Far from being pessimistic or nihilistic, as modern uses of the term "cynic" suggest, the ancient Cynics were astonishingly optimistic regarding human nature. They believed that if one simplified one's life—giving up all unnecessary possessions, desires, and ideas—and lived in the moment as much as possible, one could regain one's natural goodness and happiness. It was a life exemplified most famously by the eccentric Diogenes, nicknamed "the Dog," and his followers, called dog-philosophers, _kunikoi, _or Cynics. Rebellious, self-willed, and (...) ornery but also witty and imaginative, these dog-philosophers are some of the most colorful personalities from antiquity. This engaging introduction to Cynicism considers both the fragmentary ancient evidence on the Cynics and the historical interpretations that have shaped the philosophy over the course of eight centuries—from Diogenes himself to Nietzsche and beyond. Approaching Cynicism from a variety of thematic perspectives as well—their critique of convention, praise of natural simplicity, advocacy of self-sufficiency, defiance of Fortune, and freedom—WilliamDesmond offers a fascinating survey of a school of thought that has had a tremendous influence throughout history and is of continuing interest today. _Copub: Acumen Publishing Limited_. (shrink)
This article explores and critically assesses the metaxological account of a philosophy of God professed by WilliamDesmond. Postmodern reflection on the philosophy of God has a tendency to focus on the 'signs' of God and urges for a passive acceptance of these signs. Desmond argues, contrary to this tendency, for a mindful togetherness of philosophical activity and religious passivity. After exploring Desmond's thought on this topic, I move to assess his 'metaxological yes' to God as (...) the agapeic origin from an existential point of view. Initially it seems that his 'yes' is somewhat strained as it burdens itself with an excessive task of having faith into something that is beyond determination. I illustrate this insight by referring to Friedrich Nietzsche’s 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra.' Nietzsche's existential 'No' toward transcendence is a consequence of a mindful confrontation with the excesses as play. (shrink)
"Rich in new and stimulating ideas, and based on the breadth of reading and depth of knowledge which its wide-ranging subject matter requires, _The Greek Praise of Poverty_ argues impressively and cogently for a relocation of Cynic philosophy into the mainstream of Greek ideas on material prosperity, work, happiness, and power." —_A. Thomas Cole, Professor Emeritus of Classics, Yale University _ "This clear, well-written book offers scholars and students an accessible account of the philosophy of Cynicism, particularly with regard to (...) the Cynics' attachment to a life of poverty and their disdain for wealth. I have truly profited from reading WilliamDesmond’s book." —_Luis Navia, New York Institute of Technology_ WilliamDesmond, taking issue with typical assessments of the ancient Cynics, contends that figures such as Antisthenes and Diogenes were not cultural outcasts or marginal voices in the classical culture of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Rather, the Cynic movement had deep and significant roots in what Desmond calls "the Greek praise of poverty." Desmond demonstrates that classical attitudes toward wealth were complex and ambivalent, and allowed for an implicit praise of poverty and the virtues it could inspire. From an economic and political point of view, the poor majority at Athens and elsewhere were natural democrats who distrusted great concentrations of wealth as potentially oligarchical or tyrannical. Hence, the poor could be praised in contemporary literature for their industry, honesty, frugality, and temperance. The rich, on the other hand, were often criticized as idle, unjust, arrogant, and profligate. These perspectives were reinforced by typical Greek experiences of war, and the belief that poverty fostered the virtues of courage and endurance. Finally, from an early date, Greek philosophers associated wisdom with the transcendence of sense experience and of such worldly values as wealth and honor. The Cynics, Desmond asserts, assimilated all of these ideas in creating their distinctive and radical brand of asceticism. Theirs was a startling and paradoxical outlook, but it had broad appeal and would persist to exert a manifold influence in the Hellenistic period and beyond. (shrink)
A short time ago, in The Greek Praise of Poverty: Origins of Ancient Cynicsm, WilliamDesmond argued that cynicism was a purely classical phenomenon rooted in Greek experience. He concluded that cynicism "... has not been, and perhaps never will be, fully transplanted out of its original soil in the culture of classical Greece". Now Desmond offers an introduction to ancient cynicism, especially for the benefit of students. He makes clear the substantial difficulties of the topic by (...) beginning with the legend of Alexander the Great's meeting with Diogenes of Sinope, the most famous of all Cynics. Although this familiar story is found in Diogenes Laertius, who wrote hundreds of years after Alexander and Diogenes, Desmond points out that the story contains an elemental idea of ancient cynicism: simplicity rises above royal vanity. He indicates that modern "cynics" differ from ancient Cynics, who were optimistic about human nature: humans are good, but have been corrupted by custom, from which they may be cured. Ancient cynicism was a complex mixture of shamelessness and idealism, anti-nomianism and radical idealism. Desmond notes the variety of forms of cynicism, including both poor wanderers who were free and those who admired ideals of the Cynics without practicing their difficult lifestyle. Despite the varied personalities of Cynics and their admirers, Desmond finds a unity underlying multiplicity. He provides both an overview of key figures in their cultural contexts and their themes: renunciation of custom, a life according to nature, self-sufficiency, and political freedom. (shrink)
