Religion, Politics, and the Higher Learning: A Collection of Essays

Religion, Politics, and the Higher Learning: A Collection of Essays

Religion, Politics, and the Higher Learning: A Collection of Essays

Religion, Politics, and the Higher Learning: A Collection of Essays

Excerpt

The word 'philosophy' is both old and ambiguous--in fact, ambiguous because it is so old. It may mean 'love of wisdom' in the original Greek, but to the professional student it is a formidably technical subject which is divided into its four departments of logic, metaphysics, theory of knowledge, and ethics. Expertise in these departments requires neither wisdom nor love of wisdom, not even expertise in ethics when it is thought of simply as the analysis of moral concepts. In the past the philosopher was supposed to be, among other things, both a logician and a sage. He reflected on the nature of inference and was expected to deliver wise sayings on moral, political, and social problems. But today, especially in England and America, the philosophy of life and the philosophy of civilization are often regarded as disreputable Continental concerns, hardly to be called subjects in the academic sense. Political philosophy, we are told by one British don, is dead. Another has remarked on the slump in sages. The philosophy of history, or what is left of it, has been cheerfully surrendered to historians and sociologists, and the philosophy of education has been returned with a sigh of relief to normal schools. Parts of philosophy which have been most closely connected with the pressing problems of ordinary men have either been destroyed or disowned, sometimes by philosophers who say that they do so the better to deal with the words of ordinary men. Is it surprising then that some of these aban-

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