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THE FUTURE OF PHILOSOPHY JOHN A. IRVING JN a period when the administrations of certain American universities (Columbia, Chicago_, Colgate) have introduced spectacular educational practices .and when the '~Post-War Planning" committees of others (Harvard, Yale, Princeton) have issued exhaustive reinterpretations of the idea of a liberal education, the report of the less publicized and more intensive investigation which is contained in a new volume1 may easily be overlooked. Early in 1943, the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association decided to undertake an examination nof the present state of philosophy and of the role philosophy might play in the post-war world.,, Five eminent philosophers of Yale, Cornell, Wisconsin, and Brown were ·appointed to a "Commission on the Function of Philosophy·in Liberal Education.n Financed by the Rockefeller Foundation; the commisSioners held seven regional conferences throughout the United States during 1943 and 1944, at four of which Canada was represented: at Chicago (by R.'C. Lodge of Manitoba), at Berkeley (by the present writer, then of British Columbia), at Los Angeles, New Orleans, Baltimore, New York (by George Humphrey_ of Queen,s), and at Boston (by Cecil Currie of McGill). The membership of these conferences (at which the average number of participants was twenty-nine) included not only professional philosophers but also scholars in other fields of learning: poets, editors, lawyers, clergymen , administrators, business men, and government officials-a selecti~n wide enough to have prompted the waggish remark that among those not consulted there stand out only trade-unionists and actual college students! The five _commissioners intruded themselves as little as possible at the conference discussions, which for the most part were carried on simply and informally by' the local members. At Berkeley, for example, having opened the meeting with the most innocent of Socratic questions, the commissioners gave the impression, thereafter, of being merely unusually conscientious recording angels. And one may claim that their book, likewise, represents an honest effort to test the pulse of philosophy in America. In addition to the testimony of the regional conferences, the commission.received, from a wiqe variety of persons interested in the future of philosophy, some 280 letters :which have formed the basis of a separate journal article.2 The opening chapter of the b~ok, entitled "The Climate of Opinion,, and written with sinuous wit and clarity, enumerates the various _attitu

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 188-198
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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