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nooK REVIEWS 493 ideal is easily enough asserte.d, but it is more difficult to deal with the limitations and imperfections which reality consistently presents. The social strategist deals in imperfect (sinful) reality, and his strategy will reflect an awareness of that imperfection and sin; Roman Catholics optimistic about human nature frequently back away from the relative evil which realistic efficient strategy so often involves. Posner is a good reminder that strategy is inevitably realistic or it is doomed to fail. Finally, what is to be said about Posner's picture of human nature' He accurately describes contemporary Americans, but perhaps we are not typically human. We are maybe homo economicus, but is that a true description of all humans T Are all humans over the ages "rational maximizers of our satisfactions "' Because Americans do meet this description , an economic ethic for social justice is attractive and presumably consistent. But the real ethical question is not whether we are rational maximizers of our satisfactions, but whether we ought to be such. Again, Posner does not address such fundamental ethical questions. If he proposes to continue speaking of his work as an ethic, he must speak more directly to a set of issues which underlie his present theory and which perennially invite the insights of all thoughtful persons, including economists. St. Thomas House University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia WILLIAM J. FINAN, O.P. The Theory of Categories. By FRANZ BRENTANO. Translated by Roderick Chisholm and Norbert Guterman. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1981. Melbourne International Philosophy Series, volume 18, Pp. 275. $49.50. Although the title of Brentano's study of the categories might call Kant to mind, the book in fact develops from Aristotle's ideas and seldom refers to Kant at all. The Kantian revival at the end of the nineteenth century left Brentano cold. Instead, he drew his inspiration from his Dominican training and from his teacher, the great Aristotelian scholar, Adolph Trendelenburg. Brentano was too original a thinker simply to repeat Aristotle, but he claimed just to be carrying on where that master left off. Writers since Aristotle have just confused the issue, Brentano says; and a true understanding of the categories will not be achieved until one starts from Aristotle, at the same time feeling free to correct his ideas when necessary. 494 BOOK REVIEWS The Theory of the Categories thus takes its place along with Brentano's four Aristotelian studies, three of which have recently been translated by Rolf George. The relationship is especially close with Brentano's first book, his dissertation On the Several Senses of Being in Aristotle, published in 1862. Two-thirds of this early book is taken up with the senses of being that Aristotle distinguishes according to the figures of the categories . The Theory of the Categories consists of essays written at the other end of his life, between 1907 and 1917, the year of his death. Yet it is almost as if Brentano here, in one of his last books, is determined to complete and modify his dissertation, and the editor has therefore appropriately entitled the first third of the book on categories "The Strict and Extended Senses of Being" to indicate the continuity with the earlier work. Unlike the four Aristotle studies, however, The Theory of Categories is intended primarily as a contribution to systematic rather than to historical philosophy. The Aristotle volumes discuss one passage from the classic works after another, and they are copiously footnoted to Aristotle and bis commentators, so that their main interest for contemporary readers lies in the way they elucidate Aristotelian texts. The book on categories, on the other hand, dispenses by and large with citations from Aristotle and other thinkers and deals with issues as they arise for Brentano's own system. The difference between the early and the late work is also partly the result of a change in Brentano. In the years since On the Several Senses, Brentano's thinking on epistemology and metaphysics had gone through several stages and had become increasingly independent and creative. By writing this late book on an Aristotelian theme, Brentano thereby provided us a measure of the distance he had come since his first...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 493-497
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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