Contemporary British Philosophy1

A. N. Priora1

a1 University of Christchurch, Christchurch, New Zealand

Before taking this book with the seriousness which at least parts of it deserve, it is necessary to dispose of a criticism which is basically frivolous but has already been made too often to be ignored. “Contemporary British Philosophy”—the title conjures up the names that everyone is currently bandying about (“this is going to be another Flew book,” you feel, “only on a grand scale”); and then you find with a jolt that you are being served with fare by such cooks as Ewing, Findlay, Kneale, Mabbott, Price, and—of all people—Paton. People, clearly, who for the most part wouldn’t even pretend to be “contemporary” in the ordinary use of this word, and who indeed in these very papers subject the real “contemporary” philosophers to endless sniping and sharp-shooting. Almost the only contributor one can imagine wishing to be thought “contemporary” is Ryle; and even he—well, did Freud really think of himself as a Freudian? Ayer might be put up as another exception, but that would be shallow— there's no one so completely and hopelessly out of date as the conductor of the bandwagon that's just gone past. Even from the point of view of crass physical age, the baby of this bunch (Hampshire), works out (from the biographies at the back) at about 43.


1 Contemporary British Philosophy. Third Series. Edited by H. D. Lewis. Allen & Unwin, 1956, 35s. net.