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Philosophy is a discipline committed to helping us live wiser and less sorrowful lives. This book artfully draws together forty of the greatest and most useful ideas found in philosophy, taking us on a journey around key concepts from both Eastern and Western cultures. We are invited to sample the distinctive wisdom of Eastern philosophy via tea drinking ceremonies, walks in bamboo forests, contemplations of rivers and ritualised flower arranging sessions. From Western culture we seek the teachings of some of the greatest minds throughout history including Machiavellianism and Stoicism. This essential guide to philosophy reminds us of the wit, humanity and relevance of a number of great philosophers including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Confucius, Lao Tzu and Buddha. Essential thoughts about love, work, anxiety, self-knowledge and happiness are examined, highlighted and inspiringly presented here so they can work their consoling effect where it is most needed: in our daily lives.
The British bestseller "Straw Dogs "is an exciting, radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. John Gray argues that this belief in human difference is a dangerous illusion and explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned. The result is an exhilarating, sometimes disturbing book that leads the reader to question our deepest-held beliefs. Will Self, in the "New Statesman," called "Straw Dogs "his book of the year: "I read it once, I read it twice and took notes . . . I thought it that good." "Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book" ("Sunday Telegraph").
A User's Guide to Melancholy takes Robert Burton's encyclopaedic masterpiece The Anatomy of Melancholy (first published in 1621) as a guide to one of the most perplexing, elusive, attractive, and afflicting diseases of the Renaissance. Burton's Anatomy is perhaps the largest, strangest, and most unwieldy self-help book ever written. Engaging with the rich cultural and literary framework of melancholy, this book traces its causes, symptoms, and cures through Burton's writing. Each chapter starts with a case study of melancholy - from the man who was afraid to urinate in case he drowned his town to the girl who purged a live eel - as a way into exploring the many facets of this mental affliction. A User's Guide to Melancholy presents in an accessible and illustrated format the colourful variety of Renaissance melancholy, and contributes to contemporary discussions about wellbeing by revealing the earlier history of mental health conditions.
In the twenty-first century, political correctness, cynicism, prag-matism, and the commodification of sex have reduced romantic love to a discredited myth or a recreational sport--"a cause for embarrassment," says Cristina Nehring. In "A Vindication of Love," Nehring wrests romantic love from the clutches of retrograde feminists and cutting-edge capitalists, thrill-seeking convenience shoppers and safe-sex moralists. With help from lovers ranging from Heloise and Abelard to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Nehring celebrates the wild, irreverent, and uncompromising models of love we have inherited--as she rediscovers romantic love's fearless and heroic provenance, and challenges readers to demand partnerships that fully engage body, heart, and mind.
The Secret of Secrets. The title alone promises the revelation of
the most treasured arcana and piques our interest. Add the names of
Aristotle and Alexander the Great, and our curiosity is securely
engaged. Readers reacted similarly during the Latin Middle Ages.
The work alleges to be an extended letter of advice sent by
Aristotle to his former pupil Alexander the Great while the latter
was on a campaign in Persia. It stood at the top of the
"best-seller" list for hundreds of years and was read by two
different audiences: scholars and laypersons. Steven J. Williams
focuses his study on its reception by European scholars, starting
with its translation into Latin during the High Middle Ages and
carrying the story through to the time when scholarly attention
waned around 1550.
This book examines tragedy and tragic philosophy from the Greeks through Shakespeare to the present day. It explores key themes in the links between suffering and ethics through postcolonial literature. Ato Quayson reconceives how we think of World literature under the singular and fertile rubric of tragedy. He draws from many key works - Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes, Medea, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear - to establish the main contours of tragedy. Quayson uses Shakespeare's Othello, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Tayeb Salih, Arundhati Roy, Toni Morrison, Samuel Beckett and J.M. Coetzee to qualify and expand the purview and terms by which Western tragedy has long been understood. Drawing on key texts such as The Poetics and The Nicomachean Ethics, and augmenting them with Frantz Fanon and the Akan concept of musuo (taboo), Quayson formulates a supple, insightful new theory of ethical choice and the impediments against it. This is a major book from a leading critic in literary studies.
2011 Reprint of 1962 Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. "Consolation of Philosophy" is a philosophical work by Boethius, written around the year 524. It has been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and early Renaissance Christianity, and is also the last great Western work that can be called Classical. It was written during a one-year imprisonment Boethius served while awaiting trial for the crime of treason. This experience inspired the text, which reflects on how evil can exist in a world governed by God, and how happiness can be attainable amidst fickle fortune, while also considering the nature of happiness and God. Boethius writes the book as a conversation between himself and Lady Philosophy. She consoles Boethius by discussing the transitory nature of fame and wealth, and the ultimate superiority of things of the mind, which she calls the "one true good." She contends that happiness comes from within, and that one's virtue is all that one truly has, because it is not imperiled by the vicissitudes of fortune.
