In this engaging book, Douglas Anderson begins with the assumption that philosophy—the Greek love of wisdom—is alive and well in American culture. At the same time, professional philosophy remains relatively invisible. Anderson traverses American life to find places in the wider culture where professional philosophy in the distinctively American tradition can strike up a conversation. How might American philosophers talk to us about our religious experience, or political engagement, or literature—or even, popular music? Anderson’s second aim is (...) to find places where philosophy happens in nonprofessional guises—cultural places such as country music, rock’n roll, and Beat literature. He not only enlarges the tradition of American philosophers such as John Dewey and William James by examining lesser-known figures such as Henry Bugbee and Thomas Davidson, but finds the theme and ideas of American philosophy in some unexpected places, such as the music of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Bruce Springsteen, and the writingsof Jack Kerouac.The idea of “philosophy Americana” trades on the emergent genre of “music Americana,” rooted in traditional themes and styles yet engaging our present experiences. The music is “popular” but not thoroughly driven by economic considerations, and Anderson seeks out an analogous role for philosophical practice, where philosophy and popular culture are co-adventurers in the life of ideas. Philosophy Americana takes seriously Emerson’s quest for the extraordinary in the ordinary and James’s belief that popular philosophy can still be philosophy. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism continues to serve as a rich source of moral and theoretical insight. This collection of articles by top scholars offers fresh interpretations of Mill's ideas about happiness, moral obligation, justice, and rights. Applying contemporary philosophical insights, the articles challenge the conventional readings of Mill, and, in the process, contribute to a deeper understanding of utilitarian theory as well as the complexity of moral life.
Henry More (1614–1687), the most influential of the so-called Cambridge Platonists, and arguably the leading philosophically-inclined theologian in late seventeenth-century England, has come in for renewed attention lately. He was the subject of a detailed intellectual biography in 2003 by Robert Crocker, and in 2012 Jasper Reid published a philosophically penetrating and enlightening study of More’s metaphysics (Crocker 2003; Reid 2012). David Leech’s study of More’s idiosyncratic concept of immaterial spirit—and the role that it plays in his philosophy and (...) theology—is as detailed and penetrating as Reid’s study of his metaphysics, but perhaps more far-reaching in its ambitions. As the sub-title of this new book suggests, More’s philosophical theology is presented here as leading to the unintended consequence of promoting the incipient atheism of the early modern period.Leech’s study is clearly and helpfully structured in three parts and ten chapters. The first part, “Atheism and Spir .. (shrink)
What is the proper role of politics in higher education? Many policies and reforms in the academy, from affirmative action and a multicultural curriculum to racial and sexual harassment codes and movements to change pedagogical styles, seek justice for oppressed groups in society. They understand justice to require a comprehensive equality of membership: individuals belonging to different groups should have equal access to educational opportunities; their interests and cultures should be taken equally seriously as worthy subjects of study, their persons (...) treated with equal respect and concern in communicative interaction. Conservative critics of these egalitarian movements represent them as dangerous political meddling into the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. They cast the pursuit of equality as a threat to freedom of speech and academic standards. In response, some radical advocates of such programs agree that the quest for equality clashes with free speech, but view this as an argument for sacrificing freedom of speech. (shrink)
If by personal immortality one means that the soul is naturally eternal and passes as a substance through physical death to another life, then the answer to this question is a firm No . Both Alfred North Whitehead and his most famous student Charles Hartshorne disavowed such personal immortality as philosophically incompatible with the basic tenets of process thought. For Whitehead, and all philosophers who claim to follow him, process is the ultimate metaphysical generality describing how actual entities instantiate themselves (...) from the causality of entities in their past to then become objectified as they influence successor actual entities. To claim that there are multiple exceptions to the sway of universal process in the form of eternal souls introduces a radical and unacceptable philosophical incoherence into the Whiteheadian metaphysical system. Hartshorne held that a belief in eternal souls was not only incompatible with process thought but also compromised the philosophy of Berkeley, Descartes and Kant. In addition, he considered such belief bad religion and argued forcibly against it. (shrink)
In a recent articles David Mouton has argued that immortality is compatible with one sort of physicalism. I believe that he fails to establish this thesis and that, moreover, this article contains several misconceptions having to do with the topic of immortality.
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