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January 15, 1950 - Image 8

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I

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$USD.AY, JANUARY 15, 1950

4i-®1"J

IGOR & COSMIC SCOPE:
Prof. Frankena Calls for
Synthesis in Philosophy

Prof. White Predicts An

c -
-- -

By PROF. WILLIAM FRANKENA
Philosophy Department
PHILOSOPHY at the opening of
the century was, on the whole,
done or attempted in the grand
manner which, one hopes, is its
native genius. It, was, on the .one
hand, speculative, seeking to work
out an adequate and systematic
conception of the universe as a
whole in all its aspects; and it was,
on the other hand, normative,
seeking to discover or lay down
some pattern, principle, or goal by
which man, whether as an indi-
vidual or as a group, may direct his
conduct. Usually it took an ideal-
istic form, as it did in the writings
ofF. H. Bradley and Josiah Royce.
To some extent, this sort of philo-
sophizing was carried on into the
century, though not always on
idealistic lines, by the older gener-
ation of philosophers, now gradu-
ally and regrettably passing from
the sene, for example, by Bergson,
Santayana, and Whitehead.
BUT THE main shift of twentieth
century philosophy in Britain
and America at any rate, has been
in another direction. It was felt
by some that philosophy must be
more thoroughly subjected to the
tests of empirical science and
practical utility than it had been;
and by others that it should be
much more careful to avoid ob-
scurity and unwarranted infer-
ences. The first group, called prag-
matists and led by John Dewey,
proceeded to declare war on meta-
physics and speculative philosophy
and confined themselves essential-
ly to the normative problem of
guiding practice, especially social
practice. The second group, called
analytical philosophers and led by
such Inen. as Moore, Russell, Witt-
genstein, Lewis, and Carnap, vary-
ing in opinion from realists to
positivists, went, .in a way, even
farther. Interested in clarity and
rigor, and conceiving of the vari-
ous sciences as our only sources of
information about the universe,
they sought to limit philosophy to
methodology and the analysis of
meaning. Thus they too condemn-
ed or at least eschewed speculative
philosophy. But, though some of
them, like Russell and R .B. Perry,
wrote normatively on the problems
of conduct and society, most of
them were of the opinion that, as
philosophers, they should concern
themselves with those topics in
ethics and social philosophy only
which come under the heading of
analysis and methodology. These
.men, therefore, including large
ndmbers of the abler of our young
philosophers, came to lay off also
the normative role of guiding hu-
man action. Their typical products
have been studies in logic, seman-
tics, analysis; occasionally a ven-
turesome soul has published a book
in the theory of knowledge or ev-
en in ethical theory.
There are, of course, various
factors which have contributed to
this development: a quite legiti-
mate concern for greater clarity
and rigor, stimulated by the re-
markable advances made in logic
and mathematics; the great im-
pact of science, especially the phy-
sical, but also the social sciences; a
frank recognition of the difficulty,
contingent upon the great progress
made in science and technology,
of knowing enough to do specu-
lative and normative philosophy;
the disillusion and uncertainty re-
sulting from political and inter-
national developments. These fac-
tors presumably still operate and1
will continue to do so. However, if
it is the native genius of philo-
sophy to approximate the grand
manner, one may hope that the
pendulum will nevertheless swing
back.
** *
FOR ONE CANNOT but feel that
the older sort of philosophy

