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Kierkegaard and Christian Faith responds directly to the perennial and problematic concern of how to read Kierkegaard. Specifically, this volume presses the question of whether the existentialist philosopher, who so troubled the waters of nineteenth-century Danish Christendom, is a "Christian thinker for our time." The chapters crisscross the disciplines of philosophy, theology, literature, and ethics, and are as rich in argument as they are diverse in style. Collectively the chapters demonstrate a principled agreement that Kierkegaard continues to be relevant, even imperative. Kierkegaard and Christian Faith reveals just how Kierkegaard's work both defines and reconfigures what is meant by "Christian thinker." Following an autobiographical prologue by Kathleen Norris, this volume gathers the chapters in pairs around crucial themes: the use of philosophy (Merold Westphal and C. Stephen Evans), revelation and authority (Richard Bauckham and Paul J. Griffiths), Christian character (Sylvia Walsh and Ralph C. Wood), the relationship between the church and the world (Jennifer A. Herdt and Paul Martens), and moral questions of forgiveness and love (Simon D. Podmore and Cyril O'Regan). The volume underscores the centrality of Christianity to Kierkegaard's life and thought, and rightly positions Kierkegaard as a profound challenge to Christianity as it is understood and practiced today.
William Sloane Coffin offers here a powerful antidote to the
politics of the religious right with a clarion call to passive
intellectuals and dispirited liberals to reenter the fray with an
unabashedly Christian view of social justice. Refusing to cede the
battlefield of morality to conservatives, he argues that
"compassion demands confrontation," as he considers such topics as
homophobia, diversity, nuclear weapons, and civil discourse.
How did Nietzsche the philosopher come into being? The Nietzsche known today did not develop 'naturally', through the gradual maturation of some inborn character. Instead, from an early age he engaged in a self-conscious campaign to follow his own guidance, thereby cultivating the critical capacities and personal vision which figure in his books. As a result, his published works are steeped in values that he discovered long before he mobilised their results. Indeed, one could argue that the first work which he authored was not a book at all, but his own persona. Based on scholarship previously available only in German, this book examines Nietzsche's unstable childhood, his determination to advance through self-formation, and the ways in which his environment, notably the Prussian education system, alternately influenced and impeded his efforts to find his own way. It will be essential reading for all who are interested in Nietzsche.
The aim of this collection is to illustrate the pervasive influence of humanist rhetoric on early-modern literature and philosophy. The first half of the book focuses on the classical rules of judicial rhetoric. One chapter considers the place of these rules in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, while two others concentrate on the technique of rhetorical redescription, pointing to its use in Machiavelli's The Prince as well as in several of Shakespeare's plays, notably Coriolanus. The second half of the book examines the humanist background to the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. A major new essay discusses his typically humanist preoccupation with the visual presentation of his political ideas, while other chapters explore the rhetorical sources of his theory of persons and personation, thereby offering new insights into his views about citizenship, political representation, rights and obligations and the concept of the state.
This edition of Prolegomena includes Kant's letter of February, 1772 to Marcus Herz, a momentous document in which Kant relates the progress of his thinking and announces that he is now ready to present a critique of pure reason.
Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is a key element of the system of philosophy which Kant introduced with his Critique of Pure Reason, and a work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought. It represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion that would be grounded in moral reason and would meet the needs of ethical life. It includes sharply critical and boldly constructive discussions on topics not often treated by philosophers, including such traditional theological concepts as original sin and the salvation or 'justification' of a sinner, and the idea of the proper role of a church. This new edition includes slightly revised translations, a revised introduction with expanded discussion of certain key themes in the work, and up-to-date guidance on further reading.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau is one of the most controversial philosophers of the eighteenth century, and his groundbreaking work still provokes heated debate in contemporary political theory. In this book, Celine Spector, one of the world's foremost experts on Rousseau's thought, provides an accessible introduction to his moral, social and political theory. She explores the themes and central concepts of his thought, ranging from the state of nature, the social contract and the general will to natural and political freedom, religion and education. She combines a skilful exposition of Rousseau as a 'man of paradoxes' with a discussion of his often-overlooked ideas on knowledge, political economy and international relations. The book traces both the overall unity and the significant changes in Rousseau's philosophy, accounting for its complexity and for the importance of its legacy. It will be essential reading for scholars, students and general readers interested in the Enlightenment and more broadly in the history of modern political thought and philosophy.
