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Description - The Philosophy of History with Reflections and Aphorisms by John William Miller

A classic volume by a noted philosopher, available again. John William Miller (1895-1978) taught at Williams College, where from 1945 to 1960 he was Mark Hopkins Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy. His extraordinary teaching is described in Masters: Portraits of Great Teachers, edited by Joseph Epstein. While deeply indebted to Plato, Kant, and Hegel, Miller arrived at a strikingly original reinterpretation of the history of philosophy, which, he believed, resolved long-standing epistemological and moral problems generated by that history. The Philosophy of History criticizes all attempts to interpret history on premises not themselves historical. Miller holds that "to view history philosophically is to consider it as a constitutional mode of experience, a way of organization no less fundamental than physics or logic."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780393300604
ISBN-10: 0393300609
Format: Paperback
(211mm x 129mm x 12mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publish Date: 9-Nov-1983
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - The Philosophy of History with Reflections and Aphorisms by John William Miller

US Kirkus Review » The philosophy of history is not much in vogue in philosophy circles in the US these days, and the relative neglect of historical reflection is one of the characteristics of our contemporary mind-set that bothers the late professor Miller most. (This is the third in a series - following The Paradox of Cause and The Definition of the Thing.) His "reflections" are couched in the sensibility of European idealist philosophy, with emphasis on the primacy of the will, On action as the initiator of history, and therefore on history as an arena of freedom. The preponderance of mathematical reasoning, and the couching of public discourse in the certitudes of mathematics deprives us not only of a sense of "yesterday" but also of a sense of freedom, since the awareness of change and contingency and the action that shapes them into history is necessary for our collective ability to confront the present and future. Although only a part of this volume is devoted to "reflections and aphorisms," the whole structure is episodic rather than devoted to a sustained argument, with sections entitled "Time and Immediacy," "Memory and the Humanities," "Cause," "Purpose," etc. This format leads to much repetition of the basic themes, while the aphorisms sometimes fall flat. But especially if read randomly, Miller's dogged insistence on the centrality of history, conveyed in sometimes beautifully written passages, is a real antidote to the one-dimensionality of so much that passes for reflection. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - John William Miller

John William Miller (1895-1978) taught at Williams College, and he is well known for his extraordinary teaching (described in Masters: Portraits of Great Teachers).