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Every intellectual discipline has its unsung hero. According to Huntington Cairns, the prolific but relatively obscure James Feiblman ""is the chief representative in the present generation of the realist point of view."" As such, Professor Feibleman follows Alexander, Hartmann and Whitehead in attempting to construct a systematic philosophy, built along classical lines but concerned with contemporary problems. It counteracts the absolutism of idealist and nominalist positions, as well as the specialized activities of the influential linguistic or existentialist schools. Whether or not Professor Feibleman is succeeding in so heady and undertaking, this reviewer cannot say, since on the basis of the ""selected writings"" presented here one is left in considerable doubt. Certainly among the seventeen topics covered, ranging from aesthetics to religion or sociology, many interesting and, at times, valuable, opinions are voiced; nevertheless, it is hard to feel that the various essays, (taken either from academic journals or Feibleman's books), add up to a very coherent sampling. The author's style, especially for a philosopher, is impressive, and his mode of reasoning acute and sophisticated; he is, moreover, deeply versed in both the sciences and humanities. Still, there is a sense of discontinuity about the volume: ontological and epistemological questions are rigorously explored, while analyses of politics or literature seem conventional in comparison. In short, the concrete and the abstract rarely jibe, and that is surely fatal for Feibleman's ""two-story world"" or cultural anthropology.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1966
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston