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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dry as dust, has no index, & leaves out Peirce!, June 29, 2002
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This review is from: American Philosophic Naturalism in the Twentieth Century (Hardcover)
The headline is not exactly accurate. Peirce is mentioned once on page 514. Otherwise the greatest contributor to American Philosophy (one of the greatest anyway) is omitted.
I trudged through this book and am better for having done so. But I can't say I would recommend it to a friend. I might recommend it to my insomniac patients because it has profound sleep inducing properties and might help those patients hit the hay. The book is a collection of 29 essays by multiple authors including four essays by John Dewey and three by George Santayana. Dewey is OK and, when at his best, makes sense. Santayana is obscure, exasperating, and irksome making little sense and raising my suspicions that he has a thought disorder. Others in this volume are just poor writers. One has a feeling that some of them might have something worthwhile to say, but they just couldn't get their ideas down right. They just couldn't communicate properly. Most of these authors would have vastly benefited from the kindly ministrations of a good editor. Perhaps the problem is that they are so used to lecturing to students who are immature and too inexperienced with life to question the bunkum. The best essay by far is by Paul Kurtz on Libertarianism: The Philosophy of Moral Freedom. Paul has something to say and he says it well. Thanks Paul for a breath of fresh air. The worse essay, in my opinion, is that by Peter Manicas. His Nature and Culture is mainly opaque nonsense. Here's an example: "Creatures which lack language nevertheless gesture. Thus the perception by a dog that another is ready to attack becomes a stimulus to change his position or his own attitude. He has no sooner done this that the change of attitude causes the first dog to change his attitude. "We have here," Mead notes, "a conversation of gestures." But it would be an error to say these acts have meaning for the animals. Dewey and Mead insist that "meanings do not come into being without language" and these creatures lack language... The plateau of coordinated animal response is not irrelevant to communication at the linguistic plateau even if it is not reducible to it." Ho, Ho, Ho. That is funny as a wonderful illustration of someone trying to look smarter than they are by pretentiously puffing and expanding language into a vaporous cloud of nothing much. What he meant was that dogs communicate by gesture but do not speak English.
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