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The Faces of Reason and Its Critics

  • Elizabeth Trott (a1) and Leslie Armour (a2)


The Faces of Reason, though it was mostly written in peaceful surroundings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, arose in part out of a rather tumultuous debate about Canadian culture, its nature, its background, and its prospects. It also arose partly out of a consideration of philosophy in Canada and its failure, already evident in the 1960s, to deal with questions which seemed obvious to anyone with a grasp of Canadian intellectual history, but which never seemed to occur to the young philosophers from the United States and Britain who manned the growing number of philosophy departments in English Canada.



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1 Armour, Leslie and Trott, Elizabeth, The Faces of Reason: An Essay on Philosophy and Culture in English Canada, 1850-1950 (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1981).

2 Armour, Leslie, The Idea of Canada and the Crisis of Community (Ottawa: Steel Rail, 1981). This book deals with political and social philosophy in Quebec as well as in English Canada.

3 Berger, Carl, The Writing of Canadian History (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1976), and McKillop, A. B., A Disciplined Intelligence (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1979).

4 Grant, George, Lament for a Nation (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1965; reprinted with new introduction, 1970).

5 Goudge, Thomas A., “A Century of Philosophy in English Speaking Canada”, The Dalhousie Review 47/4 (1967-1968), 537549.

6 Sparshott, Francis, “National Philosophy”, Dialogue 16/1 (1977), 321. Professor Mar-tyn Estall suggests that the reference to Macmurray has to do with the “promotion” of Macmurray at Queen's at the time of the address, which became the Dialogue article, and that Sparshott may never have heard of John Clark Murray. Sparshott speaks, however, of what he was “told” about philosophy in Canada when he arrived in the country. John Irving, the pioneer in the Canadian philosophy field, was his colleague at Victoria College. The dark hypothesis that Sparshott would speak of Canadian philosophy without having heard of Murray (whose name turns up very often in Irving's essays) is one we would think it impolite to entertain. Anyone, having heard of both, can confuse the Murrays and the Macmurrays. We do suggest, though, that the text is evidence that he was not much engaged in the study of Canadian philosophy at the time of the address, and we find this curious, given that the address was devoted to the proposition that there was no distinctive Canadian philosophy which deserved to be taken seriously.

7 Braybrooke, David, “The Philosophical Scene in Canada”, Canadian Forum (01 1974), 636.

8 Braybrooke, David, “In Search of Canadian Philosophy”, Queen's Quarterly (Autumn 1983), 688692.

9 Goudge, Thomas A., “Complex Disguises: Reason in Canadian Philosophy”, Dialogue 22/2 (1983), 339346.

10 Ibid., 343.

11 Armour, Leslie, The Rational & the Real (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1962), v.

12 Symons, Thomas, “The Symons Reports”, in To Know Ourselves: The Report of the Commission on Canadian Studies (Ottawa: Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, 1976), and Some Questions of Balance: Human Resources, Higher Education and Canadian Studies (Ottawa: Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, 1984).

13 Goudge, , “Complex Disguises”, 341342.

14 Armour, Leslie, Logic and Reality (Assen: Royal Van Gorcum; New York: Humanities Press, 1972).

15 Goudge, , “Complex Disguises”, 342.

16 Ibid., 345.

17 Ibid., 340.

18 Stevenson, J. T., “Reasonable Canadians”, Canadian Forum (07 1982), 3132.

19 Goudge, , “Complex Disguises”, 341.

20 Braybrooke, , “Search”, 688692.

21 Stevenson, , “Reasonable Canadians”, 32.

22 Braybrooke, , “Search”, 688692.

23 Kennedy, Mark, “Narrow Minds”, Books in Canada (04 1983), 2930.

24 Goudge, , “Complex Disguises”, 346. (Watson's Gifford Lectures should be dated 1912, not 1895!)

The Faces of Reason and Its Critics

  • Elizabeth Trott (a1) and Leslie Armour (a2)


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