ALEXANDER, SAMUEL (1859–1938), British philosopher. His family originated in Alsace and he was born in Australia. From 1882 to 1893 he taught at Oxford as a fellow of Lincoln College, being the first Jew appointed to a college fellowship in an English university. From 1894 to 1924 he was a professor of philosophy in Manchester. In 1930 he was made a member of the Order of Merit, the highest honor in British intellectual life. Alexander also participated in Anglo-Jewish communal life and was a member of the academic council of the Hebrew University. Alexander was the principal exponent of metaphysical realism in England. In his view, metaphysics is a descriptive science, which elucidates the most universal levels of reality. There are various levels in the unfolding of reality, each of which is rooted in the one preceding it and emerges from it. The most important of these emergent levels which have thus far manifested themselves are those of matter, the physical-chemical life, and mind. However, the creative potential of the cosmic order has not ceased – the next level to evolve will be that of "deity." The relationship of "deity" to mind will   be of the same order as that of mind to matter and of matter to space-time. The impending advent of "deity" in the process of emergent evolution is evidenced by the existence of religious consciousness. Deity is the goal of the ever-advancing craving – perhaps asymptotic – for it. His doctrines have much in common with those held by Alexander's friends and contemporaries, A.N. Whitehead and Lloyd Morgan. In his later life, Alexander turned to the study of aesthetics in which he found much substantiation for his views on the cosmic order. The most original and characteristic portion of his work in metaphysics is the recognition of the reality of time, change, process, and the concept of "point-instants" as ultimate units of reality. The "pragmatic deduction" of the categories (i.e., categories of reality, not of thought) is found in the second part of his book Space, Time and Deity (2 vols., 1920). His most lasting contribution to epistemology is his elaborate distinction between "contemplation" of an experience and the "enjoyment" of it: the objective awareness of an "-ed" and the subjective "non-accusative" enjoying self-awareness of an "-ing." Many modern philosophers not otherwise in sympathy with Alexander's realistic metaphysics owe to him this celebrated distinction. His other major writings are Moral Order and Progress (1889); Locke (1908); The Foundation of Realism (1914); Spinoza and Time (1921); Beauty and Other Forms of Value (1933); Philosophical and Literary Pieces (edited 1939). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Bosanquet, The Meeting of Extremes in Contemporary Philosophy (1924), index; P. Devaux, Le systéme d'Alexander (1929); R. Metz, Hundred Years of British Philosophy (1938), index; M.R. Konvits, On the Nature of Value: The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander (1946). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Laird (ed.), "Memoir," in: Philosophical and Literary Pieces (1939); J. Passmore, A Hundred Years of Philosophy (1978), index; M.A. Weinstein, Unity and Variety in the Philosophy of Samuel Alexander (1984); The Collected Works of Samuel Alexander (2000), a 1,988 page collection of his writings; ODNB online. (Leon Roth)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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