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New Left Review I/1, January-February 1960

Colin Falck

Philosophy Again?

Words and Things, Ernest Gellner. Gollancz (25/-).

Thought and Action, Stuart Hampshire. Chatto & Windus (25/-).

there is a gulf today, which we must make every possible effort to narrow, between the kind of thinking characteristic of practical moral and political dispute on the one hand, and what in contemporary academic circles is regarded as philosophy on the other. Although current philosophy in this country has been drawn increasingly towards logic and away from moral and political theory, it can be shown (cf. Iris Murdoch in Conviction) that this choice is in fact a moral one (albeit disguised) and is in no sense logically forced upon us. All that the ‘anti-metaphysical’ arguments oblige us to acknowledge is that moral theorising is not the discovery of bogus ‘facts’; there is no reason to reject moral and political theory as such, unless it be a basically Liberal prejudice to the effect that such theory is unnecessary or dangerous. It is vital that the ‘neutrality’ myth about contemporary philosophy should be exploded, for only in this way can the hidden prejudices be brought into open dispute and philosophy be reunited with explicitly political thinking.

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Colin Falck, ‘Philosophy Again?’, NLR I/1: £3

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