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)
From Odysseus' seduction by the song of the Sirens to Oscar Moore's 1991 novel A Matter of Life and Sex , whose protagonist courts death through sex and dies of AIDS, the frustrated relationship between death and desire has fixated the Western imagination. Philosophers have grappled with it and poets have told of its beauty and pain. In this strikingly original work, cultural critic Jonathan Dollimore once again demonstrates his remarkable ability to take on the complex and reveal its (...) relevance with eloquence and grace. Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture is a rich testament to our ubiquitous preoccupation with the tangled web of death and desire. In these pages we find nuanced analysis that blends Plato with Shelley, Hölderlin with Foucault. Dollimore, a gifted thinker, is not content to summarize these texts from afar; instead, he weaves a thread through each to tell the magnificent story of the making of the modern individual. An immensely important book, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture is a challenge to the way we understand desire, sexuality, and the very notion of identity. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Introduction: Civil Society and Human Flourishing -- City States and Republics, c.400 BCE-400 -- Heavenly Mandates, 400-1500 -- The Emergence of the Sovereign State, 1500-1700 -- From Subject to Citizen, 1700-1815 -- Ideology and Equality, 1815-1914 -- Breakdown and Uncertainty, 1914-2010 -- Conclusion -- Endnotes -- Index.
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)
Globalization is often described as the spread of western culture to other parts of the world. How accurate is the depiction of "cultural" flow? In Counterworks , ten anthropologists examine the ways in which global processes have affected particular localities where they have carried out research. They challenge the validity of anthropological concepts of culture in the light of the pervasive connections which exist between local and global factors everywhere. Rather than assuming that the world is culturally diverse, this (...) book proposes that culture is itself a representation of the similarities and differences recognized between forms of social life. The authors address issues of globalization in terms of diverse histories and traditions of knowledge, which may include the construction of difference as cultural. In its attention to specific local situations, such as Bali, Cuba, Bolivia, Greece, Kenya and the Maoris in New Zealand, Counterworks argues that the apparent opposition between strong westernizing, global forces and weak concept of culture, which supposes cultures to be integrated and possessed of essential properties, need rethinking in a contemporary world where a marked sense of culture has become a wide-spread property of people's social knowledge. This book will have wide appeal to anthropologists, to students of comparative studies in history, religion and language, and to anyone interested in the phenomenon of postmodernism. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Introduction -- Setting the Scene -- Plato and Aristotle -- From the Roman Empire to the Empire of Islam -- The Western Middle Ages -- The Renaissance -- New Methods of Science -- Bringing Mathematics and Natural Philosophy Together -- Practice and Theory in Renaissance Medicine: William Harvey and the Circulation of the Blood -- The Spirit of System: Rene; Descartes and the Mechanical Philosophy -- The Royal Society and Experimental Philosophy -- Experiment, Mathematics, (...) and Magic: Isaac Newton -- Newton's Legacy: Forces and Fluids (electricity and heat) -- The Chemical Revolution: From Newton to John Dalton, via Priestley and Lavoisier -- Natural Theology and Natural Order: Newtonian Optimism and the History of Science -- The Making of Geology: From James Hutton to Charles Lyell via Catastrophism -- The History of Plants and Animals: Successive Emergence or Evolution? -- Religion and Progress in Victorian Britain: Robert Chambers versus Hugh Miller -- Bringing it All Together?: Charles Darwin's Evolution -- Darwinian Aftermaths: Religion; Social Science; Biology -- Beyond Newton: Energy and Thermodynamics -- Newton deposed: Einstein and Relativity Theory -- Mathematics instead of a World Picture: From Atomism to Quantum Theory -- Afterword. (shrink)
Onians' remarkable work of scholarship sought to deal with the very roots of European civilization and thought: the fundamental beliefs about life, mind, body, soul, and human destiny that are embodied in the myths and legends of the ancients. The volume is remains a fascinating collection of ideas and explanations of cultures as diverse as the Greeks and the Norse, the Celts and the Jews, and the Chinese and the Romans.
