Philosophy, I know, is philosophia perennis. A “dated” philosophy, therefore, would appear almost to amount to a contradiction in terms. In this sense the “challenge” implied by the title of this paper seems out of place. A challenge to philosophers—well, perhaps. But a challenge to philosophers in the atomic age (or, for that matter, in any specific age)—no!
In general such an objection is well taken. But we are, of course, never confronted with a situation “in general,” but always with a very specific—and to-day, moreover, with a unique—situation. It is a situation which has changed radically even since the close of official hostilities at the so-called end of World War II. True enough, the history of the two world-wars had already brought home to us the fact that, with the accelerating development of applied science and technology, wars were rapidly approaching a tremendous scale of destructive power. Thus it became difficult to imagine any possibilities of still more powerful implements of devastation.