Early communities and states -- Egypt -- Mesoptamia, Assyria, Babylon -- Iran -- Israel -- India -- China -- The Greeks -- Rome -- Graeco-Roman humanism -- The Kingdom of Heaven and the Church of Christ -- Themes : similarities and differences between cultures -- General conclusion.
Chaldaea and Egypt.--China: duty and detachment.--The Indian annihilation of individuality.--Zarathushtra.--The prophets of Israel.--The heroic adjustment in Greek poetry.--Greek philosophers.--Intermediaries.--Jesus.--Paul.--Augustine.--The arrows are beyond thee.
Saving the City provides a detailed analysis of the attempts of ancient writers and thinkers, from Homer to Cicero, to construct and recommend political ideals of statesmanship and ruling, of the political community and of how it should be founded in justice. Also, Malcolm Schofield debates to what extent the Greeks and Romans deal with the same issues as modern political thinkers.
Machine generated contents note: 1. New, new, new; 2. Loosening the grip of the past; 3. The transformations of Kaineus; 4. Old and new; 5. Nothing new under the sun; 6. The birth of Athena; 7. Inventions of Eris; 8. The newest song; 9. Constructions of novelty; 10. So what's new?
A people divided -- Impact of science -- The physical world and its life forms -- Human beginnings -- Our animal instincts -- An inward look -- Emergence of civilization -- Flaws in civilizations -- Brutal despair in ancient Rome -- Persistent cruelty -- The search for ethics in antiquity -- Ecclesiastical search for ethics in Christianity -- The Gospel's ethical impact -- Ethical impact in multi-invaded Britannia -- Ethical impact in seeking freedom -- Rather humanitarian Britain -- Rather (...) humanitarian United States -- The goal of the Gospel -- Concluding summation. (shrink)
The contribution of the Ancient Greeks to modern western culture is incalculable. In the worlds of art, architecture, myth, literature, and philosophy, the world we live in would be unrecognizably different without the formative influence of Ancient Greek models. -/- Ancient Greek civilization was defined by the city - in Greek, the polis, from which we derive 'politics'. It is above all this feature of Greek civilization that has formed its most enduring legacy, spawning such key terms (...) as aristocracy, oligarchy, tyranny and - last but by no means least - democracy. -/- This stimulating Very Short Introduction to Ancient Greece takes the polis as its starting point. Paul Cartledge uses the history of eleven major Greek cities to illuminate the most important and informative themes in Ancient Greek history, from the first documented use of the Greek language around 1400 BCE, through the glories of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, to the foundation of the Byzantine empire in around CE 330. Covering everything from politics, trade, and travel to slavery, gender, religion, and philosophy, it provides the ideal concise introduction to the history and culture of this remarkable civilization that helped give birth to the world as we know it. (shrink)
The contribution of the Ancient Greeks to modern western culture is incalculable. In the worlds of art, architecture, myth, literature, and philosophy, the world we live in would be unrecognizably different without the formative influence of Ancient Greek models. -/- Ancient Greek civilization was defined by the city - in Greek, the polis, from which we derive 'politics'. It is above all this feature of Greek civilization that has formed its most enduring legacy, spawning such key terms (...) as aristocracy, oligarchy, tyranny and - last but by no means least - democracy. -/- This highly stimulating introduction to Ancient Greece takes the polis as its starting point. Paul Cartledge uses the history of eleven major Greek cities to illuminate the most important and informative themes in Ancient Greek history, from the first documented use of the Greek language around 1400 BCE, through the glories of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, to the foundation of the Byzantine empire in around CE 330. Covering everything from politics, trade, and travel to slavery, gender, religion, and philosophy, it provides the ideal concise introduction to the history and culture of this remarkable civilization that helped give birth to the world as we know it. (shrink)
This volume contains eighteen essays by established and younger historians that examine non-democratic alternative political systems and ideologies--oligarchies, monarchies, mixed constitutions--along with diverse forms of communal and regional associations such as ethnoi, amphiktyonies, and confederacies. The papers, which span the length and breadth of the Hellenic world highlight the immense political flexibility and diversity of ancient Greek civilization.
It is often said that Greek civilization underwent a transition from myth to reason. But what does this assertion mean? Is it true? Were the Greeks special in having evolved our sort of reason, or is that a mirage? In this book, some of the world's leading experts on ancient Greek myth, religion, philosophy, and history reconsider these fundamental issues.
