Brand Blanshard, emeritus Sterling professor of philosophy at Yale University, is the leading rationalist on the contemporary Anglo-American scene. A graduate. Brand Blanshard. Wisdom in its broadest and commonest sense denotes sound and serene judgment regarding the conduct of life. It may be accompanied by a. Manchester University, Brand Blanshard. Lord Macaulay once recorded in his diary a memorable attempt—his first and apparently also.
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Not one word of it gave me anything like an idea except a Latin quotation from Persius. James suggests another respect in which philosophic writing may and should give evidence of feeling. Often our young philosophers, and still oftener our young psychologists and sociologists, are allowed to commit mayhem on the language unwarned, and to grow up under the innocent impression that such behaviour is somehow scholarly. We must admit, therefore, that a philosopher can do without it; and since we are saying so much about blansjard today, let me underline this remark by way of keeping or sense of proportion.
It has always been this, however much more it may have claimed to be. Must such wisdom end in dogmatic contradiction and skepticism? Such understanding comes about, in his view, through a grasp of necessity: The decisions of a wise judge may be implicitly brxnd with experience and reflection, even though neither may be consciously employed in the case before him. This capstone work contains Blanshard’s page autobiography, detailed responses by Blanshard to his critics, and a complete bibliography.
A sentence as its simplest makes one statement, but if we were to make only one statement per sentence, our writing would be unbearable. One of Blanshard’s most important exchanges on this topic was with philosopher Ernest Nagelwho attacked the doctrine of internal relations — indeed, Blanshard’s entire conception of reason — in his essay “Sovereign Reason”.
The brothers participated in a project run by their shared mentor and friend, John Dewey. Empiricists think that the meaning and test of thought lie in sensible experience, and hence they hover about this hearthstone much more closely than the far-ranging rationalists.
But suppose, to revert to our opening illustrations, that the reader happens to be Macaulay reading Kant, or Reichenbach reading Hegel, or Russell reading the logician whom we quoted. In satisfying his passion for clarity, he allows himself to omit shades and qualifications that are there in the facts, but would smudge his sharply etched lines if he were to put them into his picture.
The point we are making has been made by Hazlitt, and since Hazlitt was a man with an ear, we may profit by knowing how he put it: For the place of reason in valuation, see L. Should any of us wish that Hobbes were less unmistakably Hobbes in his writing, or Bradley Bradley, or Moore his repetitious, lucid, vehement, painstakingly precise self? On the expository side, it supplies a liberal chest of tools with which to sharpen and drive home our point.
In some activities wisdom consists almost wholly of such foresight. But that style, though not all-important, is important nevertheless is plain enough if we pair some eminent names that naturally occur together. He spent the remainder of his career at Yale University until his retirement in It is easy to criticize either of them, and many a wayside sharpshooter has put his little air gun in rest and scored palpable hits on them.
He knew little enough about astronomy, but, convinced that the other planets were hovered over by angelic intelligences and were probably inhabited by souls more or less like ourselves, he prepared a discourse in whose very title we catch some echoes of his rolling periods: I tried to read it, but found it utterly unintel-ligible, just as if it had been written in San-scrit.
It follows him about as a shadow.
Karsten Harries “Brand Blanshard: “
Some philoso-phers write to plan and scale; their heads and subheads are blanahard out in advance, and they follow them as a lawyer does his brief. No murmur may come from these visitors if he does. Whatever the future of this view, common opinion is still at one with the main tradition of blanshxrd it regards the judgment of values as a field in which wisdom may be pre-eminently displayed. Is that situation clear? Bradley and Bernard Bosanquethe nevertheless departed from absolute idealism in some respects.
The treatment of evil by theology seems to me an intellectual disgrace. Many years later, Bertrand Russell was to express surprise at the quality of Brand’s poetry.
What the philosopher bramd manage to embody in words in not the whole of him, nor the impulsive and imagina-tive part of him, but his intellectual part, his ideas and their connections.
He assures them that working all day and rewriting half a dozen times has only yielded him a page and a half of manuscript. Here is blahshard sort of thing I mean, a sentence in which T. In a recent book Hans Reichenbach records a similar adventure with his illustrious coun-tryman, Hegel.
He will more hrand recognize the beliefs of superstition, charlatanism, and bigotry for what they are because he will question the evidence for them and note that when reflectively developed, they conflict with beliefs known to be true.
His doctrine on this point was that no relation is entirely irrelevant to the natures of the terms it relates, such relevance and therefore “internality” being a matter of degree. His philosophical interests had shifted away from religion. This is true always of what develops, and true only of this.
The stress on wisdom was maintained by his disciple Plato. Common sense, with its rules and proverbs, no doubt helps, but it is too rough and general a guide to be relied on safely; and the reflective man will have at his command a broader view of grounds and consequences, causes and effects. Montague as the person from whom he learned most about teaching—was his meeting brsnd Frances Bradshaw, a fellow graduate student, newly arrived from Smith.
It must admit, however, that this judgment is of a peculiar kind; it seems to be intuitive in the sense that it is not arrived at by argument nor easily defended by it. If one wants to avoid such writing, the vrand aid is H. Now hrand way to save work for the reader is simply to write clearly. Blanshard was a rationalist who espoused and defended a strong conception of reason during a century when reason came under philosophical blanshqrd.
It also tends at time, as Oxford philosophers have recently been pointing out, to play tricks with language, to brahd words in such a way as to suggest that the objects named by them fall in other categories than they do.
The brains of these persons, when they think, are not dynamos humming in a vacuum; actual thought is always bathed in personal feeling, and invested with the lights and shades of an individual temperament.
Bllanshard course many writers have never thought of asking whether their writing is predominantly Roman or Saxon. Many philosophers of the present [20th] century have come to hold that this conflict is beyond settlement by reason, on the ground that judgments of good and bad are not expressions of knowledge at all but only of desire and emotion. The first has to do with the length of the sentence.