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December 10, 1938 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1938-12-10

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Page Twelve

PERSPECTIVES

as the study of the types of symbolic
relations.) It may seem to the reader
that this insistence on discrimination
of fields is verbal and insignificant. The
point is, Mr. Dewey is trying to show
not simply that there are important
propositions in psychology dealing with
the processes of logic; but that the pro-
positions of logic are either derivable
from psychological proposition, or are
gratuitous and misleading.
Mr. Dewey deals at length with the
logic of Aristotle and his school to show
that this logic is unsatisfactory. It is
of course no stunt to lick Aristotle these
days. In dealing with modern logical
theory Mr. Dewey displays a curious and
indeed fantastic reticence. There is no
reference in Mr. Dewey's Logic to the
work that has been done by people like
.Frege, Russell, Canap, etc. Mr. Dewey
seems to regard everything as contin-
uous except the history of logic. I at-
tribute this neglect simply to snobbish-
ness: the profound snobbishness of a
modest man.
There are several reasons for the dis-
cursiveness of this review. One has just
been mentioned: Mr. Dewey does not
directly confront his opinions with
those of other living logicians. Another
reason is that, as Mr. Dewey recognizes,
this book is not a presentation of logical
theory on pragmatist lines, but an in-
troduction for such a presentation.
Mr. Dewey's objections to the usual
treatment of logical problems, and the
trouble with the objections may be il-
lustrated by an analogy. Take the theory
of football. In football we have devel-
oped an "extrinsic system for deter-
mining the winhing team. We assign
points in an arbitrary fashion: 6 points
for getting the ball into one of a set of
assigned positions under assigned con-
ditions, etc. It is recognized that this
system is imperfect: it does not result,
in every instance, in the attribution of
tre larger number of points to the team
most observers consider superior. While
we are worrying about this (after the
Minnesota game) Mr. Dewey comes
along and says: "What can you expect?
The system is ridiculous. What you need
is a system of scoring that assigns
points according to the quality of the
play."
Now it is not easy to reply to this. The
suggestion sounds like something from
Alice in Wonderland: it looks reason-
able, its intentions are obviously good;
only it is a little crazy. Because it ne-
glects the tiresome fact that assigning
poits according to the quality of the
play is just what we are trying to do,
within the ilmits of human power, by
the system we use now..
So in logic: the formal criteria for
validity are the best way we have found
for getting to conclusions that will make
us happy. The pragmatists have every
right to emphasize the last part of this.
But it is suicide to use this principle,
applicable to systems as a whole, to in-
tervene between elecents within a
system. As if a quarterback should say:
"We decided it would be more fun to
throw some passes than to score points."
Consider the notorious case of logic
that deals with the mortality of Socra-
tes. In this example we employ two

premisses and a rule to arrive at the con-
clusion. A
When Mr. Dewey tells us we should
evaluate this operation according to the
use we can make of the conclusion, we
~cannot object. But he is very wrong if
he thinks that this kind of evaluation
is applicable to the status of that con-
clusion as derivable from those pre-
mises according to that rule. If the
human mind cannot try conclusions
with itself (in this manner) without
cheating, then the human mind is a
pig.
The real question raised by this book
is whether emphasis on the pragmatic
aspect of logic is likely to lead to devel-
opments within the field. Mr. Dewey is
sure it would, but he does not offer any
examples. He feels that the primary job
is to remove logic from its present asso-
ciations (metaphysics, etc), and to lead
logic into the company of the useful
arts. Mr. Dewey feels this too much and
he says it too often; still this feeling,
despite the errors it leads to, is so well
justified by the history of logic, and is
so fundamentally decent, that in the
end I felt pleased and mildly charmed.
This is what I meant when at the start
I said that the book was important in
a foolish way.
-F. B.
IN HAZARD by Richard Hughes
Harpers Fj Brothers, New York
and London.
That this novel, the second by the
author of A High Wind in Jamaica has
been eagerly awaited is something of
an understatement. A High Wind in
Jamaica came out in 1929 and in the
intervening nine years almost every
critic worth his salt has referred to it
at least once as a "modern classic." It
does rank high among modern novels
and as a psychological study of the
strange half-world in which cildren
live it has been approached by few.
In Hazard will set at rest the fears of
those, wl;o were coming to believe that
Mr. Hughes was a "one novel" writer.
In it the hurricane that played a sub-
ordinate part in the earlier novel has
become the entire moving force. Inevit-
able comparisons will be made between
it and Joseph Conrad's Typhoon and it
does not lose by that comparison.
It is not so much a story of a struggle
between elemental force and man and
his works as it is of the emotions that
that struggle produces. Almost all the
characterization that the book con-
tains is found in the particular form that
fear takes in each man. Whole lifetimes
are lived during the storm, some are
made and some are broken in the grip
of that malevolent fear. The storm it-
self is responsible for some of the fear
but when the fear itself becomes a felt
thing it seizes the ship and all that are
on it.
Against the dispassionate background
of almost scientific description, of the
smoothly working machinery and un-
hurriedly moving men in the forepart
of thenovel the storm becomes a thing
of incalculable force and fury. Though-
out, the use of this same scientific de-
scription conveys more of the power of

the sorm than
prose could appro
that a simple w
barometer reading
thing I refer to thi
It is only when t
the main weaknes
out. During the stor
enough to carry
wind carries bits
makes of them me
when the wind die
of paper. So with
"Archimedes". Thi
climactic after su
stress. Through a
that trace the ear
on the ship Hugh
these men a gre
flashbacks only s
storm, brief mom
which never push
off. The only c
stands out at all
that of the Chine
the engineer Rams,
out only for a mom
In the lastname
attends everything
particularily appi
while telling a fun
countrymen is put
what the white of
inflammatery spee
to be shipped back
execution. The eng
is over, decides to q
sitting on the rail t
in and becomes the
storm. When ever
done to save the sh
captain discovers
had wanted to d
would have meant
It is supremely iron
on a sailing ship
that threatened th
easily overcome. Or
supposedly great s
chine they were
when the machine
of their own hands
livered them had
now helpless. IfIn
the sharply drawn
Wind In Jamaica i
ject matter itself t
is not the story of
or group of men
storm and as a st
a great and lasting
ly memorable nove
BUS
In the droning
Mechanized mo
And the desult
We bury analy
(Who are even
Of freshness in
And the moist
Here we find pe
Smug.