This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary American society. -/- (...) A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (shrink)
"This article presents an analysis of William Lane Craig’s argument of the finitude of the past based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite. To achieve the aim of this academic work we use, as a primary base, a book written by Craig called Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics and a chapter written by the same author along with James Sinclair called The Kalam Cosmological Argument in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. These works, in (...) our opinion, provide sufficient primary material to study the topic. However, other articles and books by Craig are also referenced, and the commentaries of some other authors, who deal with this problem, are also used. Throughout this work, we consider the historical context and Craig’s incorporation of the kalam cosmological argument. We go on to analyse the presuppositions given by this author and consequently we study, progressively, the formulations that Craig himself made to reach his conclusion. /// Este artigo apresenta uma análise do argumento de William Lane Craig sobre a finitude do passado baseado na impossibilidade da formação de um infinito atual. Para atingir o objetivo deste trabalho acadêmico, utilizamos como fonte primária uma obra escrita pelo próprio Craig, intitulada Fé racional: verdade cristã e apologética, e um capítulo escrito pelo mesmo autor em colaboração com James Sinclair chamado O argumento cosmológico kalam, em The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Estes trabalhos, em nossa opinião, oferecem suficientes elementos para o estudo do tópico. Entretanto, outros artigos e livros de Craig também foram citados, bem como os comentários de vários autores que tratam do problema. No decorrer deste trabalho consideramos o contexto histórico e a incorporação de Craig ao argumento cosmológico kalam. Mais adiante, analisamos primeiramente os pressupostos dados pelo mencionado autor e, em consequência, estudamos progressivamente as formulações feitas pelo próprio Craig para obter suas conclusões. ". (shrink)
Building upon the scholarship of Michael Polanyi, William Poteat has dedicated himself to offering an alternative model to the Cartesian dichotomy of mind and matter that has dominated Western thought for centuries. These essays, collected by James Nickell and James Stines, cover a wide range of subjects, from Poteat's analysis of the epistemological crisis brought on by the Cartesian program to his first attempts at formulating an alternative to the mind-body dichotomy. These essays relentlessly diagnose the present situation of (...) Western thought by making explicit the philosophical presuppositions to which it is committed. They include theological affirmations, reflections on epistemology, conceptual analyses, as well as dialogues with other writers in the field of cultural criticism and linguistic theory such as George Steiner, Noam Chomsky, and Walker Percy. Most significant is Poteat's bold affirmation of the primacy of persons and his analysis and critique of our cultural misconstructions of human awareness. _The Primacy of Persons and the Language of Culture_ provides an excellent introduction to the scholarship of William Poteat. It should be of particular interest to scholars of philosophy and theology, as well as others who share Poteat's deep concern for the state of human culture. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------- The above was already on the database - below was copied from the web William Poteat has dedicated himself to offering an alternative model to the Cartesian dichotomy of mind and matter that has dominated Western thought for centuries. These essays further diagnose the present situation of Western thought by making explicit the philosophical presuppositions to which it is committed. (shrink)
Kalam cosmological arguments have recently been the subject of criticisms, at least inter alia, by physicists---Paul Davies, Stephen Hawking---and philosophers of science---Adolf Grunbaum. In a series of recent articles, William Craig has attempted to show that these criticisms are “superficial, iII-conceived, and based on misunderstanding.” I argue that, while some of the discussion of Davies and Hawking is not philosophically sophisticated, the points raised by Davies, Hawking and Grunbaum do suffice to undermine the dialectical efficacy of kalam cosmological arguments.
‘William L. Rowe on Philosophy of Religion’ edited by Nick Trakakis, collects 30 papers of William Rowe's important work in the philosophy of religion. I review this collection, and offer an objection of one of Rowe's arguments.
In "The Moral Equivalent of War" William James drew attention to what he called the "esthetical and ethical" aspects of war and military service. He argues that, if war is ever to be replaced by a state of durable, permanent peace, then the "manly virtues" of discipline and duty must be redirected into more positive directions. James envisions a kind of conscripted civilian service where young men would work in mines, steel-mills, construction, and "get the childishness knocked out of (...) them." James also focuses exclusively on young men and "gilded" ones at that: he's not so concerned with young women and those who can already expect a lifetime of physical labor or drudgery.In Kathryn Bigelow's 2008 film The... (shrink)