This engaging and informative text will hold the attention of students and scholars as they take a journey through time to understand the role that history and philosophy have played in shaping the course of sport and physical education in Western and selected non-Western civilizations. Using appropriate theoretical and interpretive frameworks, students will investigate topics such as the historical relationship between mind and body; what philosophers and intellectuals have said about the body as a source of knowledge; educational philosophy and (...) the value of physical education and/or sport; philosophical positions that have impacted the historical development of sport and physical education; the history of women in sport and physical education; the role and scope of sport and physical education in Ancient Greece and Rome; the Ancient Olympic Games; the relationship between sport and religion in ancient and modern times; the theoretical and professional development of physical education; the rise of sport in modern America; the history and politics of the modern Olympic Games; and the contributions of men, women, and social movements to the development of sport and physical education from ancient times to the modern era. (shrink)
Why do gardens matter so much and mean so much to people? That is the intriguing question to which David Cooper seeks an answer in this book. Given the enthusiasm for gardens in human civilization ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, it is surprising that the question has been so long neglected by modern philosophy. Now at last there is a philosophy of gardens. David Cooper identifies garden appreciation as a special human phenomenon distinct from both from the appreciation (...) of art and the appreciation of nature. He discusses the contribution of gardening and other garden-related pursuits to "the good life." And he distinguishes the many kinds of meanings that gardens may have, from their representation of nature to their spiritual significance. A Philosophy of Gardens will open up this subject to students and scholars of aesthetics, ethics, and cultural and environmental studies, and to anyone with a reflective interest in things horticultural. (shrink)
Tad Brennan explains how to live the Stoic life--and why we might want to. Stoicism has been one of the main currents of thought in Western civilization for two thousand years: Brennan offers a fascinating guide through the ethical ideas of the original Stoic philosophers, and shows how valuable these ideas remain today, both intellectually and in practice. He writes in a lively informal style which will bring Stoicism to life for readers who are new to ancient philosophy. The (...) Stoic Life will also be of great interest to philosophers and classicists seeking a full understanding of the intellectual legacy of the Stoics. (shrink)
Eighteenth-century art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) shared with Hegel a profound admiration for the art and culture of ancient Greece. Both viewed ancient Greece as, in some sense, an ideal to which the modern world might aspire—a pinnacle of spiritual perfection and originality that contemporary civilization might, through an understanding of ancient Greek culture, one day equal or surpass. This rather competitive form of nostalgia suggests a paradoxical demand to produce an original and higher state of (...) culture through the imitation of another. In Hegel’s writings, this paradox goes beyond the relation of the modern world to the ancient world—he exposes the same paradox in ancient Greece’s relation to its own predecessors. The solution to the latter paradox—the possibility of the realization of ancient Greece as an original and self-contained civilization despite its cultural debts—would also, then, be the key to repeating the success of the ancient world in the modern, the overcoming of modern Europe’s cultural debt to the ancient world. The present essay examines how this paradox is revealed and resolved in the writings of Winckelmann and Hegel, and shows how this strategy of culture production—as imputed to the ancient world and aspired to in the modern—simultaneously attempts to justify and conceal a self-deceptive practice of cultural and political conquest. My focus will be on the two writers’ interpretations of ancient Greek art since, as I will suggest, their solution to the paradox of culture production turns out to be modeled upon the role of ancient Greek art in the invention and actualization of a cultural ideal of beauty, unity, and self-containment. (shrink)
In this essay, I examine the nature of Chinese logic and Chinese sciences in the history of China. I conclude that Chinese logic is essentially analogical, and that the Chinese did not have theoretical sciences. I then connect these together and explain why the Chinese failed to develop theoretical sciences, even though they enjoyed an advanced civilization and great scientific and technological innovations. This is because a deductive system of logic is necessary for the development of theoretical sciences, and analogical (...) logic cannot provide the deductive connections between a theory and empirical observations required by a theoretical science. This also offers a more satisfactory answer to the long-standing Needham Problem. (shrink)