any impressionistic
ach. Any who doubt
ind measurement or
can be a fearsome
s book.
he storm is over that
s. of tha bni k ps

fla 9nt

r5 o it oocCos en Several people have asked why Ber-
rma its force has beess
the men along as a trand Russell's Power was not reviewed
of paper along and in the last issue of PERSPECTIVES,
aningful symbols. But This brings up the entire question of
s they are again bits editorial policy in the book review sec-
the men of the ship tion of a monthly magazine. Power
eir actions are anti-
ch a time of great was not reviewed because it was given
series of flashbacks to a competent critic (the same F. B.
ier lives of the men who reviews Dewey's Ligic in this is-
ses attempts to give sue) who decided that it was a very
ater reality but the bad (bad because it was meaningless)
erve as lulls in the book and not worth reviewing. I feel
nents of forgetting that a magazine of this type, appear-
the storm very far ing irregularly as it does, should at-
haracterization that tempt to select the most important and
above the hurricane, worthwhile books as they appear, and
se revolutionary and should discuss why they are important
ay MacDonald, stands and worthwhile, or perhaps pursue an
nt, independent line of thought which stems
d men the irony that from the book itself. Unfortunately, as
that the men do is you can see from this issue, it is almost
arent. The Chinese, impossible to select a group of books
ny story to quiet his every month which is areed to be a
in th brig for making selection of important, and at the same
Bicers believe to be a time extremely good new books. How-
ch from where he is ever, even if all the books reviewed now
to China to certain and in the future are not good books,
ineer, after the storm an attempt will be made to see that
uit the sea and while they are a representative selection of
hinking about it falls the important and much-discussed new
only casualty of the books.
ything that can be Now that that point has been noted,.
ip has been done, the I should like to devote the rest of this
that everything they column to a discussion of student writ-
io and couldn't do ing. There are 500,000 people writing
inevitable disaster. short stories in the United States. Too
ic that had they been many of these people expect to be taught
most of the disaster how to write.
em could have been The men who teach composition
ice delivered into the courses at the University are a fine
ecurity of the ma- group of men. They are good critics,
completely helpless they have good standards of judgement
broke. The strength and they can be very helpful in improv-
that could have de- ing the style of a young writer or in ad-
they trusted it was vising him what to read. But they ca-
Hazard seems to lack not teach anyone how to write.
t clarity of A High The prime requisite of any writer is
ht is perhaps th sub- discipline, and that is what, by and
at is responsible. It large, the student writers lack. Many
any mmorable man of them have a superficial discipline:
but as °a story of a they have already trained themselves to
udy of emotions, of sit down at their desks and write, for
fear it is a complete- regular periods of time, and at regular
. intervals. But they lack intellectual dis-
-JAMES GREEN cipline. From childhood on, their read-
ing has been an undigestible potpourri
of the classics, the comic strips, and
Collier's, the sole result of which has
been to give them an all but incurable
RIDE case of mental constipation. Their
reading has been extensive rather than
murmur of intensive. Belatedly they discover the
tion, generation immediately preceding their
sry talk, own, and they immediately proceed to
sis write short stories which are bad Hem-
innocentingway.
But the most serious deficiency of
the morning sun the student writer is his absolute lack
green), of any standard of values, of any co-
ace, ordinating philosophy. How can he
possibly sit down and write a story,
-AGNES BIPPEN or worse, a novel, with nothing more in
his head than the vague idea that he
has a story which he may be able to
- - - sell? Art, like the state, is a definite
portion of society, and the artist is a
member of society. If one is going to
write about a worker or a student, he
must consider, in addition to his own,
the relation of the work'er or the student
to the rest of society. He must consider
the meaning of this relationship: he
must see what binds this meaning to
r S. Horowitz, Una his creative work. Art is not created in
a vacuum, but too many student writers
unconsciously write as though it were.
wen Lemon. The formlessness of student writing, the
lack of any desire to write and rewrite
and rewrite until the work is sharp and
nor McCoy, David polished, is closely bound up with the
student's conception that writing is
nothing more than story-telling.
Stanley Lebergott, If you like you may charge these fail-
ings to immaturity. But if a young writ-
er is not going to strive towards disci-
pline and maturity during his Univer-
L JAMES H. ROB- sity life, when is he going to get started?

-HARVEY SWADOS

Editor - F. RANDALL JONES
Fiction Editor -DON COZADD
Henry R. Clauser, Jeanne Foster, Hervie Haumler, Seymos
Kelley, Penelope Pearl, Frances Pyle. Harry Purdy.
Essay Editor - JAMES C. ALLEN
Seymour Pardell, William Loud, Virginia Finkleston, G
Poetry Editor - ROBERT WAYNE
Nelson Bentley, Joseph Gornbein, Ruth Hatfield, Elea
Stocking.
Review Editor - HARVEY SWADOS
Iris Behe, Marguerite Ezri, Elliott Maraniss, Ethel Norberg
Roger Norton.
Publications Manager - JOHN R. STILES
Advisory Board - ARNO L. BADER, GIOVANNI GIOVANNIN
ERTSON, WALLACE A. BACON.

By Margaret Ayres

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