THE PHILOSOPHY OF JOSIAH ROYCE by John K. -- Ed. Roth

THE PHILOSOPHY OF JOSIAH ROYCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Josiah Royce is the least known of our great American philosophers, and yet if we look at his work closely we see that this neo-Hegelian idealist was probably more American in his temperament and interests than either Pierce, James, or Dewey. He may have followed Hegel in finding the good in a form of self-realization and Kant in upholding the autonomy of the will (he was, after all, born in 1855 and studied overseas at a time when German philosophy was of paramount importance), but the particular way he sought to bring reason in touch with intuition, as well as the stress he placed on individualism, often suggests Emerson or a sort of Emersonian romanticism. Moreover, in his optimistic, purpose-laden world view where the three central ideas of Christianity (the Church, sin, and atonement) are always linked together and through which Royce envisions a Universal Community whose goal is to possess the truth in its totality (struggling to overcome evil and error we widen the meaning of our individual lives by dedicating them to the principle of loyalty to a cause), we see that this is hardly very far from the salvationist ethic which was so much a part of 19th century America, especially New England where he taught, and California where he grew up. This selection of his writings (capably made. though one regrets the absence of the important essay ""The One, the Many, and the Infinite"") comes at a good moment: hinging for ethical renewal or roots, we may yet respond to Josiah Royce's inspirational idealism.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1971
Publisher: Crowell