Paradoxes of Freedom: The Romantic Mystique of a Transcendence
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Clarendon Press (1996)
Paradoxes of Freedom is a study of the historical and philosophical conception of liberty. Centering his argumemt upon the Romantic exaltation of freedom that followed the psychic explosion of the French Revolution, Thomas McFarland identifies freedom as one of the three chief transcendencies, along with love and religion, by which humanity orientates itself. Departing from contemplation of the significance of the revolutionary motto `live free or die', he examines the apotheosis of freedom along with its vicissitudes, and indicates, by an examination ranging from Shakespeare and Luther to the writings of Nietzsche and Wagner, both the reasons for the supreme valuation of freedom and the nature of the hindrances, in theory and in fact, that enmesh the actual realization of freedom. the book concludes with a sombre assessment of the future of freedom as an orientating transcendence.
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