THREE ESSAYS: LEONARDO, DESCARTES, MAX WEBER by Karl Jaspers

THREE ESSAYS: LEONARDO, DESCARTES, MAX WEBER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Essays on Leonardo, Descartes and Weber. (When shall these three meet again?) The Descartes dates from the `30s', the others from `50's. Jaspers' usually longwinded artistry and rather scholastic proliferation of argument and counter-argument presents them not only in relation to Existone philosophy (his own province), but also form the purview of psychology (Jaspers started with the still influential General psychopathology) and science and history. Accordingly Descartes is deemed unauthentic (in the existentialist sense), while Leonardo and Weber come out as genuine. Cartesian methodology and the ""fundamental operation""- the famous certainty quest springing from universal doubt- lead to a dogmatized dulling of the deeper source of rationality, namely Encompassing, or in other terms, reality as a stream of infinite possibilities. (Jaspers has been called the floating philosopher.) Weber's critical skepticism, his socio-political freedom from decision-making, and Leonardo's ""spiritualization of the sensuous,"" his personal embodiment of ""nature as a living totality,"" represent the ideals to follow. Three brilliant summations- especially so on Weber, who ""in failure... hands on the torah, freedom to freedom"".

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World