This essay is concerned with the central issue of philosophical anthropology: the relation between nature and culture. Although Rousseau was the first thinker to introduce this topic within the modern discourse of philosophy and the cultural sciences, it has its origin in Diogenes the Cynic, who was a disciple of Socrates. In my essay I (1) historically introduce a few aspects of philosophical anthropology, (2) deal with the nature–culture exchange, as introduced in Kant, then I (3) relate this topic to (...) the Ancient Cynic Diogenes. Surprisingly, although we usually identify Critical Theory and Freudian psychoanalysis as theories that have shown that cultural progress should not be comprehended as a development from nature to culture, and that instead it should be conceived as a development from culture against (external as well as internal) nature, I show that Cynicism can be conceived as a vivid example within the history of our culture that reveals a double sense of repression and alienation, which is part of human civilization and mankind. (shrink)
Tracing the course of thought, action, and expression in the golden age of Islamic civilization, L. E. Goodman's Islamic Humanism paints a vivid panorama that departs strikingly from the all too familiar image of Islamic dogma, authoritarianism, and militancy. Among the poets and philosophers, scientists and historians, ethicists and mystics of Islam, Goodman finds a warm and vital humanism, committed to the pursuit of knowledge and to the cosmopolitan values of generosity, tolerance, and understanding. Drawing on a wide range of (...) writings, from love poetry to pietism, to satire, to history and metaphysics, and on to hunting, music and the dance, clothing, politics, and the marketplace, Goodman discloses the rich texture of classical Islamic civilization-its distinctive problematics and the space it left for the talents and creativity of the individual. His philosophic openness and easy familiarity place Islamic humanism securely in its larger context, revealing clearly what is of universa and abiding vitality and interest. In place of stereotypes, suspicions, and unease, Goodman sets out concrete and detailed expositions and explorations of Islamic thought and experience as seen through the eyes of the participants themselves. His engaged but sympathetic readings penetrate beneath the surface of the ancient texts to the humanistic values embraced by some of the greatest thinkers of Islam. As a result, Islamic Humanism does much more than remind us how much we owe to the intellectual achievements of Islamic civilization. The work is a significant contribution to Western understanding of Islam and to Islamic self-understanding of the profoundly humanistic dimensions of the Islamic tradition. (shrink)
Written by a team of distinguished scholars, this is an authoritative and comprehensive history of Western philosophy from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Illustrated with over 150 color and black-and-white pictures, chosen to illuminate and complement the text, this lively and readable work is an ideal introduction to philosophy for anyone interested in the history of ideas. From Plato's Republic and St. Augustine's Confessions through Marx's Capital and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, the extraordinary philosophical dialogue between great Western (...) minds has flourished unabated through the ages. Dazzling in its genius and breadth, the long line of European and American intellectual discourse tells a remarkable story--a quest for truth and wisdom that continues to shape our most basic ideas about human nature and the world around us. That quest is brilliantly brought to life in The Oxford History of Western Philosophy. With spectacular illustrations--including sixteen pages of full-color plates--this splendidly written volume takes the reader on a magnificient chronological tour through the revolutions of thought that have forged the Western philosophical tradition from ancient times to the present. Throughout, the six contributors--an internationally renowned team of philosophers including Roger Scruton, Anthony Quinton, and Anthony Kenny--bring the astonishingly diverse, wide-ranging landscape of intellectual history into sharp focus, emphasizing how notions seen today as part of an inevitable march of ideas were in their own time often considered radical, if not revolutionary. Thus we are treated, for example, to lively accounts of how Plato's "theory of forms" and Aristotle's pioneering exercises in logic broke with the past to irrevocably alter the course of Western thought. The authors also reveal the relationships between landmark thinkers, and the ways they drew on their intellectual heritage. They show, for instance, how St. Augustine and Aquinas, though advancing the cause of Christian doctrine, picked up where their pagan Greek forebears had left off. We witness how, during the Renaissance, the profound empiricist ideas underlying Descarte's famous utterance--"I think, therefore I exist"--lived in a tense but complementary relationship with Locke's rationalist theories. Moving into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the book explores how Hume greatly influenced Kant's conception of the "transcendental aesthetic," and how Hegel