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The Revolt against Dualism: An Inquiry Concerning the Existence of Ideas 3rd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1560008477
ISBN-10: 1560008474
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Arthur O. Lovejoy (1873-1962) was professor of philosophy at John Hopkins University where he founded the History of Ideas Club. He believed that the history of ideas should focus on singular concepts. He founded the Journal of the History of Ideas. Some of his most famous writings include Reflections on Human Nature, The Revolt against Dualism, and Primitivism and Related Ideas in Antiquity.



Jonathan B. Imber is Jean Glasscock Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College. 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers; 3rd edition (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560008474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560008477
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,965,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Greg Nyquist VINE VOICE on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is not a book for those with a merely casual interest in philosophy. It is much too technical and difficult for the general reader. But for advanced students and the philosophically literate, this book is a must. Lovejoy was a brilliant master at the art of philosophical dissection. In "The Revolt Against Dualism," he dissects the view advanced by the so-called "neo-realists" which denies the traditional distinction between the perception of an object and the object itself. Lovejoy subjects a variety of inordinately technical arguments defending this view to devastating analysis, demonstrating how each of them fails to make its case. Lovejoy argues that all of these attempts to ignore the distinction between the perception of things and the things themselves constitutes a futile revolt against epistemological dualism.
Although this issue of epistemological dualism and distinguishing between perceptions of objects and the objects themselves may seem to be a mere technical problem without any real world significance, it nevertheless is one of the most important issues in philosophy. Confusion concerning the relation between ideas and the their objects in reality has probably given rise to more errors in philosophy than any other issue. All doctrines of philosophical idealism, whether skeptical or mystical in nature, are rooted in the failure to understand the duality between perceptions and the things perceived. The belief in what one philosopher called the "efficacy of consciousness" (i.e., the belief that consciousness can be regarded as a power in and of itself) can also be traced to this revolt against dualism.
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Format: Paperback
Quite frankly, I think that this is the greatest piece of critical philosophy written in the 20th century, and it is definitely in my top three. It was so good that it virtually destroyed the attempts of the Realist schools in the earlier 20th century to replace epistemological dualism with epistemological monism. And of course, in case the idealists started to get too proud, Lovejoy showed quite clearly that unless they were trying to claim insights they were not rationally entitled to, there is nothing about reality that supports the claim that objects of perception are found in an Absolute Mind.
I bought this book almost a year ago and it collected dust on my shelf because I lacked the level of philosophical sophistication required to attack it directly. Over the past year, I became more acquainted with philosophy and its history, most especially the works of Brand Blanshard and Laurence Bonjour.
I was arguing the case for psychophysical dualism on a website recently. I was already an epistemological dualist, having come to the conclusion that even the best-developed forms of rational and objective idealism were essentially dualistic. This is even more obviously the case if one incorporates the insights of modern physics about the constituents of matter, and its insights into time and space. However, psychophysical dualism, mostly because it is related to interactionist/dualist beliefs about interaction between the mind and the body or the mind and the brain, is associated with mysticism.
To see if I could find anything to make or break my belief in psychophysical dualism, I picked up this book, which I hadn't picked up in a while, having being frightened by such terms as the *cognescendum* a year ago.
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Format: Paperback
This book explains why epistemological dualism must remain an objective reality. Arthur Lovejoy counters all of the historical and contemporary philosophical arguements against dualism with learned and precise answers to why we can never fully be connected to the world, at least as far as our perception is concerned. This book is liable to cause a crises in the minds of the "we are all one" and the "I am one with the world" types. The one consolation they may have is that Lovejoy never himself made an effort to experience the more Eastern states of meditation, such as Zen or certain Hindu forms. Thus he is only qualified to state his claim of dualism in intellectual and objective terms, and not by all subjective experiences. He brushes the subjective off rather quickly, and focuses on the scientific and objectively verifiable flaws of monism. It is a fascinating book to read for the pedantically philosophical and metaphysical scientist types (not "New Age" metaphysics, which naively has misinterpreted metaphysics as a path to monism), but CAVEAT EMPTOR, this is some thick stuff and requires a certain degree of hard prior study in the fields of critical thinking, the history of philosophical ideas, and metaphysics. A partial knowledge of the general concepts of physics would also make this book more enetertaining. If you are not entertained by this book, then you probably shouldn't be reading it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very detailed review of the history of the philosophical debate between monism and Dualism and the philosophers on both sides of the issue. While somwhat difficult reading, persistence will be rewarded with increased understanding of this important issue. A classic in the field and deserves meticulous reading by anyone interested in this most important philosophical issue.
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