had an imaginativeness, a profun-
dity, a richness-a greatness, if
you will-which is wanting in the
works of most of the pragmatists
and analysts. Thus, as one of the
latter himself admits, "in the case
of nearly all (analysts) there is
an unfortunate disparity between
the richness of their technique and
the increasing poverty of the ma-
terial on which they are able to
exercise it." At the same time, one
must appreciate the analyses and
the contributions to clarity, rigor,
and practical application 'which
have. been and are being made by
the analysts and pragmatists, and
pray that these gains may not be
lost if the pendulum swings back.
Whathis to be desired, then, is a
synthesis-a philosophy in the
grand manner which shall incor-
porate the results of recent analy-
tical and methodological studies,
which shall have the clarity, rigor,
and usefulness so much insisted on
of late, but which shall also have
the cosmic scope and normative
wisdom sought for earlier in the
century.
Unhappily no new philosophy of
this kind is as yet visible on the
horizon. But perhaps there are
some signs that it may come.
There is, for one thing, a revival
of interest in philosophy, conceiv-
ed in the grand manner, in edu-
cational circles, fostered by the
events and developments of the
last decade or two. These develop-
ments have also convinced many
philosophers of the need of the
democraies for a world-and-life
view to rival those of their foes
and to serve as a guide to their
policies. Accompanying t h e m,
there has been something of a re-
naissance of religious conviction;
this may help to reawaken the im-
pulse to build a comprehensive
and systematic philosophy. But so
too should the advances made by
the sciences; in the past such ad-
vances have stimulated cosmolo-
gical speculation of a high order,
and we may expect that they will
again in the not distant future.
Have not scientists themselves
been driven lately to think more
and more responsibly about the
implications and the applications
of their methods and of their dis-
coveries?
* * *
HE GREAT BOOM which aes-
thetics is experiencing at pre-
sent among philosophers and lit-
erary critics in this country is
>ossibly a sign in the right direc-
tion. Then there is existentialism
which has so caught the public
eye. British and American philo-
sophers find it difficult to believe
that this is not a philosophy to
end philosophy, but it may per-
chance be that out of the eater
shall come forth meat and out of
the sour sweetness, if I may per-
vert a Biblical text. It is, at any
rate in part, a reaction or coun-
terweight to analysis and pragma-
tism, and it may work as an ir-
ritant to spur philosophers on to
elaborate something less extreme
and one-sided than it offers on
the one side and they on the other.
Perhaps, then, if political con-
ditions do not forbid, we may ex-
pect that philosophy, having more
professional practitioners than ev-
er before and the tools, materials,
and incentives for greater achieve-
ments than it has yet known, will
produce during the second half of
this century such a synthesis as I
have described. If so, then in addi-
tion to the pontiffs and the jour-
neymen somewhat disparagingly
distinguished by the analyst al-
ready quoted, we shall have-true
wise men. But possibly I am being
simply too speculative and norma-
tive for words.

E L

By PROF. LESLIE A. WHITE
Anthropology Department
WHAT anthropology or any oth-
er science will undertake and
achieve during the next fifty years
will depend upon a number of
things. It will depend, in the first
place, upon a continuation of civ-
ilization in something like its
present form. Whether cvilzatio
will survive the series of world
wars through which it is now pass-
ing is an open question at the
present time. We shave been as-
sured repeatedly by eminent sci-
entists that civilization now poss-
esses means and techniques quite
capable of destroying itself. Whe-
ther this is a valid appraisal o
the destructive and lethal power
of atomic bombs, radioactive
clouds, guided missiles, bacterio-
logical warfare, or ot, remains o
course to be seen. Many if not
most of the significant facts, i.e.
the details of techniques, measure-
ments of numbers, magnitudes
and velocities, etc., are closely
guarded secrets today and hence
are not available for purposes o
prediction. Of two things, how-
ever, we may be sure: that ano-
ther war will come, and that it
will be destructive beyond any-
thing known thus far. All of the
forces that brought the first twc
world wars into being are at worl
today, and, if anything, in accent-
uated form; and no new factor
has appeared to neutralize the
war-making factors. To assume
therefore, that another global
conflict can somehow be avoided
or averted is to abandon a realis-
tic appraisal of facts for a refuge
of desperate hope and illusion.
The alternatives of the future
are the destruction of civilizatior
on the one hand, or the achieve-
ment of a single socio-political or-
ganization that would embrace
the whole earth and the entire
human race. At least, this esti-
mate of the future seems reason-
able on the basis of the knowledge
and understanding of a millior
years of cultural development thai
anthropology has to offer. Whe-
ther either of these alternative
objectives will be achieved as a
consequence of one more worl
war or not remains to be seen
The next conflict mnay end in a
stalemate, to be followed by a
period of recuperation and ano-
ther war. But it seems more rea-
sonable to suppose that one o
these two objectives-world or-
ganization or world desolation-
will be reached eventually than t
assume that international war-
fare will continue indefinitely.
* * * -
WHATEVER happens during the
next fifty years, the fate of
anthropology, and of all science, its
promise and achievement, are de-
pendent upon war and its after-
math. If civilization is destroyec
then it will be destroyed; we know
of no guarantee, cosmic orterres-
trial, of man's security and wel-
fare-or even permanence. Pend-
ing the next test of strength ir
the international military arena
anthropology, like other sciences
will be powerfully affected by the
"magnetic field" of this Darwiniar
struggle among nations. Within it
own province science is a search
for truth, a quest for understand-
ing. But in the midst of a life anc
death struggle among nations, sci-
ence loses its independence; it be-
comes an instrument of attack anc
defense, a military weapon. We
have seen science subordinated tc
the exigencies of national survival
in the past, and we may confi-
dently expect it to be repeated ir
the future. No nation can afforc
not to avail itself of any means al
its disposal when its life is a
stake. The social sciences ar
especially vulnerable in this res-
pect, although biology and ever
physics are not immune by any
means. The "search for truth" be