Introduction -- The relevance of antiquity -- Wretched Aristotle -- Tom Wolfe's Epictetus -- Aristotle in North America -- Ora et labora : Benedict 's legacy -- Ancients and moderns on the subject of property -- The ontology of the artifact -- The role of religion in society -- The failure of positivism and the enduring legacy of Comte -- Judicial decision within the rule of law -- Modern interpretations of religion : the legacy of Hume and Kant -- Santayana (...) on the role of religion in society -- Indestructible Islam -- Science and the shaping of modernity : the reciprocal influence of science and culture -- The use and abuse of analogy and metaphor in scientific -- Contemporary moral issues -- Morality with and without God -- Responsibility : recognition and limits -- National identity -- The fragility of democracy -- The socialist mind -- The natural basis of the theological virtue of hope. (shrink)
Preliminary expectoration -- Alas a dirty third: the logic of death -- Thomas Bernhard's rant -- Following Sebald -- Tickling the corpse: Tom Stoppard's memento mori -- Don Rickles's rant -- Too late, my brothers -- Re: Barth.
In this book about the philosophy of education, Loomis and Rodriguez carefully examine the first principles of theoretic and practical reason necessary for human development and flourishing. Collaborating with the genius of C.S. Lewis, and particularly his brilliant work The Abolition of Man , the authors offer a multi-facetted, interdisciplinary investigation of perennial questions that impact human development and freedom. What is the human being? What are essential criteria for human flourishing? What is the best institutional framework for education? What (...) are the non-naturalistic, normative constraints to the ordering and functioning of a social institution like education? Are there particular institutional environments that threaten moral agency and human freedom? Are there information patterns and practices that substitute one institutional vision of reality for another? Is there a model of education that reflects truer structures of reality? Is there a particular vision embodied in the logic of institutional growth? (shrink)
This important book critically addresses the `becoming West' of Europe and investigates the `becoming Modern' of the world. Drawing on the work of Derrida, Foucault, Levinas, Lyotard, Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur, the book proposes that the question of postmodernity is inseparable from that of postcoloniality. The argument fully conveys the sense that modernity is in crisis. It maps out a new genealogy of the birth of the modern and suggests a new way of grounding the idea of an emancipation of being. (...) Postcolonialism has emerged as a central topic in contemporary social science and cultural studies. This book informs readers as to the central strands of the debate and introduces a host of new ideas which will be a rich fund for other writers and researchers. The book will appeal to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in the social sciences and in cultural and media studies. (shrink)
pt. 1. lecture 1. Meet the beast ; lecture 2. Medieval formulations ; lecture 3. The Reformation, the apocalypse revived ; lecture 4. Prophecy and science I, Francis Bacon ; lecture 5. John Milton and freedom of the press ; lecture 6. New Heaven, new earth, modern democracy ; lecture 7. Andrew Marvell, poet of the Republic ; lecture 9. The universe as matter, the universe as spirit -- pt. 2. lecture 10. The hope of Israel, the origins of toleration (...) ; lecture 11. Anti-Antichrist, the limits of prophecy ; lecture 12. Prophecy and Science II, prophecy and progress ; lecture 13. The apocalypse and the American Revolution ; lecture 14. Antichrist and the post-apocalyptic age, cold war ideology ; lecture 15. Antichrist and the post-apocalyptic age, Martin Luther King, Jr. ; lecture 16. Antichrist and the post-apocalyptic age, belief against politics. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill's best-known work is On Liberty (1859). In it he declared that Western society was in danger of coming to a standstill. This was an extraordinarily pessimistic claim in view of Britain's global dominance at the time and one that has been insufficiently investigated in the secondary literature. The wanting model was that of China, a once advanced civilization that had apparently ossified. To understand how Mill came to this conclusion requires one to investigate his notion of (...) the stages from barbarism to civilization, and also his belief in imperialism as part of the civilizing process. Here India plays a central role, as both Mill and his father worked for the East India Company. This study, then, investigates the relationship between Mill's liberalism and his justification of imperialism. It takes us into the Utilitarianism of his family background, and such other influences as Romanticism, Scottish political economy