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Brand Blanshard

Brand Blanshard

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Percy Brand Blanshard was an American philosopher
American philosophy
American philosophy is the philosophical activity or output of Americans, both within the United States and abroad. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that while American philosophy lacks a "core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and...

 known primarily for his defense of reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

. A powerful polemicist, by all accounts he comported himself with courtesy and grace in philosophical controversies and exemplified the "rational temper" he advocated.

Life


Brand Blanshard was born August 27, 1892 in Fredericksburg, Ohio
Fredericksburg, Ohio
Fredericksburg is a village in Salt Creek Township, Wayne County, Ohio, United States. The population was 487 at the 2000 census.Fredericksburg was founded in 1824 by Jacob Frederick, and incorporated as a village in 1867.-Geography:...

. His parents were Francis, a Congregational minister, and Emily Coulter Blanshard, Canadians who met in high school in Weston, Ontario. The freethinker
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 and sometime The Nation editor Paul Beecher Blanshard
Paul Blanshard
Paul Beecher Blanshard was a controversial American author, assistant editor of The Nation magazine, lawyer, socialist, secular humanist, and from 1949 an outspoken critic of Catholicism....

 was his fraternal twin. During a visit to Toronto in 1893, their mother Emily fell down stairs while holding a kerosene lamp. She died of burns the next day. The Rev. Mr. Blanshard brought his sons to Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand...

 for maternal care by his mother, Orminda Adams Blanshard, widow of Methodist clergyman Shem Blanshard. Francis left them in her care, briefly to pastor a church in Helena, Montana
Helena, Montana
Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

. In 1899 the four moved south to Edinburg, Ohio. Upon being diagnosed with tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, Francis was advised to seek the drier climate of the American West. In 1902, Francis Blanshard bade his mother and sons goodbye. They moved northwest to Bay View, Michigan
Bay View, Michigan
Bay View is an unincorporated resort community in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in Bear Creek Township, Emmet County on Little Traverse Bay and abuts the east side of the city of Petoskey along U.S. Highway 31. The ZIP code is 49770 and the FIPS place code is 06260...

 and he moved alone to Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

 where, in 1904, he died, alone in a tent.

Mrs. Orminda Blanshard raised her grandsons on an annual pension of $250 from the Methodist church while the boys washed dishes at a restaurant. Realizing their need for good education, the family located to Detroit in 1908 so the boys could graduate from the well known Central High School
Central High School (Detroit, Michigan)
Central High School is the oldest secondary school in Detroit, Michigan; it is staffed and operated by the Detroit Public Schools.-History:In 1858, Detroit's first high school opened on Miami Avenue. By 1863, due to increased enrollment, the school was moved to a building that had formerly housed...

. Soon both were at the top of their class, joined the debating team, and Brand was made class Poet. Many years later, Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 was to express surprise at the quality of Brand's poetry. Brand also excelled at baseball.

In 1910 the Blanshard brothers entered the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

, whose annual tuition was only $30 for state residents. Brand discovered philosophy while majoring in classics. After a mere three years at Michigan, he obtained a Rhodes Scholarship
Rhodes Scholarship
The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. It was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, and is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship" by many public sources such as...

 to study at the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, where he studied under Horace W. B. Joseph, who greatly influenced him, and met F.H. Bradley and T.S. Eliot. Upon the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, he interrupted his studies and joined the British Army YMCA, which sent him to Bombay and Amhara
Amhara
Amhara may refer to:* Amhara people, an ethnic group of Ethiopia* Amharic language, spoken by the Amhara people* Amhara Province, a medieval province of Ethiopia from which the people and language got their name...

, where he witnessed poverty and the horrors of war at first hand. German submarine warfare forced him to return to the USA via Japan. Fate reunited the Blanshard twins at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 where Paul was studying the new field of Sociology. The brothers participated in a project run by their shared mentor and friend, John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

. On this project they met Frances Bradshaw of Smith College - see below. Brand obtained his M.A., studying under W.P. Montague
William Pepperell Montague
William Pepperell Montague was a philosopher of the New Realist school. Montague stressed the difference between his philosophical peers as adherents of either "objective" and "critical realism"....

. From Columbia, he went straight into the US Army, serving in France. Once demobilized, he returned to Oxford to complete his BA (Hons) and then earned his doctorate at Harvard under Clarence Irving Lewis
Clarence Irving Lewis
Clarence Irving Lewis , usually cited as C. I. Lewis, was an American academic philosopher and the founder of conceptual pragmatism. First a noted logician, he later branched into epistemology, and during the last 20 years of his life, he wrote much on ethics.-Early years:Lewis was born in...

.