comes channelled along "part3
lines":--and every nation has, as
of course it must, a "party line" ir
the sense of a point of view and ar

-1

ideology most consonant with its
own success and survival in the
struggle for existence. Social sci-
ence tends to constitute a valida-
tion of a particular "way of life,"
a particular kind of social system.
In times of crisis this tendency be-
comes a necessity, and science be-
comes but a weapon in the arsen-
al of democracy or some kind of
-ism. Already the social science of
the world is divided along na-
tional or political lines, and we
may expect the cleavage to grow
as the world crisis deepens. Sci-
ence has entered the service of
Mars.
* * *
WHAT anthropology will under-
take and achieve duringthe
next fifty years depends upon the
total world situation in which the
overriding factor is War. To dis-
cuss the future of anthropology
apart from this context would be
so unrealistic as to be all but
meaningless. But anthropology as
a field of scientific endeavor and
inquiry does have a program and
objectives. If it were allowed free-
ly to pursue its own course during
the next half-century its agenda
would include the following:
In PHYSICAL ANTHROPOL-
OGY-the study of man as an
animal rather than as a human
being and culture builder-there
is an extensive program. Despite
the great progress of recent dec-
ades, much remains to be done in
the quest of human origins, the
search for fossil man. Many reg-
ions of the world are still unex-
plored from this point of view.
The next fifty years could do
much toward the completion of
the fossil record 'of man's develop-
ment. This has been a goal and
aspiration of anthropology for a
long time, and is still one of its
chief objectives. Physical anthro-
pology is engaged also in a variety
of studies of living races. In this
respect it closely resembles its sis-
ter sciences of anatomy, phyiol-
ogy, genetics, etc., but, a consider-
ation of racial differences within
the human species, as well as a
recognition of man's anthropoid
forebears and evolutionary devel-
opment, give physical anthropol-
ogy a distinct focus of its own.
ARCHEOLOGY, the study of
extinct cultures, is one of the
principal subdivisions of anthro-
pology. For many decades arche-
ologists have been busily engaged
in recoyering the fragments of by-
gone cultures in all parts of the
world and in trying to piece them
together, like a gigantic three-
dimensional jig-saw puzzle, to
make a coherent and comprehen-
sive story of human civilization or
culture. Much exploration and ex-
cavation is still needed in all of
the large land areas of the world,
and after excavation must come
interpretation and synthesis. The
culture history of the world is to-
day like a book from which num-
erous pages, or even chapters,
have been torn at random. The
next fifty years should do much to
fill in these gaps and to complete
the record of the past.
* * *
ETHNOLOGY, the study of liv-
ing cultures, is another major
subdivision of anthropology. In
the past the ethnologist has been
concerned amost exclusively with
preliterate peoples and cultures,
and much work in this area still
remains to be done. There are
many tribes in Melanesia, South
America, Meso-America, Africa,
and elsewhere that need to be

