MAN AND THE STATE, by Jacques Maritain (Hollis Sr Carter, 21s.).
THE MIND OF KIERKEGAARD. by James Collins (Seeker & Warburg, 18s.).
41.COMETIMES I sits and thinks, "and sometimes I just sits," said the shepherd when asked what he did with his time on the lonely hillside. So the wise and philosophic old man confessed that in thinking there was some effort of which he was pleased to be relieved when he just sat.
Few today just sit and think, not because they have not the necessary apparatus or plenty of things to think about, but because, beside 'busy activity, about no matter what, thinking seems a waste of time and effort.
Both these hooks indicate how utterly wrong this is. That they both come from America is not without its significance either, for though one is from the pen of a happy exile from France and the other from a native American, they both indicate the very generous degree to which the industrial colossus is prepared to support the leisure and life of those who are prepared to do the thinking.
Jacques Maritain for the best part of half a century now has been what T. S. Eliot called him, "the most powerful force in contemporary philosophy." Time has not dimmed his brilliance nor age his topicality.
For all readers
N4JAN AM) THE STATE is in videed a most important book for all students of history, political theory and law, and is indispensable for the Christian student, as well as invaluable for the general reader. And it has this great advantage over some recent valuable books from the pen' of M. Maritain that it is a wholly English edition. The editor is no less an expert on law and Thomism than Mr. Richard O'Sullivan. Q.C.
The book has already appeared in emerica and some readers may be acquainted with it in that edition. they will miss much. however, if they fail to read and study this sdition. The style in many instances has been brought into line with rnodern English usage, and the editor's notes indicate relevant works which have appeared in England since the first publication of Man and the State.
Moreover. at the back of the minds of lawyers and philosophers brought up in the tradition of Roman Civil Law is the notion of the Prince whose wish has the force of law. In the great tradition of British Common Law. however, the King is held to be "under God and the Law." This difference makes the editor's notes and explanations all the more necessary and enlightening.
Rights of man THOUGH there are multiple refer' ences to other works of Maritain, this is a complete and rounded treatise on the subject. From a valuable definition of terms distinguishing society and community, body politic and State and nation, Maritain proceeds to a consideration of the "Concept of Sovereignty." Next the "Problem of Means" is considered, and the "Rights of Man"; on to the "Democratic Charter" and the problem of "Church and State"; and he ends a magnificently lucid exposition with the consideration of the topical "Problem of World Government."
Here in Britain we are moving, or have moved. to a State where the Sovereign (Parliament) can make any kind of law at will and is no longer "under (Sod and under the Law."
If the man-in-the-street is to te, saved from the omnipotent at omnicompetent State, many mon. men of present good will must be armed with the knowledge and skill and philosophy which can save them.
Kierkegaard THE author of The Mind of Kierkegaard was born in the United States 37 years ago, was educated at the Catholic University of America, and was a Research Fellow in Philosophy at Harvard. He has since taught at the University of St. Louis. where he is now Associate Professor of Philosophy. So his philosophic training and his philosophic tenets are firmly ThomIstic and Scholastic.
His interest is in the Existentialists, on whom he has published numerous articles, and two years ago a substantial hook named simply enough The Existentialists.
It is not surprising that he should turn Ms attention to the great Danish religious genius, whose work, so long neglected, is now so embarrassingly popular. The number of people who can talk glibly about the "Kierkegaardian leap" increases out of all proportion to the number of those who have read or are reading any of the works of Kierkegaard himself.
However. one has to admit that this is a very valuable introduction to Kierkegaard. It sets itself definite limits. named in the title, The Mind of Kierkegaard, and examines the subject fully and helpfully within those limits. shedding a vast deal of incidental light on the problems not properly within the terms of ref erenc e-his asethetic and his re! igion. First against the sombre and shifting background of Kant and Hegel, then in terms of the philosophy of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, James Collinw sets out to make clear the corruscating mind of the Danish genius to whom the modern existentialists owe so much yet whose own philosophy was so much more sane, human and bearable.
A really enjoyable book to read, and that surely is high praise for a book of this kind.
Disfigurement THE MARRED FACE, by Marguerite Fedden (Bnrleigh Press, Bristol, 7s. 6d.).
THIS is a pleasant little story in 1 a Catholic setting which deals with the problems set by adoption and the psychology of those who suffer facial disligurement. The author is well known in the West Country and should win a wider public. Her style is simple and sincere.