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BOOK REVIEWS 279 shirted gangsters of the totalitarian regimes. Only gradually did Sorel come to seek his paragons of virtue among the proletariat, partly because of his disillusionment with Jean Jaur~s over the Dreyfus case. Sorel had been one of the first to champion Dreyfus, but felt that demagogues had transformed the latter's cause into a new dogmatism and a new establishment . Sorel was genuinely concerned about some of the deepest problems facing modern industrial man. He could not believe that they could be solved, either by "demagogic plutocracy" or by orthodox Marxism. Hence he sought to synthesize Vico, Proudhon, Marx, and Bergson in a new movement that should be both liberal and revolutionary and heroically virtuous. The strongest influence upon his thinking, says Goriely, came from Vico, from whom he borrowed "the fundamental idea of his whole work: "Man does not know what he does' " (105). History can therefore be rational only after it has happened: "The future is the field in which we use our imaginations, not our understandings" (109). That Sorel anticipated many twentieth-century developments in philosophy and politics, there can be no doubt. The author says that he was "the first philosopher in France who sought not only to locate man in history and society, but also to locate history and society in man, to give them a significance which may be called existential" (148). Before William James's pragmatism reached European shores, Sorel had made such statements as "Science is a means of verifying the possibility of acting in a certain manner." 1Even some of his pessimistic fears anticipated such developments as Burnham's "managerial revolution ," at the same time that he welcomed the growth of industrial techniques in other hands (155). Professor Goriely's careful tracing of Sorel's profusion of suggestions for the ethical redemption of mankind in a machine age reveals the unreconciled contradictions in his pluralism . In the R~[lexions he could resolve the conflicts of myth versus utopia, force versus violence, liberalism versus absolutism, says Goriely, only "'by a conceptual jugglery.., which sets the mind's teeth on edge rather than stimulates it" (200). Caught between the poles of an attachment to historical tradition and to liberty, Sorel celebrated the constant tension between the two. Man lives only to create; he "has no other end than the creative ~lan itself. Born of liberty, history can never block its course.., it is always a point of departure toward the future .... Human institutions, the products of an infinity of obscure causes, never realize any universal moral principle. They live in the relative, which man ought to accept with moderation and a sense of the limits of the possible, without ever losing the sense of the unlimited" (222). HAROLD A. LARRABEE Union College 1Georges Sorel, "Storia e scienza sociale," Rivista itallana di sociologia, March-June, 1902,p. 224. Storia Della Filosofia: La Filosofia del Novecento. By E. Paolo Lamanna. Intuizionismo, filosofia dell'azione e modernismo--Prammatismo--La problematica della scienza--La problematica della storla. (Firenze: Felice Le Monnier, 1963. 671 pp. 3800 L.) This first of three volumes describing the philosophies of the twentieth century, and the fifth volume in Lamanna's History of Philosophy, is truly a monumental and encyclopedic work. In this volume alone there are concise, clear, scholarly expositions of the important ideas of more than fifty philosophers, including biographical information and bibliographical references. The style is exceptionally intelligible and the organization of even complicated materials is well defined with good headings and with definitions that are intelligible 280 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY even to a layman. The work is not only very informative but amazingly objective and dispassionate . And despite its disinterestedness it is highly interesting, for it succeeds in presenting each philosopher's ideas as one imagines he would like to present them himself, sympathetically and persuasively. One leaves the book after reading about the achievements of our own little century marvelling at the variety and range of recent achievements. For over and above our follies and horrors, these thinkers emerge as men trying hard and ably to be sane and tell the truth. Lamanna himself emerges as a mind with an extraordinary critical ability to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 279-281
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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