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The Architectonics of Meaning: Foundations of the New Pluralism Paperback – June 15, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0226875064 ISBN-10: 0226875067 Edition: Reprint
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Watson is professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (June 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226875067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226875064
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,237,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By James W. Troy on December 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
For many years I have searched for a book that would classify the entire range of thought of the great philosophers - that is, a sort of map that would define the scope of the philosophical terrain. This book does exactly that. In fact, Watson suggests that this scheme may be applied to any written work - including literature, poetry, etc.
Walter Watson expands on the work of philosopher Richard McKeon in classifying the thought systems created by the great philosophers. Watson's scheme identifies four 'variables' - Perspective, Reality (i.e. metaphysics), (epistemological) Method, and Principle. For each variable he identifies four possible values. He identifies:
- Personal, Objective, Diaphanic, and Disciplinary Perspectives
- Existential, Substrative, Noumenal, and Essential Realities
- Agonistic, Logistic, Dialectical, and Problematic Methods
- Creative, Elemental, Comprehensive, and Reflexive Principles
This method of classification is defended by numerous examples and quotes from a wide variety of philosophers. Finally, Watson relates the four variables and the four values of each variable to Aristotle's four causes.
Watson does not promote or disparage any of the classes. His writing is clear and descriptive, but not evaluative. If he has a bias, it certainly is not apparent in his writing.
After reading this book, I can also recommend you continue with the companion work "Philosophy in World Perspective" by David A. Dilworth (also available from Amazon.com). Dilworth applies Watson's scheme of classification to many of the world's great thinkers - including the pre-Socratic Greeks, Eastern philosophers, 20th-century thinkers, and the major world religions.
Watson's book is presumably targeted at professional philosophers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jerry L. Martin on April 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a superb book. I studied with Richard McKeon, who was a genius of the first order, with a comprehensive understanding of philosophical systems. Watson absorbs McKeon's analysis, expands it, and makes it much clearer and therefore more useful.

The result is a philosophical pluralism that makes clear the power of each mode of thought, facilitates productive discussion across philosophical lines, and underscores the pointlessness of certain kinds of philosophical controversy. This book marks a philosophical revolution in thought.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ekman Fan on November 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Though there is the occasional confusion of rhetoric with semantics, this is a useful restatement and synthesis of the relationship among philosophical approaches. Interesting to note that the desacrilization of structural identity _is_ the linguistic construction of the materialist architectonic.
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