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Collected Works of George Grant

Collected Works of George Grant: Volume 2 (1951-1959)

Edited by Arthur Davis
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 576
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  • Book Info
    Collected Works of George Grant
    Book Description:

    A collection of all the important material from the 1950s when philosopher Geroge Grant did his first teaching and writing at Dalhousie University.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7306-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Permissions
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Chronology: George Grant’s Life
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Introduction to Volume 2: 1951–1959
    (pp. xvii-2)

    George Grant spent his first years as a teacher at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. From 1947 to 1960 he built a philosophy curriculum that included regular courses on Ethics, Plato, St Augustine, and Kant. He continued with the ethical, religious, and political questions he had begun to raise at Oxford. With these as the medium he challenged his students to test their mid-twentieth-century Nova Scotian and North American ways of thinking against the intuitions of the older Greek and Christian rational traditions.

    Most of his students came from the Maritimes. In this region religious traditions had perhaps survived...

  7. Philosophy Massey Commission Report
    (pp. 3-21)

    The study of philosophy is the analysis of the traditions of our society and the judgment of those traditions against our varying intuitions of the Perfection of God. It is the contemplation of our own and others’ activity, in the hope that by understanding it better we may make it less imperfect. At the centre of the traditional faith of the West has been the understanding that there are two approaches to reality, the contemplative and the active, and that only in the careful proportioning of these can individuals and societies find health. The contemplative life whether mystical, artistic, or...

  8. Canadian Universities and the Protestant Churches
    (pp. 22-33)

    While the dogma of progress is seldom used now as a backdrop to European history, it is still so used in much of the writing about our Canadian institutions. The moral catastrophes of the last fifty years are somehow assumed to have happened elsewhere, and we to have been isolated from them. So we can continue to think of our history as the story of Horatio Alger, and still write about the ‘development’ or ‘evolution’ of our society.¹

    This is true not only of writing about politics, but also about education. How many speeches has the loyal university man had...

  9. Pursuit of an Illusion: A Commentary on Bertrand Russell
    (pp. 34-48)

    When Bertrand Russell has attempted to formulate the principles upon which the study of mathematics rests or when he has analysed the nature of scientific propositions, he has made certain principles clearer than they were previously. Such activities are part of the philosopher’s job and therefore it is possible to call Russell a philosopher. On the other hand, when Russell turns from discussing man as scientist to man as moral agent or as artist, he foregoes the philosopher’s function. That is, in writing about conduct or art he makes no attempt to discover the principles underlying these activities. He freely...

  10. Two Theological Languages
    (pp. 49-65)

    Clearly we can all agree that philosophy and theology are both faith seeking understanding. The danger of that definition, however, to modern American Protestantism, corrupted by false social democracy and bewildered by modern technology, is that it may rely on faith and forget the duty to seek understanding. Those of us in the Presbyterian tradition may turn away from theology by relying on a few detached, unthought, and perhaps contradictory phrases from the book; those of us from the Methodist tradition may substitute for theology evangelical fervour, and both are liable to place our reliance on a tradition of rhetoric...

  11. Philosophy and Adult Education
    (pp. 66-74)

    On the cover of the November 1952FOOD FOR THOUGHT,these words appeared: ‘What Does Democracy Demand of Education and Philosophy?’ This reminded me of General MacArthur saying how communism threatened God.¹ As the word God means that infinite being which is the source of all finite being, the one thing we cannot do to God is threaten Him. So equally the one thing that cannot be done with philosophy is to demand something of it. To say that it serves something other than itself, for example the Church or democracy or the Parent Teachers Association, is just to say...

  12. Plato and Popper
    (pp. 75-92)

    In 1945 Professor K.R. Popper published a work on political theory calledThe Open Society and Its Enemies.aIt extols the ‘open’ as against the ‘closed’ society and criticizes those thinkers who have supposedly advocated the closed society. The first volume is concerned with criticizing Plato, whom Popper believes to be the chief totalitarian theorist of the ancient world; the second volume with the criticism of Hegel and Marx as the chief totalitarian theorists of modern Europe. This article sets out to refute what Popperbsays about Plato. Space forbids a defence of Hegel, although such a defence would be...

  13. Training for the Ministry
    (pp. 93-94)
    George Grant

    Dear Sir: As a lay member of our Church and as a teacher at a university closely associated with one of our theological colleges, I would like to state my profound disagreement with your editorial which advocates a shortening of the period of training for our ministers. The following are my reasons for that disagreement.

    All members of our Church must agree on the primacy of faith. The duty of ministers is to go out and preach the simple Gospel — the glory of which is that it depends for its speaking and its hearing not on the quickness of...

  14. Turning New Leaves Review of Henry Marshall Tory: Beloved Canadian
    (pp. 95-99)
    Edward Annand Corbett

    Henry Marshall Toryby Dr Corbett takes one right to the core of modern Canadian history. For Tory was not only the founder of three Canadian universities (the University of Alberta, the Khaki University,¹ and Carleton College) but one of the founders and first president of the National Research Council. Tory is the very archetype of the liberal Protestant, democratic tradition in Canada, which put its trust in the spread of education and particularly in the spread of scientific education. And surely it is indubitable that the practical optimistic Protestant mind engrossing itself in what science could do for humanity...

