A Philosophy of Culture: The Scope of Holistic Pragmatism

Princeton University Press
Free sample

In this book, one of America's leading philosophers offers a sweeping reconsideration of the philosophy of culture in the twentieth century. Morton White argues that the discipline is much more important than is often recognized, and that his version of holistic pragmatism can accommodate its breadth. Going beyond Quine's dictum that philosophy of science is philosophy enough, White suggests that it should contain the word "culture" in place of "science." He defends the holistic view that scientific belief is tested by experience but that such testing is rightly applied to systems or conjunctions of beliefs, not isolated beliefs. He adds, however, that we test ethical systems by appealing to feelings of moral obligation as well as to sensory experiences.

In the course of his lucidly written analysis, White treats central issues in the philosophy of science, of religion, of art, of history, of law, of politics, and of morality. While doing so he examines the views of Quine, Tarski, Goodman, and Rawls, and shows how they are related to the approaches of Peirce, James, Duhem, Russell, Dewey, Carnap, and the later Wittgenstein. He also discusses the ideas of the legal philosophers Holmes and Hart from a holistic standpoint.

White demonstrates how his version of pragmatism bridges the traditional gulf between analytic and synthetic truth as well as that between moral and scientific belief. Indeed, the high point of the book is a brilliant presentation of his view of ethics, based on the idea that our scientific theories face the tribunal of observation whereas our ethical views face the joint tribunal of observation and moral feeling. Scholars and students of the history of ideas and of philosophy will welcome A Philosophy of Culture as the highly finished product of more than sixty years of philosophical reflection by an important thinker.

Read more

About the author

Morton White is Professor of Philosophy and Intellectual History Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study. Earlier, he was Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He is the author of more than twenty books including, most recently, From a Philosophical Point of View (Princeton).
Read more

Reviews

Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
Read more
Published on
Feb 9, 2009
Read more
Pages
216
Read more
ISBN
9781400825356
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Modern
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Bertrand Russell
Hailed as “lucid and magisterial” by The Observer, this book is universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject of Western philosophy.

Considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of all time, the History of Western Philosophy is a dazzlingly unique exploration of the ideologies of significant philosophers throughout the ages—from Plato and Aristotle through to Spinoza, Kant and the twentieth century. Written by a man who changed the history of philosophy himself, this is an account that has never been rivaled since its first publication over sixty years ago.

Since its first publication in 1945, Lord Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy is still unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace, and its wit. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century.

Among the philosophers considered are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the Great, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and lastly the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is most closely associated—Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, coauthor with Russell of the monumental Principia Mathematica.
Morton White
One of the most important philosophers of recent times, Morton White has spent a career building bridges among the increasingly fragmented worlds of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. From a Philosophical Point of View is a selection of White's best essays, written over a period of more than sixty years. Together these selections represent the belief that philosophers should reflect not only on mathematics and science but also on other aspects of culture, such as religion, art, history, law, education, and morality.

White's essays cover the full range of his interests: studies in ethics, the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics as well as in the philosophy of culture, the history of pragmatism, and allied currents in social, political, and legal thought. The book also includes pieces on philosophers who have influenced White at different stages of his career, among them William James, John Dewey, G. E. Moore, and W. V. Quine. Throughout, White argues from a holistic standpoint against a sharp epistemological distinction between logical and physical beliefs and also against an equally sharp one between descriptive and normative beliefs.

White maintains that once the philosopher abandons the dogma that the logical analysis of mathematics and physics is the essence of his subject, he frees himself to resume his traditional role as a student of the central institutions of civilization. Philosophers should function not merely as spectators of all time and existence, he argues, but as empirically minded students of culture who try to use some of their ideas for the benefit of society.

Morton White
One of the most important philosophers of recent times, Morton White has spent a career building bridges among the increasingly fragmented worlds of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. From a Philosophical Point of View is a selection of White's best essays, written over a period of more than sixty years. Together these selections represent the belief that philosophers should reflect not only on mathematics and science but also on other aspects of culture, such as religion, art, history, law, education, and morality.

White's essays cover the full range of his interests: studies in ethics, the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics as well as in the philosophy of culture, the history of pragmatism, and allied currents in social, political, and legal thought. The book also includes pieces on philosophers who have influenced White at different stages of his career, among them William James, John Dewey, G. E. Moore, and W. V. Quine. Throughout, White argues from a holistic standpoint against a sharp epistemological distinction between logical and physical beliefs and also against an equally sharp one between descriptive and normative beliefs.

White maintains that once the philosopher abandons the dogma that the logical analysis of mathematics and physics is the essence of his subject, he frees himself to resume his traditional role as a student of the central institutions of civilization. Philosophers should function not merely as spectators of all time and existence, he argues, but as empirically minded students of culture who try to use some of their ideas for the benefit of society.

Lucia White
Morton White, one of America's most distinguished and intellectual historians, was among the first Western academics invited to Japan after the Pacific War. With his wife and co- author Lucia, he first went there in 1952 and subsequently made four more trips, the last one in 1979. During these visits the Whites became friendly with many Japanese intellectuals and their families and were able to observe Japan and Japanese life during a crucial part of this century.

Through personal reminiscences based on their journals and correspondence, the Whites introduce the reader to the great intellectual, social, and economic changes that took place in Japan during the nearly thirty-year span of their visits. They provide penetrating sketches of the personalities and attitudes of an important group of Japanese academics -- leaders who acted against the prevailing opinion to introduce well-known intellectuals from the United States to help break down the stereotypes created by World War II. Reflecting on the changing trends and practices of the Japanese philosophers, the Whites note the gradual shift in orientation from the European to the American tradition in philosophy and comment on how this produced tensions in the Japanese philosophers who lived through it -- issues of great interest both for students of the history of philosophy and for anyone interested in the spread of American influence.

Outside the precincts of the universities, the Whites are keen observers of a culture they have come to respect and admire. The delicacy of Japanese social arrangements, the importance of 'face,' the self-consciously problematic position of women in Japanese society, as well as the intricate web of courtesy are given life through many insightful examples.

In the book's final chapter, the Whites ponder upon things Japanese they have yet to understand and how their visits have made them more conscious of their own cultural tradition and what they perceive as its deficiencies.

Journeys to the Japanese both entertains and informs about an important period and significant individuals in Japanese history. It is an affecting account of how lasting international sympathy and understanding can be nourished by encouraging cultural exchange and personal friendship.

©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.