drew upon the lesser known (but groundbreaking) work of Fichte and Schelling. The authors bring the story up to our own time, vividly recounting the existential trend from Nietzsche ("God is dead") to Sartre, along with other increasingly fractious schools of thought. Along the way, we not only encounter the vast intellectual riches of the Western mind, but we also meet the personalities behind the great thoughts, from the saintly Hume (described by Adam Smith as having "come as near to perfection as anybody could") to the ill-mannered outcast Fichte. And the hundreds of maps and striking illustrations (including full-color reproductions of art ranging from medieval manuscripts to the works of Raphael, Ingres, and Magritte) form an integral part of the book, revealing the interweaving of art and ideas through the ages, as artists have striven to give visual immediacy to philosophical concepts. The Oxford History of Western Philosophy is the most authoritative single-volume account ever written for the general reader. Engagingly written and astonishingly far-reaching, it provides the consummate introduction to the intellectual bedrock upon which Western civilization is built. (shrink)
Chapters 17 and 18 of the TTP constitute a textual unit in which Spinoza submits the case of the ancient Hebrew state to close examination. This is not the work of a historian, at least not in any sense that we, twenty-first century readers, would recognize as such. Many of Spinoza’s claims in these chapters are highly speculative, and seem to be poorly backed by historical evidence. Other claims are broad-brush, ahistorical generalizations: for example, in a marginal note, Spinoza (...) refers to his Jewish contemporaries as if they were identical with the ancient Hebrews. Projections from Spinoza’s own experience of his Jewish and Dutch contemporaries are quite common, and the Erastian lesson that Spinoza attempts to draw from his “history” of the ancient Hebrew state is all too conspicuous. Even Spinoza’s philosophical arguments in these two chapters are not uniformly convincing, as I will attempt to show. Yet in spite of all these faults, the two chapters are a masterpiece of their own kind: a case study of the psychological foundations of politics and religion. The work that comes closest in my mind is Freud’s 1939 Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion. The two works are similar not only in terms of their chronological subject matter – the Hebrews of Moses’s time – but also in their attempt to reconstruct the communal psyche of the Hebrews in order to demonstrate their respective social theories about the foundation of civilization. Needless to say, there are numerous differences between the two works, not the least of which are their distinct aims and the very different political contexts in which they were produced. We will return to this comparison with Freud’s Moses and Monotheism toward the end of the essay, but let me first stage the background for our discussion. Chapter 16 of the TTP begins a new section of the book which primarily deals with the relation between religion and the state. In this chapter Spinoza presents an outline of his political theory and his understanding of key notions such as right, power, the state of nature, the social contract, sovereignty, democracy, and justice. The title of chapter 17 announces its aim and focus: “showing that no one can transfer everything to the Supreme Power, and that this is not necessary; on the Hebrew Republic, as it was during the life of Moses, and after his death, before they elected Kings, and on its excellence; and finally, on the causes why the divine Republic [Respublica divina] could perish, and could hardly survive without rebellions” (III/201). The far less ambitious title of eighteenth chapter states that in it “certain Political doctrines are inferred from the Republic and history of the Hebrews” (III/221). Essentially, the two chapters present a surprising, ironic, and penetrating reading of the story of the divine Hebrew Republic, a reading which highlights both how much and how little was achieved by the use of the fantastic political device of attributing divine sanctification to the state and its sovereign. (shrink)
Yoga has come to be an icon of Indian culture and civilization, and it is widely regarded as being timeless and unchanging. Based on extensive ethnographic research and an analysis of both ancient and modern texts, Yoga in Modern India challenges this popular view by examining the history of yoga, focusing on its emergence in modern India and its dramatically changing form and significance in the twentieth century. Joseph Alter argues that yoga's transformation into a popular activity idolized for (...) its health value is based on modern ideas about science and medicine. Alter centers his analysis on an interpretation of the seminal work of Swami Kuvalayananda, one of the chief architects of the Yoga Renaissance in the early twentieth century. From this point of orientation he explores current interpretations of yoga and considers how practitioners of yogic medicine and fitness combine the ideas of biology, physiology, and anatomy with those of metaphysics, transcendence, and magical power. The first serious ethnographic history of modern yoga in India, this fluently written book is must reading not only for students and scholars but also practitioners who seek a deeper understanding of how yoga developed over time into the exceedingly popular phenomenon it is today. (shrink)
