Arthur Oncken Lovejoy

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lovejoy, Arthur Oncken


Born Oct. 10, 1873, in Berlin; died Dec. 30, 1962, in Baltimore. American idealist philosopher. Exponent of critical realism. Professor at Washington University in St. Louis (1901–08), the University of Missouri (1908–10), and at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (1910–38). President of the American Philosophical Association (1916–17). Founder and editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas (1940).

Lovejoy criticized subjective idealism, the New Realism, the pragmatism of J. Dewey, and behaviorism. In his view, philosophy is inconceivable without postulating the independent existence of the external world. Lovejoy represented the cognitive process in the form of an “epistemological triangle,” including the perceiving subject (percipient), the object taken on faith (the physical world), and “sense data” which mediate the cognitive process and are identified by Lovejoy with perception. Sense data conventionally present the properties of external reality, and knowledge of these properties makes it possible for the subject to orient himself in the world. Thus, Lovejoy develops a peculiar variation of the idealist theory of symbols. Lovejoy upheld the theory of emergent evolution.


The Revolt Against Dualism. London, 1930.
The Great Chain of Being. Cambridge, Mass., 1936.
Essays in the History of Ideas. Baltimore, 1948.
The Thirteen Pragmatisms and Other Essays. Baltimore, 1963.


Bogomolov, A. Anglo-amerikanskaia burzhuaznaia filosofila epokhi imperializma. Moscow, 1964. Chap. 8, sec. 1.
Lukanov, D. M. Gnoseologiia amerikanskogo “realizma.” Moscow, 1968. Chap. 3, sec. 1–2.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Eventually, we open out onto Arthur Lovejoy's Great Chain of Being (1936/2009), everything seen and unseen, but by this point we probably exceed most powers of imagination.
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Readers are introduced to distinct, freestanding chapters, as opposed to a unified narrative as in Arthur Lovejoy's magisterial The Great Chain of Being in which a single theme is the focus throughout, or the more recent, superb The Mind of God and the Works of Man, in which Edward Craig traces the tension between two philosophical projects.