Theme for Reason
James Ward Smith


Philosophers have often bluntly said, and more often tacitly assumed that careful and reasonable men will confine themselves to two very rigid ways of talking. Vile must either show that what we say is a theorem deducible from assumed axioms and postulates, or we must show that what we say is made probable by evidence. This book is at heart an attack upon the idea that rationality requires any such straitjacket, and it repudiates the dichotomy between "analytic" philosophy and philosophy “in the grand tradition.” Rationality is here conceived as a subtle and complex temper of deciding, most needed precisely where what we have to say cannot be stuffed into the two narrow pigeonholes in question.

First published in 1957.