The Way of the Wise

A DEFENCE OF PHILOSOPHY. By Ralph Barton Perry, Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1931. Price: $1.00

THE fifty-six pages of Ralph Barton Perry's little book, "A Defence of Philosophy", are very good reading and probably of far greater potential value to the layman than the several hundred that make up Mr. Durant's best-seller on the story of philosophy. Certainly, the essay leaves the reader with a respect for "those qualities of mind that prompt other men to plunge into the deep waters and roam the trackless forests of the great intellectual adventure."

From these remarks it should be gathered that "A Defence of Philosophy" is an admirable introduction to the subject written by one who knows it well. Since philosophy, as Professor Perry points out, "is a deliberate affront upon common sense", it needs some explaining if the common man is to partake of its fruits. Anyone with a retentive memory can speak gliby about Nietzsche's superman, but to receive the benefits of philosophic thought one must first be given some concept of the philosopher's approach to life. That is just what Professor Perry does.

Undergraduates who recall the introductory lecture in "Philosophy. A" have some idea of the contents of the present essay. If the work in the course seems to have left them at odds, "A Defence of Philosophy" may prove a useful epilogue.