Life, Language, Law: Essays in Honor of Arthur F. Bentley

Life, Language, Law: Essays in Honor of Arthur F. Bentley

Life, Language, Law: Essays in Honor of Arthur F. Bentley

Life, Language, Law: Essays in Honor of Arthur F. Bentley

Excerpt

This volume is offered to Arthur Fisher Bentley in appreciation for over sixty years of fruitful contribution to scientific inquiry. The men who join in this project reflect the variety of disciplines and points of view which have felt the impact of his radical insights. It was William James who classified the universe of temperaments into tough- and tender-minded; and the history of science will record that Arthur Bentley stands firmly with James in the camp of the former. The physical, biological, cultural and logical sciences have all felt his penetrating scrutiny, and the workers in these fields have been occasionally scorched, often entertained, and generally instructed by his revealing discussions. The imprint of his labors is found on the frontiers of philosophy and politics, and on the interdisciplinary movements of modern science.

Early in his career Bentley strove to fashion a tool to make coherent social study possible. His researches which resulted in The Process of Government (1908) brought him to recognize that all thought and description is in language, and language is social. He was fortunate that the window from which he observed society was of an editorial office of busy Chicago rather than the cloistered shelter of some academy; he was never restricted by the often too conventional academic departmental boundaries. After retiring from newspaper work, he was free to apply his linguistic hypothesis experimentally first to mathematics, then to psychology and finally, and in cooperation with John Dewey, to logic. The product has been the transactional point of view first systematically expounded in Dewey and Bentley Knowing and the Known (1949). This development has been recorded for this volume by Sidney Ratner and plainly illustrated by Dr. Bentley in the Epilogue.

Life, Language, Law also seeks to honor Bentley's achievement by providing some demonstrations of the transactional approach. The chapters by Adelbert Ames, Jr., Charles B. Hagan, Bertram Gross, and George A. Lundberg serve this end for the fields of psychology, political science, economics, and policy formulation respectively. The con-

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