Professor [H.W.] Sheldon's critique of contemporary naturalism as professed in the volume Naturalism and the Human Spirit consists of one central "accusation": naturalism is materialism pure and simple. This charge is supported by his further claim that since the scientific method naturalists espouse for acquiring reliable knowledge of nature is incapable of yielding knowledge of the mental or spiritual "nature" for the naturalist is definitionally limited to "physical nature." He therefore concludes that instead of being a philosophy which can settle (...) age-old conflicts between materialism and idealism, naturalism is no more than a partisan standpoint, and contributes no new philosophical synthesis. ... (shrink)
One of America's best known social and political philosophers, Sidney Hook, compiled this fascinating combination of essays popular and technical addressing questions by professionals and lay readers alike. -/- Written between 1934 and 1960, these controversial essays generated heated discussion and polemic, the echoes of which are still being heard. Championing secularism, humanism, and naturalism, Hook eloquently argues against the claim that religious experience and metaphysical insight alone can discover truths about existence and reality that rest outside the domain of (...) scientific method or inquiry. -/- Crucial philosophical questions are discussed: What is the role of philosophy in life? Is "philosophical knowledge" possible, as distinct from scientific and commonsense knowledge? Does determinism vacate moral responsibility? Do religious and metaphysical beliefs possess cognitive meaning? What is the core dispute between materialism and idealism? -/- Hook's provocative analyses will not only clarify these questions but stimulate readers to reassess their own views. (shrink)
In this brilliant work, first published in 1936, Sydney Hook seeks to resolve one of the classic problems of European intellectual history: how the political radicalism and philosophical materialism of Karl Marx issued from the mystical and ...
Like_ _John Dewey, his mentor and friend, Sidney Hook shares the classic conception of philosophy as the pursuit of wisdom. A philosopher is concerned ultimately with the conception of the good life in a good society. In these essays extending over many years, Hook illustrates the activity of the philosopher in the cave of social life. He brings to bear the tools of reflective analysis on dominant social and political issues: human rights; the role of personality and leadership in history; (...) the attempt to defend freedom as we seek to preserve and extend the welfare state; and a criticism of the common premise of historical materialism shared by both Marxists and their opponents. Most significantly, Hook addresses the relation between morality and religion and the place of religion in democratic society. A secular and naturalistic humanism, he contends, generates an authentic, reliable commitment to the_ _democratic faith. (shrink)