‘Experience is the best teacher’ goes the cliché without ever making clear just want is meant by that slippery first term. ‘Experience is never remembered unaltered’ goes another. Is experience something to be undergone, like a journey, or is it perhaps the relational immediacy between organism and environment? What do we reference when we use the term experience? -/- Martin Jay, renowned intellectual historian from UC Berkeley, here examines these questions in a grand survey of the term’s use throughout the (...) intellectual history of what was once called Western Civilization. Beginning with the ancient Greeks (of course), he reviews the surprising number of variations employed and assumed by philosophers, theologians critical theorists, and right up to the poststructuralists. Jay knows his territory and reading this survey of it — for anyone with any sort of background in the history of philosophy — is often as pleasant as hearing a familiar symphony well-played in a unique way. (shrink)
Introduction -- The univocity of being -- The modern predicament -- The problem of univocity in ancient and medieval philosophy -- From Heidegger to Aristotle -- Medieval philosophy -- Scholasticism -- Heidegger, Scotus, and univocity -- The question of being -- Analogy, the medieval experience of life -- Univocity and phenomenology -- Destruction and tradition -- Metaphysics -- Phenomenological philosophy and aletheia -- Descartes, scholasticism, and time -- The presupposition of the tradition -- Scholasticism, analogy, and the interpretation of (...) Heidegger -- The phenomena of beingness and time -- Beyond being -- The analogical interpretation of Heidegger's text -- Univocity and phenomenological philosophy -- Being and some other key terms -- The phenomenology of being and the question of Dasein -- Transcendental philosophy -- Univocity from 1916 to 1927 -- Cartesian connections and the medieval ontology -- Dasein, univocity, and the question of analogy -- Univocity and fundamental ontology -- Husserl and Heidegger -- Phenomenology, being, and univocity -- Univocity and analogy -- Univocity and Heidegger's later thought -- Mysticism -- The present age -- The later Heidegger -- A-letheia, ereignis, and epochal immanence -- A history of being -- The tradition -- The history of metaphysics -- The medieval and the modern -- A history of the modern : subjectivity -- Univocity and the problem of history -- History and civilization -- Art and history -- Fractured history -- Language and poetry -- The fate of univocity -- The re-enchanted forest -- Being mortal. (shrink)
Confucius is conventionally regarded as the founder of secular humanism and as a philosopher concerned about humans and culture. I would add to this that Confucius should also be read as an environmental philosopher. One reason is the pedagogical dimension in Confucianism, which points to Confucius as an environmental educator ? not the least of which since much of environmental education relies on common sense and an enlightened collective self-interest. Another reason is an aspect I call ?ecological intelligence?, which is (...) a key feature of ancient Confucianism and a signpost for the civil evolution that the mitigation of climate change demands from global civilization today. (shrink)
Some writers have so confounded government with society, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government (...) even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one ... (shrink)
Although equal in power to other facets of the rich cultural ferment of modern Russia that have profoundly influenced Western civilization—such as painting, literature, drama, and politics—the authentic legacy of twentieth-century Russian philosophy has until recently been eclipsed by Soviet ideological dominance. Of the important philosophers drawing upon the characteristically Russian synthesis of Ancient Neoplatonism, German Idealism, and Byzantine spirituality, Sergei Bulgakov is outstanding, and his work has important implications for our contemporary thinking about the relationship between humanity and (...) nature in an age of environmental crisis. Overcoming the objectivist stance toward nature consolidated by Descartes and ensconced by Kant, Bulgakov anticipates not only many existential and phenomenological thinkers in the West—especially Heidegger—but also current ecological sensibilities, by showing the ontological status of humanity and nature as profoundly interconnected, especially through his understanding of nature as “household.” Beyond this, he elucidates a normative, “thoesophianic” character of nature corresponding to Plato’s “world soul,” the Renaissance natura naturans, and Heidegger’s “divinely beautiful nature” which is best revealed not by science and technology, but by the aesthetic and contemplative energies of a humanity whose essential interconnection with nature is shown most profoundly by means of this mode of revealing itself. (shrink)