and such key French thinkers as Saint-Simon, Guizot, Comte and Tocqueville. Mill, then, provides the focus of a debate on the origins, meaning, and consequences of Western civilization. It encompasses discourses on colonialism and orientalism, on Enlightenment optimism and conservative despair, on the need for leadership and the advance of democracy; in short, on the blessings, curses and dangers of modernization from approximately the time of the American and French revolutions to that of the so-called mid-Victorian calm in which On Liberty was written. Furthermore, current political issues concerning the West and Islamic countries have heightened interest in just the kind of question that this book discusses: that of how the West relates to, and assesses, the rest of the world. (shrink)
The West has long had an ambivalent attitude toward the philosophical traditions of the East. Voltaire claimed that the East is the civilization "to which the West owes everything", yet C.S. Peirce was contemptuous of the "monstrous mysticism of the East". And despite the current trend toward globalizations, there is still a reluctance to take seriously the intellectual inheritance of South and East Asia. Oriental Enlightenment challenges this Eurocentric prejudice. J. J. Clarke examines the role played by the ideas of (...) Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism in the intellectual life of the West and how these ideas, far more than exotic distractions, or even instruments of colonial domination, have been the means towards serious self-questioning and self-renewal, used to dispute and even to undermine Western orthodoxies. (shrink)
This classic study by a distinguished scholar surveys the major philosophical trends and thinkers of a vital period in Western civilization. Based on Maurice DeWulf's celebrated Princeton University lectures, it offers an accessible view of medieval history, covering scholastic, ecclesiastic, classicist, and secular thought of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. From Anselm and Abelard to Thomas Aquinas and William of Occam, it chronicles the influence of the era's great philosophers on their contemporaries as well as on subsequent generations.
Fifty years after his death, the thought of the French scientist and Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) continues to inspire new ways of understanding humanity’s future. Trained as a paleontologist and philosopher, Teilhard was an innovative synthesizer of science and religion, developing an idea of evolution as an unfolding of material and mental worlds into an integrated, holistic universe at what he called the Omega Point. His books, such as the bestselling The Phenomenon of Man, have influenced generations of (...) ecologists, environmentalists, planners, and others concerned with the fate of the earth.This book brings together original essays by leading experts who reflect on Teilhard’s legacy for today’s globalized world. They explore such topics as: the idea of God and the person; quantum reality and Teilhard’s vision; spiritual resources for the future; politics and economics; and a charter for co-evolution. (shrink)
In a spellbinding narrative that skillfully weaves together cutting-edge research among today's foremost scientists, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku--author of the bestselling book Hyperspace --presents a bold, exhilarating adventure into the science of tomorrow. In Visions, Dr. Kaku examines in vivid detail how the three scientific revolutions that profoundly reshaped the twentieth century--the quantum, biogenetic, and computer revolutions--will transform the way we live in the twenty-first century. The fundamental elements of matter and life--the particles of the atom and the nucleus of (...) the cell--have now been decoded, closing one of the great chapters of scientific history. But this is just the preface to an even more far-reaching scientific revolution, as we make the transition from being passive observers of the mysteries of nature to becoming masters of nature, able to manipulate matter, life, and intelligence to remold the world around us. In the first part of Visions, Dr. Kaku discusses the cyber future, when millions of microprocessors are scattered throughout our environment; when the iron principle that has ruled the computer industry, Moore's Law, finally collapses, forcing scientists to adopt startling new designs like DNA computers and quantum computers; and when artificial intelligence systems finally arrive. In the next section, Dr. Kaku shows how the decoding of DNA will allow us to conquer devastating genetic diseases, defeat many cancers at the molecular level, synthesize new medicines using virtual reality, grow new organs, conquer aging and reshape our genetic inheritance. Finally, he explores how quantum physicists will perfect new ways to harness the cosmic energy of the universe--from molecular machines to supermagnets that may energize a second industrial revolution, to powerful fusion engines that one day may take us to the stars. What makes Michio Kaku's vision of the future of science so compelling and authoritative is that it is based on the groundbreaking research already underway at leading laboratories around the world. Weaving interviews with over 150 scientists--several of them Nobel laureates--into a rich, inspiring narrative, Dr. Kaku reveals the growing consensus among key scientists about how science will likely evolve through the early, middle, and late years of the twenty-first century. An intimate, thrilling tour through the next century of science, Visions is a riveting, essential map to how scientists will reshape our future. (shrink)
