While this volume is of course highly informative about each of its four subjects, it also of interest as regards Blanshard's own thought. He was ninety-two years old when he wrote this delightful and highly readable work, and his examinations of these four men distill a lifetime of his own reflections on the role of reason in the ordering of human affairs. A final chapter -- "The enemy: Prejudice" -- summarizes his mature views on the nature and importance of the rational temper.
The entry under Blanshard's name in the _Oxford Companion to Philosophy_ closes on an uncharacteristically personal note: "Blanshard's personal demeanour," writes the entry's author Prof. Peter H. Hare, "was one of extraordinary graciousness." That graciousness, evident throughout his work, is especially so here, where Blanshard deals less directly with philosophical questions and more directly with reasonableness as instantiated in actual human lives; his generosity and sympathy (much neglected rational virtues!) are almost palpable. If the rest of us could absorb something of his rational temper and spirit, our lives and the life of the world would undoubtedly be transformed for the better. And there is no better place to begin than this volume by a great man whose religion was the service of reason.
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