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American Philosophy

Nature volume 160, pages 3738 (12 July 1947) | Download Citation



The first of these books is a very thorough, well-arranged, well-documented piece of work, which is likely to be the standard text on its subject for a long time to come. Prof. Schneider begins with the Colonial period, when American philosophy was mainly theology inspired by Puritanism and, later, political theory inspired by Locke and the French eighteenth-century thinkers. He does not attempt to take his history as far as the present younger generation, but deals fully with that earlier generation, of whom two are still alive: the generation of Pierce, James, Royce, Santayana, Dewey, and one or two others less well known. With these thinkers there began new movements, still influential, characteristically American and having for the first time repercussions outside the United States. Santayana is properly included as American, because, however European by birth and later residence, he was influenced in his formative years by the environment of Boston and Harvard. That he reacted against the environment more than with it does not alter the fact that it was his environment. On the same grounds, Whitehead should not be claimed as American in spite of his having written his most important books there.

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