After a short teaching stint at Michigan, he taught at Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the United States with an enrollment of about 1,500 students. The college is located in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia....

 from 1925 to 1944. He spent the remainder of his career at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 until his retirement in 1961. At Yale, he served as chairman of the Department of Philosophy for many years. In 1952, he delivered the Gifford Lectures
Gifford Lectures
The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford . They were established to "promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term — in other words, the knowledge of God." The term natural theology as used by Gifford means theology supported...

 in Scotland.

In 1918, Blanshard married Frances Bradshaw, who would become dean of women at Swarthmore. It came as a great blow to him when Frances died in 1966. He completed her book Frank Aydelotte of Swarthmore, publishing it in 1970. In 1969, after what he later described as "loneliness, failing health, and failing motives," he married Roberta Yerkes, a daughter of his Yale colleague Robert M. Yerkes. Brand Blanshard died in 1987 at the age of 95, in New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and the sixth-largest in New England. According to the 2010 Census, New Haven's population increased by 5.0% between 2000 and 2010, a rate higher than that of the State of Connecticut, and higher than that of the state's five largest cities, and...

.

Philosophy


Blanshard was a rationalist
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 who espoused and defended a strong conception of reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 during a century when reason came under philosophical attack. Generally regarded as one of the last great absolute idealists
Idealism
In philosophy, idealism is the family of views which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing...

 and strongly influenced by British idealism
British idealism
A species of absolute idealism, British idealism was a philosophical movement that was influential in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The leading figures in the movement were T.H. Green , F. H. Bradley , and Bernard Bosanquet . They were succeeded by the...

 (especially F.H. Bradley and Bernard Bosanquet
Bernard Bosanquet (philosopher)
Bernard Bosanquet was an English philosopher and political theorist, and an influential figure on matters of political and social policy in late 19th and early 20th century Britain...

), he nevertheless departed from absolute idealism in some respects. Blanshard distinguished epistemological idealism
Epistemological idealism
Epistemological idealism is a subjectivist position in epistemology that holds that what one knows about an object exists only in one's mind. It is opposed to epistemological realism.Epistemological idealism can mean one of two unrelated positions:...

 (the position that all objects of direct experience exist only in consciousness) from ontological idealism (the position that the world in itself is mental, or made of mind-stuff). He accepted epistemological idealism but, unlike Berkeley
George Berkeley
George Berkeley , also known as Bishop Berkeley , was an Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism"...

, Hegel, Royce
Josiah Royce
Josiah Royce was an American objective idealist philosopher.-Life:Royce, born in Grass Valley, California, grew up in pioneer California very soon after the California Gold Rush. He received the B.A...

, or Bosanquet
Bernard Bosanquet (philosopher)
Bernard Bosanquet was an English philosopher and political theorist, and an influential figure on matters of political and social policy in late 19th and early 20th century Britain...

, was not prepared to take the extra step to ontological idealism. He allowed that the material world, and the atomic particles of which it is thought to be composed, may exist independently of mind. In this sense, he did not accept the basic dictum of Berkeleian ontological idealism, that esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived).

Strongly critical of positivism
Positivism
Positivism is a a view of scientific methods and a philosophical approach, theory, or system based on the view that, in the social as well as natural sciences, sensory experiences and their logical and mathematical treatment are together the exclusive source of all worthwhile information....

, logical atomism
Logical atomism
Logical atomism is a philosophical belief that originated in the early 20th century with the development of analytic philosophy. Its principal exponents were the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, the early work of his Austrian-born pupil and colleague Ludwig Wittgenstein, and his German...

, pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

, and most varieties of empiricism
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

, he held that the universe consists of an Absolute in the form of a single all-encompassing intelligible system in which each element has a necessary place. Moreover, this Absolute—the universe as a whole—he held to be the only true "particular
Particular
In philosophy, particulars are concrete entities existing in space and time as opposed to abstractions. There are, however, theories of abstract particulars or tropes. For example, Socrates is a particular...

", all elements within it being ultimately resoluble into specific "universals
Universal (metaphysics)
In metaphysics, a universal is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. In other words, universals are repeatable or recurrent entities that can be instantiated or exemplified by many particular things. For example, suppose there are two chairs in a room, each of...

" (properties, relations, or combinations thereof that might be given identically in more than one context). He regarded his metaphysical monism
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

 as essentially a form of Spinozism
Baruch Spinoza
Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death...

.

Also strongly critical of reductionist
Reductionism
Reductionism can mean either an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things or a philosophical position that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can...

 accounts of mind
Mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

 (e.g., behaviorism
Behaviorism
Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...