[T]he present groundwork is nothing more than the identification and vindication of the supreme principle of morality.' In the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), Immanuel Kant makes clear his two central intentions: first, to uncover the principle that underpins morality, and secondly to defend its applicability to human beings. The result is one of the most significant texts in the history of ethics, and a masterpiece of Enlightenment thinking. Kant argues that moral law tells us to act only in ways that others could also act, thereby treating them as ends in themselves and not merely as means. Kant contends that despite apparent threats to our freedom from science, and to ethics from our self-interest, we can nonetheless take ourselves to be free rational agents, who as such have a motivation to act on this moral law, and thus the ability to act as moral beings. One of the most studied works of moral philosophy, this new translation by Robert Stern, Joe Saunders, and Christopher Bennett illuminates this famous text for modern readers.
This is the first book to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire career of one of Britain's greatest men of letters. It sets in biographical and historical context all of Hume's works, from A Treatise of Human Nature to The History of England, bringing to light the major influences on the course of Hume's intellectual development, and paying careful attention to the differences between the wide variety of literary genres with which Hume experimented. The major events in Hume's life are fully described, but the main focus is on Hume's intentions as a philosophical analyst of human nature, politics, commerce, English history, and religion. Careful attention is paid to Hume's intellectual relations with his contemporaries. The goal is to reveal Hume as a man intensely concerned with the realization of an ideal of open-minded, objective, rigorous, dispassionate dialogue about all the principal questions faced by his age.
Nietzsche's The Gay Science (1882/1887) is a deeply personal book, yet also an important work of philosophy. Nietzsche conceives it as a philosophical autobiography, a record of his own self-transformation. In beautifully composed aphorisms he communicates his central experience of overcoming pessimism and recovering the capacity to affirm joyfully the tragedy of life. On the basis of his experiments in living, Nietzsche articulates his most famous philosophical concepts and images: the death of God, the exercise of eternal recurrence, and the ideal of self-fashioning. This book explains the ancient and modern philosophical contexts that shape Nietzsche's central concern with the affirmation of life. It surveys Nietzsche's philosophy as a whole, explains the pivotal place of The Gay Science as the source of his ideal of tragic joy, and shows how he revives an ancient conception of philosophy as a way of life and the philosopher as physician.
'it is only the cultivation of individuality which produces, or can produce, well developed human beings' Mill's four essays, 'On Liberty', 'Utilitarianism', 'Considerations on Representative Government', and 'The Subjection of Women' examine the most central issues that face liberal democratic regimes - whether in the nineteenth century or the twenty-first. They have formed the basis for many of the political institutions of the West since the late nineteenth century, tackling as they do the appropriate grounds for protecting individual liberty, the basic principles of ethics, the benefits and the costs of representative institutions, and the central importance of gender equality in society. These essays are central to the liberal tradition, but their interpretation and how we should understand their connection with each other are both contentious. In their introduction Mark Philp and Frederick Rosen set the essays in the context of Mill's other works, and argue that his conviction in the importance of the development of human character in its full diversity provides the core to his liberalism and to any defensible account of the value of liberalism to the modern world. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
In On Tocqueville, Alan Ryan brilliantly illuminates the observations of the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, who first journeyed to the United States in 1831 and went on to catalog the unique features of the American social contract in his two-volume masterpiece, Democracy in America. Often thought of as the father of "American Exceptionalism," Tocqueville sought to observe the social conditions of emerging political equality in America, "a river that may be channeled but cannot be stopped in its course." In choosing America, he posed a central question of how a moderate, stable, and constitutional government is to be maintained in the wake of a revolution. As a dispassionate visitor, Tocqueville wanted to discover the social, moral, and economic arrangements that made liberty and self-government possible.
In doing so, Tocqueville made a number of prescient observations about American life whether it be the contrast between equality and liberty or Americans belief that they all belong to the middle class that remain as relevant today as when they were first written. While Tocqueville is often praised by both conservatives and liberals, either for his distrust of big government and fondness for decentralized power or for his concern with association and community, both tend to overlook his contempt for the coarse appearance of the individual members of Congress as well as his enthusiasm for the brutal nature of our prison system. Alan Ryan examines the often complicated and elusive Democracy in America, tracing the influence of writers such as Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Guizot, and explaining Tocqueville s original conceptions of equality and individualism within their historical context. In Ryan s hands, On Tocqueville becomes the perfect introduction and guide to Democracy in America.