  15. Adult Education in the Expanding Economy
    (pp. 100-109)

    All clear thought arises in and through a concrete situation. In thinking about adult education in Canada in 1954, clearly the situation may be most quickly defined under the phrase ‘the expanding economy.’ That is the given, the inescapable situation within which we work and have our being. ‘The expanding economy’ is, of course, just a quick phrase for a very complicated state. Basically, it is a society which holds that the control of nature by technology is the chief purpose of human existence and so from that belief a community is built where all else is subordinated to that...

  16. Charles Cochrane
    (pp. 110-115)

    Profound thinking is not an activity which we associate with Canada. Our country is certainly not organized for the encouragement of thought. The type most typical of our early days was the pioneer and the explorer; the type of our modern society is the engineer — businessman — politician — who pushes on at economic expansion and does not think much beyond it. It is not surprising, therefore, that where our economic success has been great, our spiritual contribution to human history is almost nil.

    It is therefore a great pleasure to speak about a Canadian who did achieve greatness...

  17. What Is Philosophy?
    (pp. 116-122)

    This evening I want to try to describe what philosophy is. My job is to teach philosophy to youngsters at Dalhousie University. Just what is this subject that we try to teach them, and which is taught at all the universities of the world? Why is it that in all the great civilisations there have always been philosophers and that indeed we often judge the greatness of a society by the greatness of its philosophy?

    The word ‘philosophy’ comes from two Greek words, love and wisdom. Philosophy means the love of wisdom. Now most of us have some knowledge of...

  18. Jean-Paul Sartre
    (pp. 123-136)

    Since the Germans were driven out of France in 1944, one voice has spoken with greater force and clarity in that country than any other — Jean-Paul Sartre. In his novels and his plays and his philosophy, Sartre has put forward a view of human existence which has held the attention of Europeans more deeply than that of any other writer. Before the war Sartre was an unknown school teacher, then suddenly at the end of the war, he emerged as the chief intellectual influence of modern France. And in France, of course, the thinker is listened to with the...

  19. Canada History
    (pp. 137-155)

    In Canada, one sees a small nation of some eighteen million people stretched across the larger part of the North American continent; a nation friendly to the USA, yet a distinct political entity; the oldest and largest of the British dominions, loyal to the British crown, yet self-governing and with a national culture of its own based on two languages, English and French, and on several racial and religious traditions.

    Early Explorations.Though there is good evidence that Norse explorers from Scandinavia touched the Atlantic seaboard and perhaps journeyed inland into the North American continent about the year 1000, the...

  20. The Minds of Men in the Atomic Age
    (pp. 156-165)

    I don’t intend to discuss whether we are going to be blown up or whether the human race is going to be sensible enough to survive. Whether we are going to destroy ourselves by Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles or slowly corrupt the very basis of our animal existence — I do not know. At this conference I’ve noticed so far an assumption that all is well if only we escape these external menaces. General Phillips talked of the horrors of atom war and asked are we going to sacrifice the happy and free life we have now.¹ When there was talk...

  21. The Paradox of Democratic Education
    (pp. 166-181)

    It is a great privilege to be asked to give a lecture in memory of J.W. Ansley. We all know that he was a remarkable school principal, and we also know what a great and subtle art it is to be a successful school principal — successful, that is, not in the eyes of the city of the world but in the light of that more abiding city, the judgment of which alone matters. My father was a school principal and I learned early from him that there is no more honourable or skilled profession, nor any more open to...

  22. The Teaching Profession in an Expanding Economy
    (pp. 182-189)

    When you paid me the great honour of asking me to come to your banquet, I hoped you would not mind me being serious. To talk lightly to a group of people such as this would be silly. For clearly the possibility of the good life in Nova Scotia depends more upon what happens among the teachers and the clergy than upon any other professions. What I want to talk about is the teaching profession in the expanding economy.

    Now first it must be understood that by the teaching profession, I mean all the profession whether in the schools, the...

  23. The Uses of Freedom A Word and Our World
    (pp. 190-203)

    Nearly all English-speaking people use the word ‘freedom’ when they communicate to others about matters of importance. Yet even the most elementary analysis of these uses, whether in practical affairs, in philosophy, or in the new sciences about persons, makes evident both the disparities of meaning among different people and the contradictions within its use by one individual. Indeed a man’s use of this word is a touchstone of what elements in our tradition he deems important. For all elements of our tradition — the secularist and the theist, the liberal and the existentialist, the capitalist and the socialist, etc....

  24. Morals in Nova Scotia
    (pp. 204-220)

    The other day when I was talking about the principles of morality, a young fellow who is going to be a minister came up to me and asked ‘This morality you talk about, you mean by that something to do with sex?’ I think this is very typical of what so many people think is meant by morality — it has to do with sexual conduct and if you are a United Churchman or Baptist it probably also includes whether you drink wine and spirits — or as they are called in the ghastly new language of the prohibitionists, beverage...

