Wednesday, January 11, 2017
This is a review of the book Aristotle by John Herman Randall, Jr., Easton Press leather bound edition (1990).
The author John Herman Randall (1899-1980) was an educator, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, and a humanist, signer of the Humanist manifesto (1933). A favorable Foreword for the book was written by the Reverend Joseph Owens, C. Ss. R. (1908-2005), a Canadian Roman Catholic priest and philosopher, a Christian scholar of St. Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, metaphysics, and medieval philosophy. This Foreword adds to the value of this tome.
However, the Foreword is somewhat misleading, as the good priest set out apparently to find what was good in the work, and he found enough of it to be able to write a praiseworthy introduction. True, as intimated by Father Owens, the author Randall admires and places Aristotle on the intellectual pedestal “The Philosopher” deserves. Father Owens points out and praises Randall and “his penetrating insight to insist that Aristotelianism ‘can be applied to any social and cultural materials…to Soviet Russia, to medieval Christendom, to India, to New York City.’ ” This was apparently the type of statement...
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
“I went to Communism as one goes to a spring of fresh water, and I left Communism as one clambers out of a poisoned river strewn with the wreckage of flooded cities and the corpses of the drowned.” --- Arthur Koestler
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler is both a literary masterpiece and a tour de force in intellectual historical drama; it is as eloquent, but even more intense than Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Both dramas are fast moving and intensely emotive. But whereas in Solzhenitsyn’s little epic we are dealing within injustice, imprisonment, useless labor, and hopelessness, in the case of Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, we are dealing with the more immediate arrest and incarceration of a former apparatchik, a former Bolshevik whose hands are not completely clean and who had participated in bringing about the state of persecution and terror in which he finds himself now as a victim.
The personal significance and historical context of this masterpiece is inextricably entwined with the life and career of its author, Arthur Koestler (1905-1983; photo, right). Koestler was a Hungarian ethnic Jew, a journalist and a former...