On Tocqueville: Democracy and America features:
a chronology of Alexis de Tocqueville's life
an introduction and text by Alan Ryan that provides crucial context and cogent analysis
key excerpts from Democracy in America"
Irish philosopher George Bishop Berkeley was one of the greatest philosophers of the early modern period. Along with David Hume and John Locke he is considered one of the fathers of British Empiricism. Berkeley is a clear, concise, and sympathetic introduction to George Berkeley s philosophy, and a thorough review of his most important texts. Daniel E. Flage explores his works on vision, metaphysics, morality, and economics in an attempt to develop a philosophically plausible interpretation of Berkeley s oeuvre as whole. Many scholars blur the rejection of material substance (immaterialism) with the claim that only minds and things dependent upon minds exist (idealism). However Flage shows how, by distinguishing idealism from immaterialism and arguing that Berkeley s account of what there is (metaphysics) is dependent upon what is known (epistemology), a careful and plausible philosophy emerges. The author sets out the implications of this valuable insight for Berkeley s moral and economic works, showing how they are a natural outgrowth of his metaphysics, casting new light on the appreciation of these and other lesser-known areas of Berkeley s thought. Daniel E. Flage s Berkeley presents the student and general reader with a clear and eminently readable introduction to Berkeley s works which also challenges standard interpretations of Berkeley s philosophy.
This is the first critical edition (and in some cases, the first edition ever) of the various literary and historical writings of the philosopher John Locke (1632-1704). The writings published here include poems, orations, a plan for a play, detailed instructions on how to compile a commonplace book, two sets of rules for a society meeting for general discussion, writings on the liberty of the press, and a memoir of Locke's patron, the first Earl of Shaftesbury. A General Introduction gives a detailed account of the content and circumstances of composition of these works, and a Textual Introduction provides a full description of the manuscripts and early printed editions consulted by the editors.
Early German Romanticism sought to respond to a comprehensive sense of spiritual crisis that characterised the late eighteenth century. The study demonstrates how the Romantics sought to bring together the new post-Kantian idealist philosophy with the inheritance of the realist Platonic-Christian tradition. With idealism they continued to champion the individual, while from Platonism they took the notion that all reality, including the self, participated in absolute being. This insight was expressed, not in the language of theology or philosophy, but through aesthetics, which recognised the potentiality of all creation, including artistic creation, to disclose the divine. In explicating the religious vision of Romanticism, this study offers a new historical appreciation of the movement, and furthermore demonstrates its importance for our understanding of religion today.
Starting from Kant's striking question 'What is orientation in thinking?', this book argues that the main challenge facing global normative theorising lies in its failure to acknowledge its conceptual inadequacies. We do not know how to reason globally; instead, we tend to apply our domestic political experiences to the global context. Katrin Flikschuh argues that we must develop a form of global reasoning that is sensitive to the variability of contexts: rather than trying to identify a uniquely shareable set of substantive principles, we need to appreciate and understand local reasons for action. Her original and incisive study shows how such reasoning can benefit from the open-ended nature of Kant's systematic but non-dogmatic philosophical thinking, and from reorientation from a domestic to a non-domestic frame of thought. It will appeal to all those interested in global moral issues, as well as to Kant scholars.
"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each." Modernity rules our lives by clock and calendar, dividing the stream of time into units and coordinating every passing moment with the universal globe. Henry David Thoreau subverted both clock and calendar, using them not to regulate time's passing but to open up and explore its presence. This little volume thus embodies, in small compass, Thoreau's own ambition to "live in season"--to turn with the living sundial of the world, and, by attuning ourselves to nature, to heal our modern sense of discontinuity with our surroundings. Ralph Waldo Emerson noted with awe that from flowers alone, Thoreau could tell the calendar date within two days; children remembered long into adulthood how Thoreau showed them white waterlilies awakening not by the face of a clock but at the first touch of the sun. As Thoreau wrote in Walden, "Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is." Drawn from the full range of Thoreau's journals and published writings, and arranged according to season, The Daily Henry David Thoreau allows us to discover the endless variation and surprise to be found in the repetitions of mundane cycles. Thoreau saw in the kernel of each day an earth enchanted, one he honed into sentences tuned with an artist's eye and a musician's ear. Thoreau's world lives on in his writing so that we too may discover, even in a fallen world, a beauty worth defending.
In 2012, philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Zizek published what arguably is his magnum opus, the one-thousand-page tome Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism. A sizable sequel appeared in 2014, Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism. In these two books, Zizek returns to the German idealist G. W. F. Hegel in order to forge a new materialism for the twenty-first century. Zizek's reinvention of Hegelian dialectics explores perennial and contemporary concerns: humanity's relations with nature, the place of human freedom, the limits of rationality, the roles of spirituality and religion, and the prospects for radical sociopolitical change. In A New German Idealism, Adrian Johnston offers a first-of-its-kind sustained critical response to Less Than Nothing and Absolute Recoil. Johnston, a leading authority on and interlocutor of Zizek, assesses the recent return to Hegel against the backdrop of Kantian and post-Kantian German idealism. He also presents alternate reconstructions of Hegel's positions that differ in important respects from Zizek's version of dialectical materialism. In particular, Johnston criticizes Zizek's deviations from the secular naturalism and Enlightenment optimism of his chosen sources of inspiration: not only Hegel, but Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud too. In response, Johnston develops what he calls transcendental materialism, an antireductive and leftist materialism capable of preserving and advancing the core legacies of the Hegelian, Marxian, and Freudian traditions central to Zizek.
