Autumn 1960 • Vol. XXII No. 4 NonfictionOctober 1, 1960 |

Philosophy and Human Conduct

(This essay is a radically abbreviated version of a contribution presented at the Third East-West Philosophers Conference at Honolulu, Hawaii, during the summer of 1959. The theme of the Conference was "East-West Philosophy in Practical Perspective" and the sessions opened with a discussion of my paper.* Some of the sponsors of the Conference felt that the paper was not so much a contribution to the theme as a torpedoing of its basic assumptions. It would be more accurate and just to say that it challenged certain unexamined and naive beliefs which assumed that since social practice depends upon an underlying philosophy, agreement on social practices, where they conflict, can best be reached by establishing a consensus of agreement on underlying philosophy. The beliefs expressed both in the antecedent and consequent clauses of the assumption seem to me to be false. This is not incompatible with recognizing that philosophical ideas sometimes play an important role in history. I h

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