This is another of those earnest, exhortative guides to a ""moral philosophy"" appropriate for our age of experimentation...

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THE RECOVERY OF MEANING

This is another of those earnest, exhortative guides to a ""moral philosophy"" appropriate for our age of experimentation and transition; another of those wide-ranging, depressingly simplified accounts of so-called pessimistic movements such as Existentialism or Marxism; another of those prescriptions for the ""good life"" which realizes that nowadays everything is ""relative"" but, nevertheless, that's no reason to say that all traditional values are bunk or that we can't find a ""consensus,"" or that we can't reach a fruitful synthesis of immediacy and control. ""Exclusively to emphasize intensity is the way of romantic anarchy; exclusively to emphasize diversity is to recommend frivolity; to speak only of order is to be a pedant and to praise pedantry."" A book, in short, with built-in reactions, for who indeed would gainsay such eloquent cliches? Unfortunately, though there is a good deal here which is structurally impressive and undeniably ambitious, Professor McGee's reverential armada (literature, aesthetics, ethics, psychology) sails with too many preconceived ideas and hits too many preacherly ports where commonplace sermons (""The Marxists find it easier to explain the conditions that Marx predicted than to account for the conditions that have in fact come about"") inevitably lead to the culminating uplift: ""It is still possible to be at home in the world. Its new foundation must be laid in our affections... Our world will be the place we have made with love."" The Self, the recovery of interpersonal communion, the redemption of nature--these are far more paradoxical than McGee's Binswangerish meditations, or his variations on Aristotle-to-Dewey themes.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1966