Here a distinguished American historian challenges the belief that the eighteenth century was essentially modern in its temper. In crystalline prose CarlBecker demonstrates that the period commonly described as the Age of Reason was, in fact, very far from that; that Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, and Locke were living in a medieval world, and that these philosophers “demolished the Heavenly City of St. Augustine only to rebuild it with more up-to-date materials.” In a new foreword, Johnson Kent Wright (...) looks at the book’s continuing relevance within the context of current discussion about the Enlightenment. “Will remain a classic—a beautifully finished literary product.”—Charles A. Beard, _American Historical Review_ “_The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers _remains_ _one of the most distinctive American contributions to the historical literature on the Enlightenment.... [It] is likely to beguile and provoke readers for a long time to come.”—Johnson Kent Wright, from the foreword. (shrink)
Varieties of Ethical Reflection brings together new cultural and religious perspectives—drawn from non-Western, primarily Asian, philosophical sources—to globalize the contemporary discussion of theoretical and applied ethics.
The twentieth century may be considered the ultimate expression of Western ideals and philosophy: “civilized” man’s attempt to dominate “uncivilized” peoples and nature. The twenty-first century soberingly proclaims the shortsightedness and ultimate unsustainability of this philosophy. This paper shows the limitations of the modern Western worldview, and the practical applicability of ideas to be found in Asian philosophies.
""2.4. Problems of" Principlism" in WASP Bioethics.Carl B. Becker - forthcoming - Bioethics in Asia: The Proceedings of the Unesco Asian Bioethics Conference (Abc'97) and the Who-Assisted Satellite Symposium on Medical Genetics Services, 3-8 Nov, 1997 in Kobe/Fukui, Japan, 3rd Murs Japan International Symposium, 2nd Congress of the Asi.details
A philosophical essay under this title faces severe rhetorical challenges. New accounts of the good life regularly and rapidly turn out to be variations of old ones, subject to a predictable range of decisive objections. Attempts to meet those objections with improved accounts regularly and rapidly lead to a familiar impasse — that while a life of contemplation, or epicurean contentment, or stoic indifference, or religious ecstasy, or creative rebellion, or self-actualization, or many another thing might count as a good (...) life, none of them can plausibly be identified with the good life, or the best life. Given the long history of that impasse, it seems futile to offer yet another candidate for the genus “good life” as if that candidate might be new, or philosophically defensible. And given the weariness, irony, and self-deprecation expected of a philosopher in such an impasse, it is difficult for any substantive proposal on this topic to avoid seeming pretentious. (shrink)
When philosophers speak of the inconclusiveness of arguments for the existence of God, they often do so as if they were talking about a matter of principle—as if it were in principle impossible to prove God's existence, that every proof was in principle inconclusive. Of course, rebutals of the cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments are usually designed to show that these types of arguments are in principle inconclusive. But one supposes that religious experience arguments are not all in such difficulties. (...) That is, one supposes, for example, that an encounter with the deity would provide a proof of his existence which is at least as conclusive as proofs for the existence of an ‘external world’. And thus it would be false to maintain in an unqualified way that ‘Reason cannot prove the existence of God’. The most one would be able to say would be that at present , or in terms of the currently available evidence, no one can prove God's existence. Further, whether or not sufficient evidence has ever been available in the past would be seen as an historical question— a matter of contingencies, not logical possibilities. (shrink)