  25. Acceptance and Rebellion
    (pp. 221-299)

    The traditional idea of God demands from man the spirit of acceptance. To believe in God is to affirm that all events fall within an ultimate purpose so that the believer, to be consistent, must strive to accept all the events of the world in joy. This must be the ideal of such faith, whatever the details of any particular theological system and whatever degree of difficulty individual believers have in making that act of acceptance or interpreting it. Even those theologians who assert the illusory character of the finite event are not thereby asserting an ultimate pessimism about the...

  26. Philosophy Encyclopedia Canadiana
    (pp. 300-304)

    The teaching of philosophy in English-speaking Canada has no long history and has generally been practised by men from the British Isles. Whatever has been happening in the English and particularly the Scottish universities has been the chief influence in Canadian teaching and writing. The varying problems and systems held by English and Scottish minds at different periods have been those presented to Canadian students as the issues of philosophy. But the Protestant pioneering society that was passing in two generations into the mass society of technology did not generally take the philosophic life with high seriousness. Other more immediate...

  27. The Humanities in Soviet Higher Education
    (pp. 305-309)

    TheUniversity of Toronto Quarterlydevotes the whole of its present number to an account of the ‘The Humanities in Soviet Higher Education.’ The issue is made up of accounts by Soviet academics of the study and teaching of all the great humane subjects in their society. A list of the studies discussed is worth hearing because it shows the broad treatment of the matter: foreign languages; Russian language and literature; history; archaeology; the philosophical sciences; political economy; music; theatrical arts; art and an account of scholarly publishing in all these fields.

    The reasons why this issue of theQuarterly...

  28. Philosophy in the Mass Age
    (pp. 310-407)

    Preface to the First Edition

    1 Philosophy in the Mass Society

    2 The Mythic and Modern Consciousness

    3 Natural Law

    4 History as Progress

    5 Marxism

    6 The Limits of Progress

    7 American Morality

    8 Law, Freedom, and Progress

    Appendix 1

    Dr Grant Answers Questions Raised in Letters from Listeners

    Appendix 2

    Introduction to the 1966 edition

    The following essays were originally spoken as an introduction to moral philosophy for a general radio audience. They must therefore be read in that light. Their introductory character means that they are in no sense a systematic treatise on moral philosophy. This must...

  29. Fyodor Dostoevsky
    (pp. 408-419)
    Sheila Grant

    Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. As a young man he became involved in revolutionary activities against the Tsarist government and was sentenced to be shot. He was awaiting his turn before the firing squad, already blindfolded, when the arrival of his reprieve saved him. The next five years he spent as a convict in a penal settlement in Siberia, and amidst these horrors the New Testament was the only reading material allowed. He wrote many early novels but the first of his masterpieces,Crime and Punishment,appeared in 1866. After that appeared three works of the same...

  30. Christ, What a Planet!
    (pp. 420-424)

    How is one to describe or assess all that went on in this crazy planet in 1959? History is like a fire in which individuals are consumed. Should one single out the experiment in human engineering among the Chinese communes? There, certainly, individuals are being consumed. The communists claim that this will bring liberation from want for a multitude of humans. But what of the ruthless engineering? Should one speak of atomic testing and the growing amount of strontium in the atmosphere? What intricate questions about God and nature and human freedom this brings to the mind. Or again the...

  31. Three Talks and a Review
    (pp. 425-442)

    In discussing the resolution there are two questions which immediately arise. First, what are the basic problems of mankind? Second, what do we mean by the proper application of the methods of the physical and biological sciences? As a fair division of labour Professor Page is going to concentrate on what is meant by the proper application of the methods of the physical and biological sciences;¹ while I am going to speak about what is meant by the phrase ‘the basic problems of mankind.’ Of course some overlapping is inevitable.

    Now the question, what are the basic problems of mankind,...

  32. Lectures at Dalhousie A Selection
    (pp. 443-518)

    1. The Study of Ethics

    2. A Definition of Ethics

    3. Religion and Ethics/Freedom

    4. Excerpt from World-centred Ethics

    5. Excerpt from a Fragment on War

    This lecture makes clear what ‘ethics’ meant to Grant, though it was delivered near the end of the course. We therefore placed it at the beginning of this section. The reference to the Russell article (Dalhousie Review,1952)probablylocates the lecture in 1953.

    I have said things to you myself — not giving sufficient integration — so I thought today I would try to give you as fairly as I am able what I think the study of...

  33. Appendix 1: Comments on Hegel and on Religion and Philosophy Notebooks 1,2, and 4 (1956–7)
    (pp. 519-532)
  34. Appendix 2: Poems
    (pp. 533-535)
  35. Appendix 3: List of Radio and Television Broadcasts by George Grant – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    (pp. 536-543)
  36. Appendix 4: Editorial and Textual Principles and Methods Applied in Volume 2
    (pp. 544-546)
  37. Index
    (pp. 547-564)