Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Cohen died in 1947 with five of the numerous books he had planned published. Since that time others have appeared. If he did not live to finish his life's work, he accomplished more than is given to most scholars who teach and participate in the numerous public activities that marked his career. Cohen was not a hopeful man and he would not be attracted by the thought, he once said in conversation, of living life over again--particularly, he added after a pause, if he had to teach mathematics to college students. He was disturbed above everything else by the decline of faith in the sense of rationality or logical connection of nature. He was certainly the chief critical philosopher the United States has known. No other mind in the history of American thought has devoted itself with such acuteness and clarity to the exposition of the necessary assumptions which lie behind the branches of inquiry. Nevertheless the positive goal was always steadily before his gaze: To restore philosophia to her proper place as against the prevailing moods of scepticism and philomathia.