Yes Men

These books are addressed ostensibly to different questions; they also exhibit different professional talents and draw upon partly different funds of information. On his own level, Professor Hook is still a polemicist to be reckoned with. If he wins fewer campaigns than battles, it will not be for want of …

The Revolting Academy

A specter of revolution haunts the land. Or, rather, a congregation of revolutionary specters. For it is a major problem simply to sort them out and then, when possible, to relate them to one another. There seems to be general agreement that the working classes at least are out of …

The University II: What Is a Liberal Education?

A primary measure of the condition of our universities at the present time is the increasing uncertainty among its leaders, even after several decades, about the success, or even the aims, of general education. Of course there are technical reasons, as Professor Daniel Bell explains in his book, The Reforming …

The American University: Part I

It has become a sociological commonplace that we have been moving into a post-capitalist, even a post-industrialist era in which, along with much prestige and money, residual power now passes to the university men. From this one might infer that we also are witnessing at last the decline of the …

A Virtue in Question

The prime movers of the liberal tradition have always recognized that the virtue of tolerance has its limits. John Locke provides a case in point. In his celebrated Letters on Toleration, Locke defended the widest possible legal and political tolerance of private persons and associations. He made exceptions, however, of …

There Oughta Be a Law

Everywhere, including England, the English are celebrated for their toughminded passion for facts and cases, and for their indifference to, or incapacity for, general ideas. The truth, I am convinced, is just the opposite. Ever since the times when John Locke lit the fuse for the social and political explosions …

Revaluations: John Dewey’s Darwinism

A large part of the enormous corpus of John Dewey’s writings is now to be found only in our great research libraries. We must therefore be grateful to the Indiana University Press for making available again these still attractive essays, first gathered and published in 1910; they provide an excellent …

C. Wright Mills and the Pragmatists

The greater part of this book, which contains among other things a version of C. Wright Mills’s doctoral dissertation, is worth reading. It has the benefit of two revisions: one, doubtless to its advantage, by its author, the other by its editor. It should be said in his defense that …

The Metaphysics of Arthur Koestler

When this extraordinary book—part treatise and part biology and psychology copy book, part independent scientific speculation and part romantic Naturphilosophie—was published in England earlier this year, it caused something of a sensation. No one quite knew how to take it. Some reviewers (and it was reviewed profusely and often at …

Right-wing Existentialists

In our tradition, philosophy is commonly regarded as an attempt, however fatuous, to “explain” the nature of things. Such a view is illusory. Every great historical philosophy, at its inception, has been first of all a protest against the way things are. And the deeper, the more “metaphysical,” a philosophy, …

The Science of Jacques Barzun

Among his other attainments, not least is Mr. Barzun’s virtuosity at the art of disarming critics. On this occasion he has outdone himself. So little store does he set, or profess to set, by his contentions that, although by his own confession he sometimes resorts to the “rhetoric” of argument, …

Working Up The Absurd

Sooner or later, in our excessively redactive age, it was bound to happen. Unfortunately it is this long book which, like a shadow in a hall of mirrors, marks the final disappearance of a great subject. The subject itself is the “image of man” to be found (to readapt a …