Ideas in Cultural Perspective

Ideas in Cultural Perspective

Ideas in Cultural Perspective

Ideas in Cultural Perspective


Professor Arthur O. Lovejoy, father of the XXth-century study of the history of ideas, has indicated certain general features of that study, illustrated by this volume of essays selected from the Journal of the History of Ideas, of which he was the first Editor:

1. the presence and influence of the same presuppositions or other operative "ideas" in very diverse provinces of thought in different periods;

2. the rôle of semantic transitions and confusions, of shifts and ambiguities in the meanings of terms in the history of thought and taste;

3. the internal tensions or waverings in the mind of almost every individual--sometimes discernible even in a single writing or on a single page--arising from conflicting ideas or incongruous propensities of feeling or taste to which he is susceptible, and

4. implicit or incompletely explicit assumptions, or more or less unconscious mental habits, operating in the thought of an individual or a generation.

The articles presented here serve to illustrate the range of the history of ideas and some of its methods and problems.

Part I of this volume contains articles on the methodology of the history of ideas and on the relation of this discipline to other areas of intellectual history. Part II contains articles which explore the history of ideas in literature and art. Part III is devoted to articles examining the ideas in social and political thought. Part IV is composed of studies in philosophical and religious thought.

Philip P. Wiener Aaron Noland

The City College, New York February, 1962

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