The shape of theological humanism -- Ideas and challenges -- The humanist imagination -- Thinking of God -- The logic of Christian humanism -- On the integrity of life -- The task of theological humanism -- Our endangered garden -- A school of conscience -- Masks of mind -- Religion and spiritual integrity -- Living theological humanism.
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)
What better introduction to the world of philosophy than through the lives of its most prominent citizens. In The Philosophers, we are introduced to twenty-eight of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization, ranging from Aristotle and Plato to Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Sartre. An illustrious team of scholars takes us on a concise and illuminating tour of some of the most brilliant minds and enduring ideas in history. Here is Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, Plato's cave of shadows, Schopenhauer's vision of reality (...) as blind, striving Will, Hegel's idea of the World Spirit, Bentham's principle of the Greatest Happiness, Mill's contributions to our understanding of liberty, William James's theory of the stream of consciousness, Husserl's phenomenology, and much more. Readers will find thoughtful discussions of everything from Kant's categorical imperative, to the Christian philosophies of Augustine, Aquinas, and Kierkegaard, to the materialism of Hobbes or Marx, to the modern--and quite different--philosophical systems of Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Each article is illustrated with a portrait of the philosopher, the contributors provide lists for further reading, and the volume includes a chronological table that gives valuable historical context. Here then is an authoritative and engaging guide to the ideas of the most notable philosophers, ranging from antiquity to the present day. The Philosophers shows how these great thinkers wrestled with the central problems of the human condition--with important questions of free will, morality, and the limits of logic and reason--as it illuminates their legacy for our time. (shrink)
The strangeness of modern physics has sparked several popular books--such as The Tao of Physics--that explore its affinity with Eastern mysticism. But the founders of quantum mechanics were educated in the classical traditions of Western civilization and Western philosophy. In Nature Loves to Hide, physicist Shimon Malin takes readers on a fascinating tour of quantum theory--one that turns to Western philosophical thought to clarify this strange yet inescapable explanation of reality. Malin translates quantum mechanics into plain English, (...) explaining its origins and workings against the backdrop of the famous debate between Niels Bohr and the skeptical Albert Einstein. Then he moves on to build a philosophical framework that can account for the quantum nature of reality. He shows, for instance, how Platonic and Neoplatonic thought resonates with quantum theory. He draws out the linkage between the concepts of Neoplatonism and the more recent process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. The universe, Whitehead wrote, is an organic whole, composed not of lifeless objects, but "elementary experiences." Beginning with Whitehead's insight, Malin shows how this concept of "throbs of experience" expresses quantum reality, with its subatomic uncertainties, its constituents that are waves and also particles, its emphasis on acts of measurement. Once any educated person could explain the universe as a vast Newtonian web of cause and effect, but since quantum theory, reality again appears to be richer and more mysterious than we had thought. Writing with broad humanistic insight and deep knowledge of science, and using delightful conversations with fictional astronauts Peter and Julie to explain more difficult concepts, Shimon Malin offers a profound new understanding of the nature of reality--one that shows a deep continuity with aspects of our Western philosophical tradition going back 2500 years, and that feels more deeply satisfying, and truer, than the clockwork universe of Newton. (shrink)
