Letter | Published:

“The Horizons of Thought”

Nature volume 135, page 188 (02 February 1935) | Download Citation

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Abstract

I KNOW that a reviewer's comments on a book, especially when published in an international journal, travel many leagues while an author's reply is getting into an envelope, but for all that I would ask you to allow me to comment on your reviewer's words (in NATURE of October 20, 1934, p. 617) concerning my book, “The Horizons of Thought”. I am surprised to read that there is a “peculiar method” employed in the book; the reviewer seems to imply that it is a superficial eclecticism, which of course no one could countenance. As a matter of fact, the quotations are used for illustration and application of principles previously worked out and published in preliminary form elsewhere, as indicated in the preface. The reviewer seems to complain because contexts are not stated; they are omitted for the sake of brevity, and also because I was interested not so much in contexts as in contacts and conflicts with the principles worked out. I was interested not so much in elaborating my perhaps “general and obvious”, and perhaps even “more or less relevant” conclusions, as in showing how often in contemporary thought their principles are disregarded, with consequences all the way “from mathematics to ethics”. Finally, I must disclaim the wish which the reviewer imputes to me, of solving problems which lie beyond the horizons. I think the primary task of philosophy is to work within the island-universe of the sciences (logical, mathematical, natural and social), and treat a great mass of traditional outlying questions non-committally.

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  1. Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, U.S.A. Dec. 5.

    • GEORGE P. CONGER

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/135188b0

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