One of the most profound thinkers of modern history, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) was a central figure of the European Enlightenment. He was also its most formidable critic, condemning the political, economic, theological, and sexual trappings of civilization along lines that would excite the enthusiasm of romantic individualists and radical revolutionaries alike. In this study of Rousseau's life and works Robert Wokler shows how his philosophy of history, his theories of music and politics, his fiction, educational and religious writings, and even (...) his botany, were all inspired by visionary ideals of mankind's self-realization in a condition of unfettered freedom. He explains how, in regressing to classical republicanism, ancient mythology, direct communion with God, and solitude, Rousseau anticipated some post-modernist rejections of the Enlightenment as well. (shrink)
The Renaissance has long been recognized as a brilliant moment in the development of Western civilization. Little attention has been devoted, however, to the distinct contribution of philosophy to Renaissance culture. This volume introduces the reader to the philosophy written, read, taught, and debated during the period traditionally credited with the "revival of learning." Beginning with original sources still largely inaccessible to most readers, and drawing on a wide range of secondary studies, the author examines the relation of Renaissance philosophy (...) to humanism and the universities, the impact of rediscovered ancient sources, the recovery of Plato and the Neoplatonists, and the evolving ascendancy of Aristotle. Renaissance Philosophy also explores the original contributions of major figures including Bruni, Valla, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Pomponazzi, Machiavelli, More, Vitoria, Montaigne, Bruno, and Camapanella. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: PART ONE: TOWARD A SOCIOLOGY OF HISTORY -- SECTION I: THE SOCIOLOGICAL -- FOUNDATIONS OF HISTORY -- I. The Sources of Culture Change -- 2. Sociology as a Science -- 3. Sociology and the Theory of Progress -- 4. Civilization and Morals -- 5. Progress and Decay in Ancient and Modern Civilization -- 6. Art and Society -- 7. Vitality or Standardization in Culture -- 8. Cultural Polarity and Religious Schism -- 9. Prevision in Religion (...) -- Io. T. S. Eliot on the Meaning of Culture -- SECTION II: THE MOVEMENT OF WORLD HISTORY -- I. Religion and the Life of Civilization -- 2. The Warrior Peoples and the Decline -- of the Archaic Civilization -- 3. The Origins of Classical Civilization -- 4. The Patriarchal Family in History -- 5. Stages in Mankind's Religious Experience -- SECTION III: URBANISM AND THE ORGANIC -- NATURE OF CULTURE -- I. The Evolution of the Modern City -- 2. Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind -- 3. The World Crisis and the English Tradition -- 4. Bolshevism and the Bourgeoisie -- PART TWO: CONCEPTIONS OF WORLD HISTORY -- SECTION IV: CHRISTIANITY AND THE -- MEANING OF HISTORY -- I. The Christian View of History -- 2. History and the Christian Revelation -- 3. Christianity and Contradiction in History -- 4. The Kingdom of God and History -- SECTION II: THE VISION OF THE HISTORIAN -- I. The Problem of Metahistory -- 2. St. Augustine and the City of God -- 3. Edward Gibbon and the Fall of Rome -- 4. Karl Marx and the Dialectic of History -- 5. H. G. Wells and the Outline of History -- 6. Oswald Spengler and the Life of Civilizations -- 7. Arnold Toynbee and the Study of History -- 8. Europe in Eclipse -- Afterword by John J. Mulloy: Continuity and Development -- in Christopher Dawson's Thought -- Sources -- Notes -- Index. (shrink)
Jamake Highwater is a master storyteller and one of our most visionary writers, hailed as "an eloquent bard, whose words are fire and glory" (Studs Terkel) and "a writer of exceptional vision and power" (Ana"is Nin). Author of more than thirty volumes of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, Highwater--considered by many to be the intellectual heir of Joseph Campbell--has long been intrigued by how our mythological legacies have served as a foundation of modern civilization. Now, in The Mythology of Transgression, he (...) uses his remarkable narrative powers to offer a personal and extraordinarily far-ranging examination of how people who stand outside of society--by dint of their sexual orientation, physical appearance, ideas, artistic inclinations, or ethnic heritage--often achieve lasting, even profound influence upon the culture at large. Drawing from a stunningly rich variety of sources ranging from the arts and literature to biology, physics, psychology, and anthropology, Highwater looks at his own outsider status--as a gay man, an artist, and an orphaned Native American--in an attempt to explore how mythologies from ancient times to the present have shaped the ways we think about social "abnormality" and alienation. Throughout, he points to a paradox at the center of Western values--the competing notions that the outsider is at once sinful and wise, that in everyday life the transgressor is ostracized, while in our most durable folklore and religious legends, heroes must break the rules to achieve greatness. Focusing in particular on homosexuality as a modern metaphor of transgression, Highwater brilliantly mixes personal anecdotes with wide ranging research, leading us on a tour through the history of social conformity and rejection, citing