), he maintained to the contrary that mind is the reality of which we are in fact most certain. Thought, he held, is that activity of mind which aims at truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

, and the ultimate object of thought is full understanding of the Absolute. Such understanding comes about, in his view, through a grasp of necessity
Necessity
In U.S. criminal law, necessity may be either a possible justification or an exculpation for breaking the law. Defendants seeking to rely on this defense argue that they should not be held liable for their actions as a crime because their conduct was necessary to prevent some greater harm and when...

: to understand (or explain) something is to see it as necessitated within a system of which it is a part.

On Blanshard's view, the Absolute is thus not merely consistent (i.e., noncontradictory) but positively coherent, shot through with relations of necessity and indeed operating purely deterministically
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

. (Blanshard held the law of causality
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

, properly understood, to be a logical law and believed that effects logically determine their causes as well as vice versa.) Strictly speaking, he admitted, we cannot prove that there are no atomic facts, bare conjunctions, or sheer surds in nature, but we can take it as our working hypothesis that relations of necessity are always to be found; until and unless this hypothesis meets with absolute defeat, we are justified in adopting it at least provisionally. (Blanshard might have argued, but did not, that this hypothesis is in fact indefeasible, since we could never know that two facts were really, rather than merely apparently, unconnected by any necessity at all.)

In his early work The Nature of Thought, he defended a coherence theory of truth
Coherentism
There are two distinct types of coherentism. One refers to the coherence theory of truth. The other refers to the coherence theory of justification. The coherentist theory of justification characterizes epistemic justification as a property of a belief only if that belief is a member of a coherent...

. In his later years, however, he came to think that the relation between thought and object was sui generis and might be described, about equally inadequately, as either "correspondence" or "coherence"; at any rate, he admitted, the "coherence" between thought and its ideal object differs from the coherence that may obtain among thoughts. He also backed away from his early (more or less Bradleian) claim that the ultimate aim of thought was identification with its object.

He defended a strong doctrine of internal relations. He maintained, with longtime friend and philosophical colleague A.C. Ewing, that the doctrine would have caught on far better had it been more accurately described in terms of "relevance" rather than of "internality". His doctrine on this point was that no relation is entirely irrelevant to the natures of the terms it relates, such relevance (and therefore "internality") being a matter of degree. One of Blanshard's most important exchanges on this topic was with philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 Ernest Nagel
Ernest Nagel
Ernest Nagel was a Czech-American philosopher of science. Along with Rudolf Carnap, Hans Reichenbach, and Carl Hempel, he is sometimes seen as one of the major figures of the logical positivist movement....

, who attacked the doctrine of internal relations — indeed, Blanshard's entire conception of reason — in his essay "Sovereign Reason". Blanshard's fullest published reply appears in his book Reason and Analysis.

Sympathetic to theism
Theism
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe....

 but skeptical of traditional religious and theological dogma, he did not regard his Absolute as having the characteristics of a personal God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 but nevertheless maintained that it was a proper subject of (rational) religious inquiry and even devotion. Defining "religion" as the dedication of one's whole person to whatever one regards as true and important, he took as his own religion the service of reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 in a very full and all-encompassing metaphysical sense, defending what he called the "rational temper" as a human ideal (though one exceedingly difficult to achieve in practice). His admiration for this temper extended his philosophical loyalties across "party lines", especially to the one philosopher he regarded as exemplifying that temper to the greatest degree: Henry Sidgwick
Henry Sidgwick
Henry Sidgwick was an English utilitarian philosopher and economist. He was one of the founders and first president of the Society for Psychical Research, a member of the Metaphysical Society, and promoted the higher education of women...

. (He also spoke highly of Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

.) Theologically, Blanshard was raised Methodist but tended toward theological liberalism from an early age, a tendency that became more pronounced as he grew older. Beginning during his time at Swarthmore, he maintained a lifelong connection with the Religious Society of Friends
Religious Society of Friends
The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

 despite personal disagreements with some of Quakerism's generally accepted tenets (notably its pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

).

In ethics, he was broadly utilitarian
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

; however, he preferred the term "teleological
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

" since the term "utilitarian" suggested that all goods were instrumental and he believed (with, e.g., H.W.B. Joseph and W.D. Ross) that some experiences were intrinsically good. He also denied that pleasure is the sole good, maintaining instead (with T.H. Green
Thomas Hill Green
Thomas Hill Green was an English philosopher, political radical and temperance reformer, and a member of the British idealism movement. Like all the British idealists, Green was influenced by the metaphysical historicism of G.W.F. Hegel...

) that experiences are good as wholes and that pleasure is not, strictly speaking, a separable element within such wholes. Disagreeing with G.E. Moore that the "naturalistic fallacy
Naturalistic fallacy
The naturalistic fallacy is often claimed to be a formal fallacy. It was described and named by British philosopher G. E. Moore in his 1903 book Principia Ethica...

