At the heart of Macmurray's work is his attempt to reverse the proposition of philosophy of the modern period that posits the self as thinker withdrawn from action and essentially isolated from the world about which it reflects. Macmurray labored to recast the role of philosophy in the service of a more fulfilling and basic personal communion ...Read MoreAt the heart of Macmurray's work is his attempt to reverse the proposition of philosophy of the modern period that posits the self as thinker withdrawn from action and essentially isolated from the world about which it reflects. Macmurray labored to recast the role of philosophy in the service of a more fulfilling and basic personal communion with others, with the world, and ultimately with God. Indeed, it can be said that Macmurray's philosophy is really a philosophy of community--a philosophy that relates to many contemporary philosophical and religious concerns, as well as having a bearing on current historical/sociological, political, and feminist critiques of contemporary American society.Read Less
Octavo; vg/vg; dj, yellow spine with black text; dj, moderate shelf wear; chipping; several small closed tears; sunned at the spine; price clipped; HB, blue cloth spine with gold text; boards, minor shelf wear and bumping; light flaking along the edges; text block, clean; 230pp. Rockville.
This is a very ambitious book based on Macmurray's Gifford lectures of the 1950s which also gave rise to his Persons in Relation (1961). These are the culmination of Macmurray's work which he takes to embody a new philosophical form of the personal that will supplement the mechanical and organic forms that he thinks operate as assumptions in social theory to the detriment of modern society.
This first volume seeks to establish the standpoint of agency as prior to that of the observer in human experience. The observer, or thinker, represents a standpoint reached by abstracting from action and thus becomes egocentric. It also involves abstraction from the sense of touch and hence reliance on visual metaphors in understanding the mind which make room for scepticism about the external world. When the abstraction from action is removed on the other hand, we find ourselves again in the social world of 'persons in relation' (whose leading features are discussed in the sequel volume).
Macmurray draws ideas from Hegel and Bergson amongst others often without acknowledgement and this gives his work an aura of greater originality than it perhaps deserves. He compares his work in scope to Descartes' Discourse on Method (1637) and thus makes large claims for it in this regard. That said, it is a wide-ranging synthesis of trends that have been neglected in much recent philosophy. Those who admire him think Macmurray simply ahead of his time. Those who wish a more popular and self-contained introduction might try the earlier Freedom in the Modern World (1932) based on radio talks. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the nature of personal relations at a philosophical level or in the reception of Continental philosophy in the English-speaking world. The book was originally published by Faber in 1957 and the new edition reproduces this with a new introduction by Stanley Harrison.
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