examples that span from Judeo-Christian-Islamic doctrines of good and evil, to the Navajo Nation's ambivalence toward the nature of sexuality, to Carson McCullers's treatment of physical deformity in the novella Member of the Wedding, to Descartes's theories of dualism. He also pays special attention to the debates currently raging in science regarding the biology of homosexuality and provides an engaging discussion of why we are motivated to seek a genetic basis of sexual orientation in the first place. Jamake Highwater has long been celebrated as a writer uniquely suited to give voice to the social outsider. Often provocative, always fascinating, The Mythology of Transgression is a tour de force of eloquent scholarship, a book that will prompt discussion and debate on the subject for years to come. (shrink)
From Plato's Republic and St. Augustine's Confessions through Marx's Capital and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, the extraordinary philosophical dialogue between great Western minds has flourished unabated through the ages. Dazzling in its genius and breadth, the long line of European and American intellectual discourse tells a remarkable story--a quest for truth and wisdom that continues to shape our most basic ideas about human nature and the world around us. That quest is brilliantly brought to life in The Oxford History of (...) Western Philosophy. Featuring hundreds of spectacular illustrations--including sixteen pages of full-color plates--this splendidly written volume takes the reader on a magnificient chronological tour through the revolutions of thought that have forged the Western philosophical tradition from ancient times to the present. Throughout, the six contributors--an internationally renowned team of philosophers including Roger Scruton, Anthony Quinton, and Anthony Kenny--bring the astonishingly diverse, wide-ranging landscape of intellectual history into sharp focus, emphasizing how notions seen today as part of an inevitable march of ideas were in their own time often considered radical, if not revolutionary. Thus we are treated, for example, to lively accounts of how Plato's "theory of forms" and Aristotle's pioneering exercises in logic broke with the past to irrevocably alter the course of Western thought. The authors also reveal the relationships between landmark thinkers, and the ways they drew on their intellectual heritage. They show, for instance, how St. Augustine and Aquinas, though advancing the cause of Christian doctrine, picked up where their pagan Greek forebears had left off. We witness how, during the Renaissance, the profound empiricist ideas underlying Descarte's famous utterance--"I think, therefore I exist"--lived in a tense but complementary relationship with Locke's rationalist theories. Moving into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the book explores how Hume greatly influenced Kant's conception of the "transcendental aesthetic," and how Hegel drew upon the lesser known (but groundbreaking) work of Fichte and Schelling. The authors bring the story up to our own time, vividly recounting the existential trend from Nietzsche ("God is dead") to Sartre, along with other increasingly fractious schools of thought. Along the way, we not only encounter the vast intellectual riches of the Western mind, but we also meet the personalities behind the great thoughts, from the saintly Hume (described by Adam Smith as having "come as near to perfection as anybody could") to the ill-mannered outcast Fichte. And the hundreds of maps and striking illustrations (including full-color reproductions of art ranging from medieval manuscripts to the works of Raphael, Ingres, and Magritte) form an integral part of the book, revealing the interweaving of art and ideas through the ages, as artists have striven to give visual immediacy to philosophical concepts. The Oxford History of Western Philosophy is the most authoritative single-volume account ever written for the general reader. Engagingly written and astonishingly far-reaching, it provides the consummate introduction to the intellectual bedrock upon which Western civilization is built. (shrink)
First published in 1900, Bushido is the work of a Japanese scholar and educator--and a Quaker--writing in English for a Western audience to explain the virtues most admired by the Japanese: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty, and self-control. The author's approach is twofold. First, he delves into Japan's ancient traditions of Buddhism, Shintoism, and Confucianism, and the moral guidelines handed down over hundreds of years by Japan's samurai and sages. Then, he compares and contrasts Japanese tradition with (...) Western thought and civilization going back to the Romans, the Greeks, and Biblical times. (shrink)
