Samuel Alexander Criticism - Essay

Haldane (essay date 1920)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Prof. Alexander's Gifford Lectures," in Nature, August 26, 1920, pp. 798-801.

[In the following essay, Haldane considers Alexander's Space, Time and Diety in the context of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.]

Prof. Alexander has written a book which requires more than cursory reading. It deserves careful study. For it embodies a thoroughly modern exposition of New Realism in full detail. Moreover, these two volumes are not merely the outcome of a sustained effort at accurate investigation. They are distinguished by their admirable tone and temper. The author is throughout anxious to understand and to represent faithfully the views of those...

(The entire section is 3185 words.)

Charles Hartshorne (essay date 1937)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mead and Alexander on Time," in Beyond Humanism, Willett, Clark & Company, 1937, pp. 242-52.

[In the following essay, Hartshorne explicates and identifies weaknesses in Alexander's arguments in Space, Time and Diety.]

George Herbert Mead was a great philosopher and certainly a humanist. Until his Philosophy of the Act has been published it will be too soon to pass judgment on his philosophy. But there are some aspects of his system which seem fairly well defined by his extant writings, and these aspects suggest the following criticisms. In his Philosophy of the Present Mead declares that each age creates its own past—not its own image of...

(The entire section is 3492 words.)

G. F. Stout (essay date 1940)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander (I.)," in Mind: A Quarterly Review, Vol. XLIX, No. 193, January, 1940, pp. 1-18.

[In the following essay, Stout presents the first part of an extended analysis of Alexander's philosophical system, focusing on his concepts of mind, mental processes, and sensory perception.]

According to Mr. Laird "no English writer has produced so grand a system of speculative metaphysics in so grand a manner since Hobbes in 1696 completed his metaphysical journey with the publication of De Corpore". I entirely agree. But this was not the kind of praise which pleased Alexander himself. When the plan of his philosophy first dawned upon...

(The entire section is 8435 words.)

G. F. Stout (essay date 1940)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander (II.)," in Mind: A Quarterly Review, Vol. XLIX, No. 194, April, 1940, pp. 136-49.

[In the following essay, which comprises the second installment of his analysis of Alexander's philosophy, Stout discusses Alexander's distinction between the ways objects and mental processes are experienced, his treatment of the knowledge of other minds, and his conceptions of space-time, intuitive knowledge, and the emergent quality of nature. ]

Enjoyment and Contemplation.

Alexander draws a hard and fast distinction between the way in which we experience objects and the way in which we experience our own...

(The entire section is 5591 words.)

J. V. Bateman (essay date 1940)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Professor Alexander's Proofs of the Spatio-Temporal Nature of Mind," in The Philosophical Review, Vol. XLIX, No. 3, May, 1940, pp. 309-24.

[In the following essay, Bateman examines Alexander's proofs of the spatial and temporal nature of mind: his argument from introspection and his argument from the spatio-temporal properties of the neural processes.]

According to Alexander, Space-Time is the simplest form of reality, out of which all finite existents—including minds—are made. Growth and creative process flow from the intrinsic nature of this primordial stuff; and the ensuing spatio-temporal configurations, with their differences of complexity and...

(The entire section is 5856 words.)

John Laird (essay date 1942)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Samuel Alexander's Theism," in The Hibbert Journal, Vol. XL, No. 2, January, 1942, pp. 146-55.

[In the following essay, Laird examines Alexander's views on the nature and existence of God.]

Alexander was, quite certainly, a theist in his own Alexandrian way, a way that was never insincere. Indeed his "nisus theory of deity," to judge for instance from Mr Brightman's Philosophy of Religion (1940), seems by now to have taken its place as one of the accepted types of text-book theism. It has almost achieved respectability, like an eccentric old friend whose ways have become too familiar to startle.

A letter of Alexander's which...

(The entire section is 5611 words.)

The Earl of Listowel (essay date 1942)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Samuel Alexander's Aesthetics," in The Menorah Journal, Vol. XXX, No. 2, July-September, 1942, pp. 145-60.

[In the following essay, Listowel discusses Alexander's views on beauty in art and nature, noting Alexander's emphasis of the role of the spectator in artistic creation.]

Those, like the present writer, for whom the late Samuel Alexander unlocked doors to new realms of wisdom and delight, or who basked in the sunshine of encouragement and kindly advice he gave so readily to younger men, will understand with what alacrity this opportunity was seized of paying a small tribute to the memory of so unusual and attractive a personality. To resurrect the mind...

(The entire section is 5788 words.)

John K. McCreary (essay date 1947)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Religious Philosophy of Samuel Alexander," in The Journal of Religion, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, April, 1947, pp. 102-13.

[In the following essay, McCreary explicates Alexander's theological views, which posit the existence of God through the principle of emergence, or, the development of nature to successively higher levels.]

Alexander is a representative of that movement of thought which may be termed Anglo-American realism; in his Space, Time, and Deity, he has offered the most complete metaphysical and religious system so far given by that group.1 Much, if not most, of his work is occupied with mind—mind as in the order of realities...

(The entire section is 6858 words.)

John Passmore (essay date 1957)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The New Realists," in A Hundred Years of Philosophy, Basic Books, Inc., 1966, pp. 259-80.

[In the following essay, which was originally published in 1957, Passmore focuses on Alexander in a discussion of realist philosophers of the early twentieth century.]

In the early years of the present century, it could no longer be presumed that Realism was intellectually disreputable, a mere vulgar prejudice. What a mind knows, Brentano and Meinong had argued, exists independently of the act by which it is known; Mach, and James after him—if they were still, from a Realist point of view, tainted with subjectivism—had at least denied that what is immediately...

(The entire section is 9542 words.)

Michael A. Weinstein (essay date 1984)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Spirit and Nature: Alexander's Early Writings," in Unity and Variety in the Philosophy of Samuel Alexander, Purdue University Press, 1984, pp. 12-32.

[In the following essay, Weinstein discusses the development of Alexander's philosophical system from Hegelian idealism in the 1880s to Darwinism and Naturalism in the 1890s.]

May it not be that the inability of philosophy to understand the great body of facts familiar to us as variety, modification, multiplicity, accident, is not due to the weakness of nature, but suggests a problem for philosophy itself. (1886)

The real answer to Hume is given by Darwinism. (1892)...

(The entire section is 11131 words.)