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Southern Illinois University Press, 1966 - Natural law - 256 pages

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Society and Its Classes
Mans Native Rights

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About the author (1966)

Born in New York City, the son of a laborer (Samuel), Weiss was educated at the City College of New York and Harvard University, where he prepared his doctoral dissertation in the late 1920s under the supervision of Alfred North Whitehead. Paul Weiss has taught at Bryn Mawr College, Yale University, and the Catholic University of America. Founding editor of the Review of Metaphysics and founding first president of the Metaphysical Society of America, Weiss has been the leading advocate of speculative philosophy in the English-speaking world since World War II. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1938 and the Townshend Harris Medal in 1964. His work may be divided into three stages. During the first stage, Weiss labored as a logician whose earliest publications were devoted to the nature of systems as logical wholes. During this period, he coedited with Charles Hartshorne The Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (1931--58). As he matured, however, he became increasingly interested in metaphysical and ethical questions, as manifest in his books Reality (1938), Nature and Man (1947), and Man's Freedom (1950). The concern with ethical questions caused him to revise radically his early metaphysics. This led to the second stage of his development, capped with the publication of Modes of Being (1958). In his modal philosophy Weiss presented and justified dialectically four modes of being:actuality, ideality, existence, and God. Thereafter he explored the concrete manifestations and interplay of these modes in history, art, education, sport, and so forth. As Weiss progressed in these investigations, he entered the third stage of his development---the postmodal phase in which he revised his four-mode metaphysics by acknowledging additional principles. His books Beyond All Appearances (1974), First Considerations (1977), and Creative Ventures (1992) are landmarks, in this final stage. Weiss now acknowledges seven ultimate principles. These include the two modes of being, actuality and existence, and their five finalities or conditions: substance, being, voluminousness, ideality, and God. His recently discovered seventh principle is the dunamis, a cosmic dynamic creativity. During Weiss's latest period, he has further advanced his investigation into the realities and norms for persons and the social order. Weiss's multivolume Philosophy in Process, a remarkable document, in which the philosopher reveals how he thinks about the topics and themes as he writes the books on them, shows the intellectual wrestlings of an important thinker at work.

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