Arthur Lovejoy

Arthur LovejoyIn existographies, Arthur Lovejoy (1873-1962) (CR:27) was German-born American philosopher noted for his 1932-1933 William James lecture series at Harvard turned 1936 book The Great Chain of Being: a Study of the History of an Idea, wherein he gives the first historical account of the "great chain of being" theory, and how, though once the apex of the renaissance, supposedly, it fell off following Rene Descartesdualism supposition, i.e. the division of a person into soul-mind and mechanistic material body, which thus separated intellectuals into two cultures, and thereby broke up the great chain of being, by the combined influence, according to Peter Stanlis, of romantic idealism, Darwin’s evolution theory, and Einstein’s relativity. [1]

Quotes | By
The following are quotes by Lovejoy:

“The history of ‘ideas’, particularly in respect to the great chain of being, is no subject for highly departmentalized minds; and it is pursued with some difficulty in an age of departmentalized minds.”
— Arthur Lovejoy (1933), The Great Chain of Being (pg. 22)

“No doubt man’s quest of intelligibility in nature and in himself, and of the kinds of emotional satisfaction which are conditioned by a sense of intelligibility, often, like the caged rat's quest of food, has found no end, in wandering mazes lost.”
— Arthur Lovejoy (1933), The Great Chain of Being (pg. 23)

“It was in the eighteenth century that the conception of the universe as a ‘chain of being’, the principles which underlay this conception – plenitude, continuity, gradation – attained their widest diffusion and acceptance. The faith in speculative a priori metaphysics was waning, and the Baconian temper (if not precisely the Baconian procedure), the spirit of patient empirical inquiry, continued its triumphant march in science, and was an object of fervent enthusiasm among a large part of the general educated public. There has been no period in which writers of all sorts — men of science and philosophers, poets and popular essayists, deists and orthodox divines — talked so much about the ‘chain of being’, or accepted more implicitly the general scheme of ideas connected with it, or more boldly drew from these their latent implications, or apparent implications. Addison, King, Bolingbroke, Pope, Haller, Thomson, Akenside, Buffon, Bonnet, Goldsmith, Diderot, Kant, Lambert, Herder, Schiller — all these and a host of lesser writers not only expatiated upon the theme but drew from it new, or previously evaded, consequences; while Voltaire and Samuel Johnson, a strange pair of companions in arms, led an attack upon the whole conception. Next to the word ‘nature’, the ‘great chain of being’ was the sacred phrase of the eighteenth century, playing a part somewhat analogous to that of the blessed word ‘evolution’ in the late nineteenth.”
Arthur Lovejoy (1933), The Great Chain of Being (pgs. 183-84)

“I proposed the term ‘retrotensive method’, which seems to be a needed addition to the philosophical vocabulary, at the Sixth International Congress of Philosophy (1927).”
— Arthur Lovejoy (1933), The Great Chain of Being (pg. 275) [2]

1. (a) Lovejoy, Arthur. (1933). The Great Chain of Being: a Study of the History of an Idea. Harvard University Press, 1936.
(b) Arnopoulos, Paris. (1993). Sociophysics: Cosmos and Chaos in Nature and Culture (Lovejoy, 3+ pgs). Nova Publishers, 2005.
2. (a) Lovejoy, Arthur. (1927). “The Meanings of ‘Emergence’ and its Modes”, Sixth International Congress of Philosophy; see: Journal of Philosophical Studies (quote, pg. 176), 2:167-81.
(b) Lovejoy, Arthur. (1933). The Great Chain of Being: a Study of the History of an Idea (pgs. 275; proposed, pg. 366). Harvard University Press, 1936.

Further reading
● Lovejoy, Arthur. (1930). The Revolt Against Dualism. Transaction Publishers, 1996.

External links
Arthur Oncken Lovejoy – Wikipedia.

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