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210 LEITERS IN CANADA 1980 problems in ancient and medieval philosophy, which is particularly appropriate for this volume. Again, as is obvious from the titles, there are essays primarily devoted to aspects of the thought of Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty, who for better or worse are not usually regarded as central figures by contemporary English-speaking philosophers. Although the contributors to this volume do not and could not represent the full range of interests of contemporary French-speaking philosophers, it will be interesting for English-speaking scholars to note the sorts of comparisons made in many of the more historical essays. One sees little sign of Wittgenstein and Russell, let alone Ryle, Strawson, Quine, Chomsky, or Kripke; rather there are comparisons with Hegel, Heidegger , Foucault, etc. Thus, a reading of this collection might also make a contribution to bicultural philosophic understanding. It is in many ways an interesting book and a worthy tribute to Father R~gis . (JOHN A. TRENTMAN) Georges Helol. LA Philosophie comme panphysique: la philosophie des sciences de A.N. Whitehead BelIormin '979. 270. $11.95 This is a well-organized, carefully documented exposition and criticism of A.N. Whitehead's philosophy of nature (or alternatively his philosophy of science). Professor H~lal is concerned to discuss not only the structure of Whitehead's thought but also its intent. In introducing critical material the author reminds us that Whitehead himself, for example, in the preface of The Principles of Natural Knowledge, admits numerous defects. Effective introductory and concluding sections add greatly to the value of this book. Each chapter is set out with useful subheadings and a perceptive summary conclusion. The book provides a serviceable bibliography and an adequate index. There is a tendency to quote rather extensively. This involves, on occasion, repetition, which can, perhaps, be justified on the basis of clarification and emphasis. Helal contends that Whitehead's philosophy, in general, can be understood in terms of three fundamental principles (or characteristics of thought). These are: 1 1Emphasis on (tendency to) empiricism; 21concern for the achievement of a unified intellectual grasp of the world; and 3 1 emphasis on subjectivity. He is well aware of Whitehead's contention, in his 'philosophy of science' period, that nature is closed to mind - in the sense that mental activities are not to be considered as part of, or contributory to, the phenomena of nature. Thus the subjectivity principle is not directly or decisively involved in Whitehead's philosophy of nature. However, in considering epistemological problems and in his discussion of the bifurcation of nature,' there is reference to the HUMANITIES 211 importance of mental activity (subjectivity). Indeed, implicit in Whitehead 's positionis the assumption that, even if nature is an objective fact, it is known by a mental (subjectivistic) process. In any case, in Whitehead's metaphysics (from Science and the Modern World, through Process and Reality and Adventures of Ideas, and subsequently' one is confronted by a thoroughly subjectivistic approach to the universe, indeed to the world of nature (as well as by a strong empirical emphasis and a vigorous concern to achieve a unified world view through carefully honed intellectually effective categories). All this Helal states in his introduction and elsewhere throughout the book. However, despite considerable background discussion, the main concern of this book, as its title indicates, is with Whitehead's philosophy of science (philosophy of nature). Having pointed out why, in his opinion, Whitehead was interested in such issues, Helal provides an informed discussion of Whitehead's treatment of them. It is relevant to note that the most extensive of his five chapters (in his 248 pages of text), namely chapters 3 and 4, deal with 'L'unite intelligible du donne empirique: les donnees de la nature' (60 pages) and 'L'unite intelligible du donne empirique: l'abstraction extensive' (84 pages). Specifically the treatment of events and objects is thorough. His discussion of extensive abstraction, and the application of this concept (technique) to mathematical and scientific problems, is very extensive. Indeed it might be objected that, on occasion, he allows himself to be 'lured away' into excessive discussion of some very technical details of Whitehead's philosophy of science, thus endangering the balance...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 210-211
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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