Books: Philosophy as Pleasantry

PHILOSOPHER'S QUEST (275 pp.)— Irwln Edman—Viking ($3).

The absence of philosophical thinking in a book by a professional philosopher might seem a damning defect. In Philosopher's Quest, as in its predecessor (the best-selling Philosopher's Holiday), it is meant to be a source of charm. Professor Edman's gift for talking about philosophy has made him one of the prides of Columbia's faculty and a crowd-drawing lecturer. The same gift, at work in his good-humored essays, will endear him to readers who do not wish to put up their hands and ask searching questions.

This is not philosophy; it is a pleasant defense of urbanity...

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