Richard Tarnas’s The Passion of the Western Mind —acclaimed by leading voices in philosophy, religion, psychology, and history—sets the stage for this major work, thirty years in the making, that dramatically reframes our understanding of the universe in the light of extraordinary new evidence. Cosmos and Psyche is the first book by a widely respected scholar to demonstrate the existence of a consistent correspondence between planetary movements and the unfolding drama of human history. A vast and impressive body of evidence (...) illuminates patterns of meaning and precise correlations between the universe and the world of human endeavor. With meticulous detail, Richard Tarnas takes us on a journey that begins with the ancient Greeks and culminates in our own era and its transformative potential, putting into perspective these chaotic, tumultuous times—from the sixties to September 11, 2001—and pointing the way towards the future. In terms of planetary cycles, our present moment in history is most comparable to the period five hundred years ago—that era of “extraordinary turbulence and creativity,” the High Renaissance. Not since Copernicus conceived the heliocentric theory has the human community faced such a profound realignment of the way we think. Readers of every persuasion will be impressed by the vast canvas here, the wealth of research and analysis, and the profound conclusions that may be drawn—conclusions that reunite religion and science, and restore a transcendent dimension to the universe. (shrink)
What is the proper relation between the scientific worldview and other parts or aspects of human knowledge and experience? Can any science aim at "complete coverage" of the world, and if it does, will it undermine--in principle or by tendency--other attempts to describe or understand the world? Should morality, theology and other areas resist or be protected from scientific treatment? Questions of this sort have been of pressing philosophical concern since antiquity. The Proper Ambition of Science presents ten particular case (...) studies written by prominent philosophers, looking at how this problem has been approached from the ancient world right up to the present day. Contributors: Bob Sharples, M.W.F. Stone, G.A.J. Rogers, J.R. Milton, Aaron Ridley, Christopher Hookway, Dermot Moran, Thomas E. Uebel, David Papineau, and Nancy Cartwright. (shrink)
Geoffrey Lloyd engages in a wide-ranging exploration of what we can learn from the study of ancient civilizations that is relevant to fundamental problems, both intellectual and moral, that we still face today. These include, in philosophy of science, the question of the incommensurability of paradigms, the debate between realism and relativism or constructivism, and between correspondence and coherence conceptions of truth. How far is it possible to arrive at an understanding of alien systems of belief? Is it possible (...) to talk meaningfully of 'science' and of its various constituent disciplines, 'astronomy' 'geography' 'anatomy' and so on, in the ancient world? Are logic and its laws universal? Is there one ontology - a single world - to which all attempts at understanding must be considered to be directed? When we encounter apparently very different views of reality, how far can that be put down to a difference in conceptions of what needs explaining, or of what counts as an explanation, or to different preferred modes of reasoning or styles of inquiry? Do the notions of truth and belief represent reliable cross-cultural universals? In another area, what can ancient history teach us about today's social and political problems? Are the discourses of human nature and of human rights universally applicable? What political institutions do we need to help secure equity and justice within nation states and between them? Lloyd sets out to answer all these questions, and to argue that the study of the science and culture of ancient Greece and China provided a precious resource in order to advance a wealth of modern debates. (shrink)
The Hermeneutics of the Subject is the third volume in the collection of Michel Foucault's lectures at the College de France, one of the world's most prestigious institutions. Faculty at the college give public lectures, in which they can present works-in-progress on any subject of their choosing. Foucault's were more speculative and free-ranging than the arguments of such groundbreaking works as The History of Sexuality or Madness and Civilization . In the lectures comprising this volume, Foucault focuses upon the ways (...) the "self" and consequently "self-study" have been conceived since the days of antiquity, starting with Socrates. Definitions and conceptions of "self-study" in Greek and Roman literature, Foucault argues, remain in force today, and underlie modern interpretations of the self. Engaging, engrossing, and provocative, The Hermeneutics of the Subject reveals Foucault at the height of his powers. (shrink)
The Muqaddimah , often translated as "Introduction" or "Prolegomenon," is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work laid down the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. The first complete English translation, by the eminent Islamicist and interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal, was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received (...) immediate acclaim in America and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal's masterful translation was first published in 1969. This new edition of the abridged version, with the addition of a key section of Rosenthal's own introduction to the three-volume edition, and with a new introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence, will reintroduce this seminal work to twenty-first-century students and scholars of Islam and of medieval and ancient history. (shrink)