Adventures In Unfashionable Philosophy
By James W. Felt, S. J., University of Notre Dame Press, 2010, 274 pp., ISBN 978-0-268-029029, $35.00 (paper).
Reviewed by John E. Shaffett
This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:
Catholic Library World, Sept 2010, Vol. 81 Issue 1, p.57.
Adventures In Unfashionable Philosophy by James W. Felt is a collection of essays written over a period of forty years. The title gives a good indication what the book is about. The essays “unashamedly pursue metaphysics in the classical but now rather unfashionable sense” (vii).
James W. Felt, S.J., at Santa Clara University for 41 years, retired in June 2006. He specializes in metaphysics, especially that of St. Thomas and Alfred North Whitehead, as well as epistemology and the philosophy of scientific knowing. He has published many essays and four other books : Making Sense of Your Freedom, Coming to Be: Toward a Thomistic-Whiteheadian Metaphysics of Be-coming, Human Knowing: A Prelude to MetaPhysics, and Aims: A Brief Metaphysics for Today.
The essays included in this volume resonate with the thinking of Thomas Aquinas, Henri Bergson, and Alfred North Whitehead. Some of the major themes addressed are enriching the thought of Thomas Aquinas through modern scientific thinking; critiquing the thought of Whitehead; analyzing metaphysical methods and conclusions; “the relation of possibility to actuality;” the relationship between time and experience; and “epistemological realism.” The essays are arranged in chronological order, starting from his earliest essay, On Being Yourself (1968) and ending with Know Yourself (2007).This arrangement allows the reader to see the evolution of Felt’s thought. Each essay includes an abstract indicating where it was originally presented, its purpose, its level of difficulty, and whether the author still agrees with the position taken in the essay. These abstracts will be very helpful to the reader in understanding the essays and the evolution of Felt’s thought.
Most of the essays range from mildly to moderately technical; only a few are quite technical. Readers are not acquainted with the thought of Whitehead and Thomas will have a more difficult time understanding the essays. This book will be especially valuable to the reader familiar with Whitehead and Aquinas. Adventures In Unfashionable Philosophy will be an excellent companion to the other books published by James W. Felt.