" is really a fallacy, he gave an entirely naturalistic analysis of goodness, holding that an experience is intrinsically good to the degree that it (a) fulfills an impulse or drive and (b) generates a feeling-tone of satisfaction attendant upon such fulfillment. He regarded the first of these factors as by far the more important and held that the major intrinsic goods of human experience answer to the basic drives of human nature; he maintained that these two factors together provide not merely a criterion for but the actual meaning of intrinsic goodness. (He defined all other ethical terms, including "right", in terms of intrinsic goodness, a right act, for example, being that act which tends to produce the greatest amount of intrinsic goodness under the relevant circumstances.)

The little that Blanshard wrote on political theory (mainly in Reason and Goodness) owed much to Green and Bosanquet. These two philosophers, he held, had rescued Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

's confused doctrine of the general will
General will
The general will , made famous by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is a concept in political philosophy referring to the desire or interest of a people as a whole. As used by Rousseau, the "general will" is identical to the rule of law, and to Spinoza's mens una.The notion of the general will is wholly...

 and placed it on a rationally-defensible footing. Our "real will" (in Bosanquet's terms) or "rational will" (in Blanshard's) is simply that which we would want, all things considered, if our reflections upon what we presently desire were pursued to their ideal limit. Blanshard argued that there is excellent reason to regard this "ideal" will as in fact real, and contended that it provided the foundation for a rational political theory. The state is justified if, and precisely insofar as, it helps individual human beings to pursue and achieve the common end which is the object of their rational will. He did not develop this doctrine to the point of advocating any specific form of political organization or social structure. In his Schilpp autobiography, he admitted to an early sympathy for socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and to having voted the "straight Democratic ticket" over the previous 40-odd years.

A firm believer in clarity of exposition and himself one of the ablest writers of philosophical prose in the English language, he wrote an essay "On Philosophical Style" in defense of the view that philosophical profundity need not (and should not) be couched in obscurity and obfuscation.

Quotations from The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard



The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard (Open Court, 1980), edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp, is volume XV in the Library of Living Philosophers
Library of Living Philosophers
The Library of Living Philosophers is a series of books conceived of and started by Paul Arthur Schilpp in 1939; Schilpp remained editor until 1981. The series was edited by Lewis Edwin Hahn from 1981 until 2001, and is currently edited by Randall Auxier...

 series. This capstone work contains Blanshard's 183-page autobiography, detailed responses by Blanshard to his critics, and a complete bibliography.

On his philosophy

"If there is anything in my philosophy that I should hope might last, it is the quite unoriginal but none the less important thesis that the rational life is at once the worthiest of lives and the most valuable."
— "Autobiography" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. 97.

On the world

"Many philosophers of the present day are convinced that every existing thing and event is logically unconnected with any other and could disappear from the world without necessarily affecting anything else. Such a rubbish-heap view of the world I cannot accept."
— "Autobiography" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. 132.

On mind and consciousness

"What mind is like can be understood only from within."
— "Autobiography" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. 134.

"I have never been able to accept the realist view that the objects of direct experience are independent of consciousness. Indeed everything we sense or feel seems to me to exist only in consciousness."
— "Autobiography" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. 142.

"If science could get rid of consciousness, it would have disposed of the only stumbling block to its universal application."
— "Reply to Francis V. Raab" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. 807.

On the eternal

"I do not think that G. H. Hardy was talking nonsense when he insisted that the mathematician was discovering rather than creating, nor was it wholly nonsense for Kepler to exult that he was thinking God's thoughts after him. The world for me is a necessary system, and in the degree to which the thinker can surrender his thought to that system and follow it, he is in a sense participating in that which is timeless or eternal. This has been part of the thought of all the great rationalists from Plato through Aquinas and Spinoza to Hegel and McTaggart."
— "Reply to Lewis Edwin Hahn" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. 901.

On Bertrand Russell

"What he loved above all—rationality—and what he hated above all—cruelty—were surely the right things, whether he found them in the right places or not."
— "Autobiography" in The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard, p. 89.

Major works

2 volumes.
451 pages.
The Paul Carus lectures, 12th series. 505 pages.
407 pages.
620 pages. ISBN 0042300134.
His last work. Contains biographical accounts of four exemplars of the rational temper: Marcus Aurelius, John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, economist and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of...

, Ernest Renan
Ernest Renan
Ernest Renan was a French expert of Middle East ancient languages and civilizations, philosopher and writer, devoted to his native province of Brittany...

, and Henry Sidgwick
Henry Sidgwick
Henry Sidgwick was an English utilitarian philosopher and economist. He was one of the founders and first president of the Society for Psychical Research, a member of the Metaphysical Society, and promoted the higher education of women...

. 308 pages. ISBN 0819551007.

External links