Books Received | Published:

(1) The Philosophy of Humanism and of other Subjects (2) L'Expérience humaine et la causalité physique (3) La Notion d'espace (4) The Evolution of Knowledge


THE direction which scientific research has taken in the twentieth century is imposing on philosophy a task the magnitude of which is probably not yet realised by any one. Aristotle, in his doctrine of the four causes and in his discovery of the syllogism, the logical instrument which gave that doctrine the appearance of precision, determined the type and the mode to which all succeeding scientific research right up to modern times has adhered. The essential thing in the Aristotelian doctrine is that the analysis of the physical universe proceeds in precisely the same way as the analysis of the elementary conditions which govern the production of a work of art. There is, that is to say, a matter on which an agent impresses a form in order to express an end or purpose. The modern sciences of biology and psychology had already begun to undermine this aesthetic mode of thinking reality and now the Einstein theory in mathematical physics has swept away its foundations. The result is that once more in human history physics and metaphysics are joined together. The union has been brought about by physical science itself, without any betrayal of its positive and experimental character, by fearless acceptance of the apparently paradoxical results of experiments. It is the outcome, we can now see, of a historical progress of pure science in the last three centuries, continuous in its development from Galileo to Clerk Maxwell, Mach and Einstein, which has led to a complete revolution in the way of thinking physical reality.

(i) The Philosophy of Humanism and of other Subjects.

By Viscount Haldane. Pp. xiv + 302. (London: J. Murray, 1922.) 12s. net.

(2) L'Expérience humaine et la causalité physique.

Par Prof. Leon Brunschvicg. (Bibliothèque de Philosophic Contemporaine.) Pp. xvi + 625. (Paris: Félix Alcan, 1922.) 30 frs.

(3) La Notion d'espace.

Par Prof. D. Nys. (Fondation Universitaire de Belgique.) Pp. 446. (Bruxelles: Robert Sand; London: Oxford University Press, 1922.) 15s. net.

(4) The Evolution of Knowledge.

By George Shann. Pp. vii + 100. (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1922.) 4s. 6d. net.

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