This book analyzes the concept of liberalism, interprets the history of liberalism in the United States, appraises the reasons why liberalism has not brought about the millennium in America, and offers a prognostication as to the future of liberalism. This reprint of the G.K. Hall & Co. edition is co-published by the North American Society for Social Philosophy.
The book analyzes, synthesizes, and evaluates the insights of the world's outstanding thinkers, prophets, and literary masters on the good, the morally right, and the lovely (part one); the question whether the world operates on the basis of such universal laws as the logos, the tao, and the principle of polarity (part two); what there is and isn't in the world, including such categories as existence, reality, being, and nonbeing (part three); and pre-eminently credible and enriching beliefs about truth, wisdom, (...) and what it all means (part four). Emphasis is placed on the divergent views of such intellectual giants as Confucius and Laotse in ancient China; the classical Hindu philosophers from ancient times to Gandhi and Tagore; patriarchs and prophets quoted in Scripture; Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas in the Middle Ages; Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Kant; and nineteenth- and twentieth-century luminaries such as Bentham, Mill, Peirce, James, Dewey, Sartre, and Wittgenstein. The differences and resemblances of their cogitations are portrayed as a conversation of the ages on questions of persistent concern. (shrink)
This book offers a copious selection of insights about the world and life, crafted in engaging language by Jewish sages, scholars, rabbis, and literary luminaries, from ancient to modern times. These remarkable explanations, queries, and proposals are connected by expository comments and comparisons by the author. The passionate care for human values which underlies much of Jewish thinking is made accessible in this comprehensive work. In it the reader may find counsel on how to achieve a good and satisfying life (...) while responding to the joys and sorrows that touch us all. (shrink)
The ten essays appearing in this volume provide the reader with a panoply of insights which are perceptive and illuminating, as well as--one might say with some seriousness--"creative." Several of the authors are unanimous in contending that creativity involves at least the production of something new, original, and unique, something emergent, unexpected, and unpredictable. In addition, some of them highlight, as a feature of creative products, their combination of "previously unrelated structures in such a way that you get more out (...) of the emergent whole than you have put in". (shrink)
An important merit of this book consists in its skillful marshaling and evaluation of divergent insights on a selection of controverted issues in ethical philosophy. The selection includes the identification of the good, especially intrinsic good, and what it is to be a good person; the nature of the right and the bearing of intentions and consequences on the rightness of actions; the essence of justice and the interrelations that obtain between and among the concepts of justice, law, and life (...) in society; and the question of whether one should view punishment as a means of retaliation, correction, deterrence, or restitution, or an appropriate combination of these factors. (shrink)
One soon discovers, by reading between the lines of the early pages of Sontag's book, that the term "Elements" as used in the title does not mean "Easy Introduction" as it would in a title such as The Elements of Barbering or The Elements of Golf. Instead, "Elements" here means "Basic Components," as it does in the expression "the chemical elements" or "the elements of a winter wardrobe".
For coping with the "accelerating crises" in the "human predicament," and for avoiding the realization of "doomsday predictions," we need, among other things, a new philosophical model of the world, compatible with newly available knowledge. Indeed, referring to the lack of such a model, Bahm writes: "It would not be unreasonable to claim that the greatest crisis today in America and in the world is a philosophical one", namely, the lack of an appropriate model of the world. He declares, in (...) this connection, that obsolete philosophies which contribute to our present predicament "need to be eliminated or reduced in their effectiveness". Accordingly, he finds fault with André Mercier, secretary-general of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies, for ruling out "projects that can be called applied philosophy". (shrink)
The term "naturalism" has been used in many senses. Here, that term refers to the theory that the methods used in the natural sciences can appropriately be used also in the social sciences. The expression "the possibility of naturalism" raises the question whether the methods of the natural sciences can indeed be fruitfully applied in the social sciences. The author outlines the competing answers to the question of the possibility of naturalism as including positivism, which is a blatantly affirmative answer; (...) hermeneuticalism, which is a hesitantly negative answer; and the author's mediating position, which, he asserts, avoids the mistake made by both of the other answers. Their mistake, he says, is their assumption that natural science is essentially positivistic, while social science is essentially subjective. (shrink)
A comprehensive philosophy of social science will include an analysis of concepts used by social scientists in their work; a viewpoint on the interpretation by social scientists of the facts which they uncover, or on their theories about the findings; and a discussion of the value judgments which social scientists erect. Some essays in the present volume concern the first of these domains, namely, the analysis of concepts; for example, essays on the concept of human rights, on the meaning of (...) human dignity, and on power as an organizing concept in social science. Others deal with the second sphere, social scientists' interpretations or theories relating to factual findings; for example, essays on the theory of social classes and on the materialist view of the role of ideas in society. Valuational propositions of social scientists, constituting the third category, are the subject of essays included here on values in political science and on ideological aspects of our view of human nature. The essays in a fourth group span more than one of these departments of investigation, covering the interrelations of concepts, theories, and values; for example, an essay on the concept of levels in social theory. (shrink)
The little-known Jewish philosopher Shem-Tov ben Joseph Falaquera composed numerous works on theology. One of them, entitled "Epistle of the Debate," is a lively dialogue, intriguing to the modern reader, between a Jewish religious traditionalist who begins by seriously doubting the propriety of any secular studies and a humanistic Jew who surprisingly succeeds in convincing the traditionalist that neither science nor philosophy is in conflict with Jewish religious belief.