thropology
studied. And with the rapid ad-
vance of western civilization
these primitive cultures are either
becoming extinct or are losing
their identity. The need to send
out, ethnologists to these primi-
tive tribes to record their cultures
before they disappear is very ur-
gent indeed. But social anthropol-
ogy is not limited to the study of
preliterate cultures. More and
more today the analysis and in-
terpretation of modern, literate
cultures is being undertaken.
N THE BASIS of the findings
of physical anthropology, ar-
cheology, and ethnology, the an-
thropologist is working out a gen-
eral and comprehensive theory of
man acid culture. He has as his
ield of study the entire planet,
all of the genera and species-
both living and fossil-of mon -
'.eys, apes, and men, and all of
the cultures of mankind that
have existed since their beginning,
a million years or so ago. A great
deal of information from all of
these sources is available at the
present time and much more will
undoubtedly be added in the dec-
ades to come. But it is not the
mere facts that count, but rather
their meaning and significance,
and it is here that anthropologists
will probably make their mrst
significant contributions in the
future. On the basis of what is al-
ready known about the past and
our understanding of the past and
present, anthropologists have al-
ready been able to make some
generalizations of value and sig-
nificance. Some of the funda-
mental principles of cultural de-
velopment have been discovered
and some of its laws formulated.
Even now some reasonable pre-
dictions about the immediate fu-
ture can be made.
Anthropology has done much
also to clarify the relationship be-
tween man and culture, and to
demonstrate that the latter
changes and grows in terms of its
own principles and laws rather
than in response to man's wish
and will. If anthropology is al-
lored to develop freely and folly
as a science in the next half cen-
t'ury instead of being subordin-
ated to the exigencies of national
survival, it may be expected to
produce much greater results
than it has to date. It seems quite
reasonable to believe that it will
be able to make predictions of
sufficient reliability so that they
may be used as guides to conduct
in all aspects of our life, philoso-
phical as well as technological,
*:thical 4s well as economic.

-.
Need 'Liberal
World State,'
Slosson Says
Next 50 Years
'Up to Ourselves'
By PROF. PRESTON SLOSSON
History Department
MANKIND is at the cross-roads.
That is nothing new; it is
true in each generation. The very
tragic history of the last fifty
years, for instance, might well
have been a story of peace and
progress if certain governments
had made different decisions in
1914, 1939 and sundry other criti-
cal moments. So the next fifty
years, as men shall decide may be
paradise, inferno or purgatory.
But, if put to a guess, I would say
purgaory. Things a r e seldom
either the best or the worst pos-
sible.
The worst need not detain us
long. I do not have to describe
it; it has been done already by
George Orwell in his book Nine-
teen Eighty-Four, a nightmare of
an omnipotent tyranny. Whether
that tyranny calls itself com-
munist, fascist or something new
matters not; the essential evil is
the chaining of the inquiring hu-
man mind. Fortunately, as both
world wars have shown, dictator-
ship it not a strong form of gov-
ernment but a very weak one;
weak because it is lacking in self-
criticism destroyed by censor-
ship, and in personal initiative,
destroyed by regimentation.. The
next worst fate would be a series
of destructive world wars, wreck-
ing the health and wealth of the
world and returning us to pover-
ty and ignorance instead of the
simpler backwardness and illiter-
acy of 500 to 1100 A. D.
The best would be a liberal
world state It is an exasperating
fact that nothing whatever stands
between us and that, possibility
except lack of will. All problems of
organizing a world government,
granted good will, are easily sol-
uble. Switzerland has shown that
differences in language and reli-
gious faith do not necessarily
hamper the growth of a federal
union. Even great differences of
race and culture need not pre-
vent union, as is proved by the
wide variety of peoples now liv-
ing with in the British Common-
wealth of Nations. Practical prob-
lems, such as representation, im-
migration, trade, and differing
local economic systems (capital-
ism in America, socialism in Bri-
tain, communism in Russia) can
(Continued on Page 3)

