British Philosophy in the Mid-Century

A. I. Meldena1

a1 University of Washington, Seattle Washington, U.S.A.

In the summer of 1953 a lecture-course organized by the British Council was given at Peterhouse, Cambridge. The Faculty of Moral Science were responsible for the programme of lectures and discussions, and Miss Margaret Master man and Dr. Theodore Red path were appointed by the Faculty as joint directors. The lectures must have been well received by the teachers of philosophy who attended and participated in the discussions— representatives from the Continent, the United States and even China were on hand; and the suggestion arose quite naturally that they be published in a single volume. However, some of the lecturers wished to redraft the papers they had read and hence the essays now presented, under the editorship of C. A. Mace, in the volume British Philosophy in the Mid-Century, A Cambridge Symposium (George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1957) are in a number of instances dressed up and greatly expanded versions of the lectures actually given. Further, it is worth noting that the essay by G. E. Moore was written specifically for this volume and is based on a discussion held with some students who attended the sessions at Peterhouse. Thus it is that the papers now published vary greatly in length from the welcome ten pages contributed by G. E. Moore to the seventy-nine pages from Miss Master man. This disparity is, of course, an anomaly in a volume explicitly designed to reflect trends in very recent British philosophy and to convey, to those relatively unfamiliar with it, some reliable picture of its condition at mid-century. But this volume records a present-day Cambridge symposium and as such it must in some measure reflect quite local interests and conditions. However, most of the contributors are very well known and the essays now presented to the public contain a good deal that will interest and profit the reader.