How Philosophy Uses Its Past

How Philosophy Uses Its Past

How Philosophy Uses Its Past

How Philosophy Uses Its Past

Excerpt

These Matchette Lectures presented by Professor Randall at Wesleyan University in the spring of 1961 were the fourteenth in the series of lectures which were initiated by the late Irwin Edman. It is a pleasure to express here, perhaps publicly in print for the first time, Wesleyan's sincere gratitude to the Franklin J. Matchette Foundation for making possible this important series of lectures in which some of the most distinguished American philosophers like William E. Hocking, C. I. Lewis, Susanne Langer, Brand Blanshard, and Paul Tillich have appeared. Professor Randall's admirable lectures on the contribution of history to philosophical understanding gave heartening and impressive support to the policy of the Department of Philosophy, initiated in 1888 by the late Professor Andrew C. Armstrong, and continued ever since, to stress the paramount value of the history of philosophy for an understanding of philosophy and the attainment of proficiency in it. The maintenance of such a policy during more than seventy-five years was not easy in view of modern temptations to relegate the history of philosophy to a secondary position in favor of courses representing the latest trends in contemporary philosophy.

The central problem in such an emphasis on the historical approach to philosophy is how great interest in the past can be combined with sensitivity to modern needs. Only a person perfectly at home in both realms of philosophy, its past and its present, could hope effectively to exhibit the relevance of . . .

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