By PROF. KENNETH ROWE
English Department
MID-CENTURY might have ar-
rived without any apparent
new trend for drama in the Unit-
ed States. Actually certain new
directions or increased impetus to
old directions seem, within my
observation, to have been mani-
fest in the theatre during the past
five years since the war to a de-
gree that gives some basis for
prediction.
The future of American drama
will be determined by the general
public, by the educated and thea-
tre-interested people who consti-
tute the governing boards and
play-reading committees of com-
munity theatres, and by the uni-
versities which furnish the back-
ground of community theatre in-
terest and training for these peo-
ple. In the twenty years preced-
ing the war there were three fresh
creative impulses in American
drama, in the twenties^theart
drama, often somewhat esoteric
and precious, of the Little Thea-
tre movement, and the folk-drama
movement; and in the thirties,
the proletarian drama. All of
these movements arose outside
the commercial theatre and all
have flowed into the commercial
theatre, both broadening that
theatre and being broadened by
it. The new movement is less spe-
cialized, less theoretical, general-
ly more varied and representative
of the American people, than the
earlier movements, and has aris-
en out of again a constriction of
the commercial theatre together
with some dynamic impulse in our
time harmonious with drama as
a form. As the vitality of dramat-
ic writing in this counry in num-
ber and varied character of plays
has become increasingly dispro-
portionate to the.scope of produc-
tion offered by the commercial
theatre in New York, community
and university theatres are turn-
ing increasingly to the production
of new plays. While the number
of new plays other than musicals
opening on Broadway in a season
has declined from a peak of
around two hundred in the twen-
ties to well under fifty since the
war, the productions of new *cripts
by community and university
theatres listed for last year in the
news bulletins of the American
National Theatre and Academy,
American Educational Theatre As-
sociation, and National Theatre
Conference has run into the hun-
dreds. The demand of the present
growing into the future of Ameri-
can theatre is for creative direc-
tors, stage designers, and actors
who can not only reproduce the
plays of previous production, re-
putation, and critical. analysis, but
can' effectively approach a new

script. What this trend may do
for the interest and character of
non-commercial theatre programs
and the significant development
of American drama in stimulus
and experience for writers de-
pends not only upon the growing
creative spirit of audiences who
would rather venture upon the
untried merits of new plays than
go relaxedly to the supposedly
predetermined success, but upon
the training of an adequate num-
ber of people who can read a
manuscript play with sound judg-
ment and confidence for selec-
tion for production.
THE TWENTIETH century las
been characterized by a pro-
gression toward a theatre of vari-
ety and freedom of form and con-
tent. Successive modern move-
ments, realism, naturalism, sym-
bolism, expressionism, construc-
tivism, and the - conventions of
theatres of past times and remote
places have been absorbed into
the stream of drama. Even with
our old playhouses inherited in
design from the rigid and limited
theatre of nineteenth-century
realism, the twentieth-century
theatre has already become by
modern staging and lighting the
most flexible and varied theatre
as a physical medium that has
ever existed. The result is a grow-
ing theatre of interaction between
release of new content by flexi-
bility of means of expression, and
creation of new form out of new
content to be expressed. The pro-
cess is currently active with every
indication that the present char-
acter of a drama of variety and
freedom will be realized more fully
in the theatre of the future.In the
past season in New York what
could have appeared to be im-
practicably cumbersome historical
dramas, Maxwell Anderson's Anne
of the Thousand Days (fiftkun
(Continued on Page 3)
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Rowe Sees Decentralized
Theatre in Next 50 Years

I

?t

Religion.

® "

(Continued from Page 1)
Religion is significant in the
life of a community or nation, he
said, "when it permeates activi-
ties of importance to these groups."
"Judging from indirect evidence
neither among Protestants nor
Catholics has religion become more
significant in this country since
1900."
Prof. Newcomb thought that
"one issue of importance in hte
next 50 years is whether religious
influences are to provide support
for or opposition to our democratic
institutions."
* * *
IN RUSSIA, religion, which ac-
cording to Prof. Lobanov-Rostov-
(Continued on Page 4)

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