Big History - an integral conception of the past since the Big Bang until today - is a novel subject of cross-disciplinary interest. The concept was construed in the 1980-1990s simultaneously in different countries, after relevant premises had matured in the sciences and humanities. Various versions and traditions of Big History are considered in the article. Particularly, most of the Western authors emphasize the idea of equilibrium, and thus reduce cosmic, biological, and social evolution to the mass-energy processes; the (...) informational parameter involving all mental and spiritual aspects are seen as epiphenomena of material structures' complication that do not play their own role in evolution. In Russian tradition ascending to A. Bogdanov, E. Bauer, I. Prigogine, and E. Jantsch, sustainable non-equilibrium patterns are used. This implies attention to the pan-material sources and evolution of mental capacities and spiritual culture (as basic anti-entropy instruments) and humans' growing intervention in the material processes on Earth and outside it. The non-equilibrium approach in the context of modern control and self-organization theories, alters the portrayal of the past, and still more dramatically, estimation of the civilization's potential perspectives. (shrink)
In what way to understand of the idea of freedom is one of the major factors determining world outlook of a society. There are too many concepts of freedom. That kind of differences appears in individual, group and national level. But the major differences appear in perspectives of civilization understanding, in eastern and western world outlook. In eastern approach the idea of freedom is mostly individualistic, idealistic, spiritual one. In comparison with the eastern understanding, in the western thinking (...) realistic and pragmatic concept of freedom has always been prevailed. It stands on difference of philosophical understanding of the world. In the eastern philosophical thought the idea of freedom mostly connected with mental perfection, higher moral-spiritual values, and the understanding of Truth. However, in the western philosophy freedom has been searched in human researches; in realization of his individual ability in scientific, cultural, political, social, economical spheres of life. Seeking freedom both in internal and external world are two extremes of one phenomenon – human freedom. Each of these extremes has some shortages. In a time of dialogue of civilizations it would be very beneficial for ideas to research in a lightof essence of a life of the human being. Mutual understanding of those who carry different ideas and approaches would be essential step for peace and harmony in the world. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to explore Bennabi’s contribution to social theory, his views and the approach he developed in dealing with issues concerning human society and civilization. I also try to show his efforts to build a huge theory that would apply to every human society, and to encircle all of civilization. Because Bennabi was raised in circumstances that appeared to confirm the military, scientific, economic and political superiority of the west. He tried to analyse and define the causes (...) ofmuslim failure. As a response to western colonialism. Bennabi supported the idea of providing the Muslims with means of self-defense and self-justification, instead of merely transforming the immediate social conditions of the people. Besides, Bennabi was excited by the historical experience of Japan, which had been brought from the medieval to the modern age in only fifty years. Despite Muslims and Japanese similar had attempted to learn from Western civilization, the Japanese alone had refused to borrow the destructive ideas of the west and remained faithful to their culture and history. (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)
According to Popper, democracy, and the one of the western type at that, is the best form of the state system which makes open society possible. At the same time, democratic traditions and institutions have been historically developing not only in the West but also in the East. A number of crucial principles of Buddhistcivilization forming throughout the millennium appear to be quite corresponding to the model of open society. The principles of universal humanism and compassion as the staple (...) of the world; the principle of universal responsibility for forming social institutes and organizations aimed to solve problems common to all people; the principle of tolerance and common ethical direction of all world religions can be attributed to such principles. The humanistic ideal of Buddhism is an individual satisfied with life in society and living in harmony with nature. Buddhism encourages self-restriction and social solidarity, justice and equality, pure thoughts and deeds. Buddhist civilization lies “in between” since in most cases it acts a close-to-perfect mediator among other cultures and civilizations, various ethnic groups and peoples. (shrink)