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Social Humanism

Nature volume 154, pages 654655 (25 November 1944) | Download Citation



IN many ways the conference at Leland Stanford University, at which the seventeen papers collected in this volume were read, was characteristically American. It was as ready with self-criticism as with plans for action. Now that the arts, true science and philosophy are all "dislodged and beaten almost beyond surviving there in Europe and Asia", for the first time the United States of America, in the words of Prof. Paul Green, had leadership in this field thrust upon her. They met, however, "not to save the humanities" but to find the conditions "under which they would be worth saving". It was natural to begin the quest with an attempt to find out what was wrong with them now, and the speakers agreed on two main points. The humanistic field itself had become divided between, on one side, a few small groups living complacently a life of intellectual preciosity, who had forgotten that humanism had to serve humanity, and on the other side, a frightening array of people engaged on 'exact' research who had little sense for what Croce has called 'the feeling of the living soul'.

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