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"The Society of Man"
A review by Carroll Quigley in The Washington Sunday Star, xxxx 19xx,
of a book.
THE SOCIETY OF MAN,
by Louis J. Halle.
New York: Harper & Row, 1966

 

"The Society of Man"

 

From The Bookshelf

THE SOCIETY OF MAN.
By Louis J. Halle,
Harper & Row. 203 pp. $4.95.

 

 

   As Prof. Halle says, in the Preface to this book, everyone who talks about international relations has a basic philosophy, whether he is aware of it or not.

   Halle's own, which was explicitly formulated in "Men And Nations' his earlier book, "is a simple dualism, based on the elementary distinction between the tangible world and the conceptual world." To this Halle has added a few equally simple corollaries: (1) that the external existential world in which men act is constantly changing, while men allow their internal conceptual world to change only reluctantly and intermittently; and (2) that men act upon their internal conceptual picture and not upon the actual conditions in which events are occurring.

   On this basic outlook, without much philosophic sophistication, but with extensive knowledge, native shrewdness, historical perspective, and sociological awareness, Halle has reared a brief, but revealing book. It is in three parts: (1) an outline of "the philosophy;" (2) an application of these ideas to the history of Marxism; and (3) a brief examination of the working of this same confusion in the history of our political institutions.

   Halle's literary style is personal and informal, and his message is important. But is it not a shame that the deficiencies of contemporary philosophy and of our educational systems make it necessary for a non-philosopher like Hale to point out the need and the value to be derived from such a simple effort to apply our own traditions to the most acute political problems of our day?

   This is the second volume of a series which Prof. Halle is writing on man and politics, especially international politics. Few authors are better qualified for their task. He spent 13 years in the State Department on policy-making levels and has been, since 1956, professor in Geneva. Switzerland, at the Institute Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales.

   But the value of this book does not depend on its author's broad experience, obvious ability, and deep erudition. It rests, instead, an his discovery of a philosophy which seems to him to provide a remarkable key to knowledge and action in international affairs. This philosophy has nothing new about it, since it is little more than a relatively unsophisticated recognition of the nature of epistemology, the very problem which first, set men on the path of analytical thinking in ancient Greece 2400 years ago, and which dominated the whole history of philosophy until our twentieth century.

   By the simple process of rediscovering this ancient problem and having the courage (or naivete) to return to the belief that it is a real problem, Halle has provided himself with an apparently novel, interesting, and helpful tool for analysing international affairs.

   Professor of history at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Carroll Quigley's most recent book is "Tragedy and Hope."

By CARROLL QUIGLEY

 

 

Scan of original review

 

 

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