Experience, Existence and the Good: Essays in Honor of Paul Weiss

Experience, Existence and the Good: Essays in Honor of Paul Weiss

Experience, Existence and the Good: Essays in Honor of Paul Weiss

Experience, Existence and the Good: Essays in Honor of Paul Weiss

Excerpt

Paul Weiss has written seven important books in philosophy. He has edited and contributed to other volumes, written many articles, and since he founded it fifteen years ago has edited The Review of Metaphysics. For thirty years now, in writing, teaching, and in a full and varied public life, he has been doing philosophy, and doing it speculatively. Philosophy is not widely done that way now. It is mainly analytical and technical; most philosophers, now, are interested in methods of analysis and techniques of logic; they are interested in using them to examine special, often narrow, problems in philosophy. They tend to think that speculative philosophy is not precise or exact enough, that it is vagrant and private, that its noble visions are often empty, and that sound logic and good precision do not support a system in philosophy.

Paul Weiss has for many reasons disagreed with this prevailing view. He has opposed it in the most important way -- by doing philosophy systematically, and by showing, without timidity or apology, that speculative thought is an exact but comprehensive discipline. He has urged that the great questions shall be asked and dealt with since they cannot be avoided, for they are always presupposed. No method, no technique, no problem, however narrowly defined, stands secure and separate from the fundamental issues of what we are, what there is, what we know, and can and ought to do. He has urged that the great questions shall be discussed, and that we shall not be so concerned to avoid mistakes that we give up trying to say what important things are true. It is on the basic issues that Paul Weiss has been doing his own work in philosophy. And on these issues he has encouraged other philosophers, in whatever ways they can, to develop their own views. Had it not been for his example, his own discussions, and the opportunities that the journal he founded has given to speculative philosophy, philosophy in this country today would be a much different, less vital, and less important thing.

This year, Paul Weiss is sixty years old. His devotion to philosophy, the energy and passion that he gives to it, have not been slowed in these . . .

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