It may be useful that there should be some record of an education which was unusual and remarkable John Stuart Mill (1806-73), philosopher, economist, and political thinker, was the most prominent figure of nineteenth century English intellectual life and his work has continuing significance for contemporary debates about ethics, politics and economics. His father, James Mill, a close associate of the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, assumed responsibility for his eldest son's education, teaching him ancient Greek at the age of three and equipping him with a broad knowledge of the physical and moral sciences of the day. Mill's Autobiography was written to give an account of the extraordinary education he received at the hands of his father and to express his gratitude to those he saw as influencing his thought, but it is also an exercise in self-analysis and an attempt to vindicate himself against claims that he was the product of hothousing. The Autobiography also acknowledges the substantial contribution made to Mill's thinking and writings by Harriet Taylor, whom he met when he was twenty-four, and married twenty-one years later, after the death of her husband. The Autobiography helps us understand more fully some of the principal commitments that Mill's political philosophy has become famous for, in particular his appreciation of the diversity, plurality, and complexity of ways of life and their possibilities. This edition of the Autobiography includes additional manuscript materials from earlier drafts which demonstrate the conflicting imperatives that influenced Mill'schoice of exactly what to say about some of the most significant episodes and relationships in his life. Mark Philps introduction explores the forces that led Mill to write the 'life' and points to the tensions in the text and in Mill's life.
Alain Badiou is perhaps the world's most significant living philosopher. In his annual seminars on major topics and pivotal figures, Badiou developed vital aspects of his thinking on a range of subjects that he would go on to explore in his influential works. In this seminar, Badiou offers a tour de force encounter with a lesser-known seventeenth-century philosopher and theologian, Nicolas Malebranche, a contemporary and peer of Spinoza and Leibniz. The seminar is at once a record of Badiou's thought at a key moment in the years before the publication of his most important work, Being and Event, and a lively interrogation of Malebranche's key text, the Treatise on Nature and Grace. Badiou develops a rigorous yet novel analysis of Malebranche's theory of grace, retracing his claims regarding the nature of creation and the relation between God and world and between God and Jesus. Through Malebranche, Badiou develops a radical concept of truth and the subject. This book renders a seemingly obscure post-Cartesian philosopher fascinating and alive, restoring him to the philosophical canon. It occupies a pivotal place in Badiou's reflections on the nature of being that demonstrates the crucial role of theology in his thinking.
The Birth of Tragedy is one of the seminal philosophical works of the modern period. The theories developed in this relatively short text have had a profound influence on the philosophy, literature, music and politics of the twentieth century. This edition presents a new translation by Ronald Speirs and an introduction by Raymond Geuss that sets the work in its historical and philosophical context. The volume also includes two essays on related topics that Nietzsche wrote during the same period.
Based on the new and much acclaimed two volume Cambridge edition of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes by Cottingham, Stoothoff, and Murdoch, this anthology of essential texts contains the most important and widely studied of those writings, including the Discourse and Meditations and substantial extracts from the Regulae, Optics, Principles, Objections and Replies, Comments on a Broadsheet, and Passions of the Soul.
The Seventeenth-Century philosopher, scientist, poet, playwright, and novelist Margaret Cavendish went to battle with the great thinkers of her time, and arguably got the better of them in many cases. She took a creative and systematic stand on the major questions of philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics, and political philosophy. She argued that human beings and all other members of the created universe are purely material creatures, and she held that there are many other ways in which creatures are alike as well: for example, human beings, non-human animals, spiders, cells, and all other beings exhibit skill, wisdom, and activity, and so the universe of matter is not the largely dead and unimpressive region that most of her contemporaries thought it to be. Creatures instead are sophisticated and display a wide spectrum of intelligent activity, ranging from the highly conscious mentality that Descartes posited to be part and parcel of human thought, to embodied forms of cognition that is more common in non-human creatures but that guide a significant portion of human behavior as well. Cavendish then used her fictional work to further illustrate her views and arguments, and also to craft alternative fictional worlds in which the climate for women was very different than on Seventeenth-Century earth - a climate in which women could be taken seriously in the role of philosopher, writer, scientist, military general, and other roles. This is the first volume to provide a cross-section of Cavendish's writings, views and arguments, along with introductory material. It excerpts the key portions of all her texts including annotated notes highlighting the interconnections between them. Including a general introduction by Cunning, the book will allow students to work toward a systematic picture of Cavendish's metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy (and including some of her non-philosophical work as well) and to see her in dialogue with philosophers who are part of the traditional canon.
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