or paralogical, if not quite strictly logical, studies in such methodological problems as "conjectures," "theorystructures ." etc., in the "Philosophy of Inquiry" in general. J. FANG Memphis State University An Introduction to Western Philosophy. Ideas and Argument from Plato to Sartre. By Antony Flew. (Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1971. Pp. 511. $4.95. Paperback) A big book--largish pages and 1 89 inches thick--yet modestly priced. Big too in the scope and treatment of its subject-matter. The author, Professor in the University of Keele, England, and one of the leading British philosophers, is known in America. The book shows in many allusions that he has American readers in view, but it is a handsome gift to anyone suitably equipped who can read easily the English language. It deserves to be translated into, e.g., French, German and Italian (though the task would be difficult) as a distinguished example of one strand of Anglo-Saxon philosophizing and writing at its best. Flew has devised a new kind of Introduction to Philosophy. No longer the old type, almost purely systematic or purely historical, and not another of the galleonanthologies that are now being launched from nearly every publisher's dockyard, but an exposition, under the main inescapable problems of philosophy, of the viewpoints, techniques and conclusions of some of the major thinkers, with relevantly short passages from their writings, inserted at places in the exposition where they support, refute, or illuminate. The choice of the passages is catholic, unhackneyed, nearly always obviously apt and sometimes excitingly so. Flew reminds us that most of the students who need an Introduction do not intend to make philosophy their only or their chief concern, and that, unlike those who do, they should be spared the very exacting preparation the rewards of which only the future philosophers can expect to enjoy. What sort of grounding, then, are the "lay" students to be given? Flew replies, with teacher-like simplicity, that whatever else philosophy may be it is both a sustained arguing and a reflexive study of the forms and varieties of argumentation and of what it is that makes some sound and some unsound. To train any student in such exercises (even without a course in purely formal logic) is to prepare them for a similar or analogous scrupulousness in any field to which they may proceed. Further, since philosophical interest ranges over the general features and assumptions of all the main aspects of experience, the spaciousness of its panorama and the richness of its various vistas should help to widen understanding, imagination and sensitivity (and so, I venture to add, blunt the sharp edges of specialization, which though an intellectual necessity is becoming an intellectual bane). Here Flew refreshingly sees himself not as locked within a department but as a member of a large school of educators. Acting on the first of the two teaching points he sets himself to impart at least a certain minimum, the chief elements of which are awareness of the nature of sound argumentation, of the difference between formal fallacies and material mistakes, and of the need to avoid the common confusion of believing with knowing and of denying with refuting. He does not, of course, confine himself to such minima, but drives them home whenever the topic he is handling gives him an opportunity. BOOK REVIEWS 247 The topics selected as most likely to appeal to all beginners with intellectually lively minds are grouped into three large Parts--(1) religion (ethical and other norms, and impartiality); (2) religion (God, faith and reason, the limits of reason, and freewill); (3) the theory of knowledge; with an epilogue on "Words and the World." Besides an index of names there is a very useful one of subjects. So far as Flew draws on the philosophers of the past he keeps to those of the West (as the book's title advertises), chiefly Plato, Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant, not lingering long on any...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 246-247
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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