From populist propaganda attacking knowledge as 'fake news' to the latest advances in artificial intelligence, human thought is under unprecedented attack today. If computers can do what humans can do and they can do it much faster, what's so special about human thought? In this new book, bestselling philosopher Markus Gabriel steps back from the polemics to re-examine the very nature of human thought. He conceives of human thinking as a 'sixth sense', a kind of sense organ that is closely tied our biological reality as human beings. Our thinking is not a form of data processing but rather the linking together of images and imaginary ideas which we process in different sensory modalities. Our time frame expands far beyond the present moment, as our ideas and beliefs stretch far beyond the here and now. We are living beings and the whole of evolution is built into our life story. In contrast to some of the exaggerated claims made by proponents of AI, Gabriel argues that our thinking is a complex structure and organic process that is not easily replicated and very far from being superseded by computers. With his usual wit and intellectual verve, Gabriel combines philosophical insight with pop culture to set out a bold defence of the human and a plea for an enlightened humanism for the 21st century. This timely book will be of great value to anyone interested in the nature of human thought and the relations between human beings and machines in an age of rapid technological change.
What is thinking? What does it feel like? What is it good for? Andrea Gadberry looks for answers to these questions in the philosophy of Rene Descartes and finds them in the philosopher's implicit poetics. Gadberry argues that Descartes's thought was crucially enabled by poetry and shows how markers of poetic genres from love lyric and elegy to the puzzling forms of the riddle and the anagram betray an impassioned negotiation with the difficulties of thought and its limits. Where others have seen Cartesian philosophy as a triumph of reason, Gadberry reveals that the philosopher accused of having "slashed poetry's throat" instead enlisted poetic form to contain thought's frustrations. Gadberry's approach to seventeenth-century writings poses questions urgent for the twenty-first. Bringing literature and philosophy into rich dialogue, Gadberry centers close reading as a method uniquely equipped to manage skepticism, tolerate critical ambivalence, and detect feeling in philosophy. Helping us read classic moments of philosophical argumentation in a new light, this elegant study also expands outward to redefine thinking in light of its poetic formations.
In the 16th century, Erasmus was one of the most celebrated figures in Europe--a man of such vast learning that both royalty and universities petitioned for his services. In this very readable biography, a noted scholar traces Erasmus's youth, his years as an itinerant scholar, sojourns in England, France, Switzerland, and Italy, friendship with Sir Thomas More, and disputes with Martin Luther. The author also probes Erasmus's mind and character and discusses his writings, including In Praise of Folly and his great translation of the New Testament.
The Renaissance is one of the most celebrated periods in European history. But when did it begin? When did it end? And what did it include? Traditionally regarded as a revival of classical art and learning, centred upon fifteenth-century Italy, views of the Renaissance have changed considerably in recent decades. The glories of Florence and the art of Raphael and Michelangelo remain an important element of the Renaissance story, but they are now only a part of a much wider story which looks beyond an exclusive focus on high culture, beyond the Italian peninsula, and beyond the fifteenth century. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Renaissance tells the cultural history of this broader and longer Renaissance: from seminal figures such as Dante and Giotto in thirteenth-century Italy, to the waning of Spain's 'golden age' in the 1630s, and the closure of the English theatres in 1642, the date generally taken to mark the end of the English literary Renaissance. Geographically, the story ranges from Spanish America to Renaissance Europe's encounter with the Ottomans-and far beyond, to the more distant cultures of China and Japan. And thematically, under Gordon Campbell's expert editorial guidance, the volume covers the whole gamut of Renaissance civilization, with chapters on humanism and the classical tradition; war and the state; religion; art and architecture; the performing arts; literature; craft and technology; science and medicine; and travel and cultural exchange.
A new reading of Machiavelli's major works that demonstrates how he has been previously misread To what extent was Niccolo Machiavelli a "Machiavellian"? Was he an amoral adviser of tyranny or a stalwart partisan of liberty? A neutral technician of power politics or a devout Italian patriot? A reviver of pagan virtue or initiator of modern nihilism? Reading Machiavelli answers these questions through original interpretations of Machiavelli's three major political works-The Prince, Discourses, and Florentine Histories-and demonstrates that a radically democratic populism seeded the Florentine's scandalous writings. John McCormick challenges the misguided understandings of Machiavelli set forth by prominent thinkers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and representatives of the Straussian and Cambridge schools, and he emphasizes the fundamental, often unacknowledged elements of a vibrant Machiavellian politics. Advancing fresh readings of Machiavelli's work, this book presents a new outlook on how politics should be conceptualized and practiced.
The second edition of the Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy is expanded and substantially revised. It is the largest reference work of medieval philosophy in English and it covers all the four language traditions, Latin, Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew, of western medieval philosophy. The Encyclopedia covers all areas of philosophy in the Middle Ages and part of the Renaissance, ranging from 500 to 1500 CE. It contains general entries on medieval philosophers and medieval philosophies and on the key terms and concepts in the subject area, but it also provides more in-depth details and analyses of particular theories. Furthermore, in order to gain an insight into the social and cultural context of the material, entries are included on the teaching of philosophy, the career of philosophers, and the place of philosophy within the universities. Complete with cross-references between key words and related essays to enable efficient searches, this Encyclopedia is exhaustive, unprecedented, and user-friendly. It is indispensable for scholars of medieval philosophy and Medieval Studies, and it is also useful for anyone interested in medieval ideas and thought.
It is hard to think of two philosophers less alike than St. Thomas Aquinas and Jean-Paul Sartre. Aquinas, a thirteenth-century Dominican friar, and Sartre, a twentieth-century philosopher and atheist, are separated by both time and religious beliefs. Yet, for philosopher Joseph S. Catalano, the two are worth bringing together for their shared concern with a fundamental issue: the uniqueness of each individual person and how this uniqueness relates to our mutual dependence on each other. When viewed in the context of one another, Sartre broadens and deepens Aquinas's outlook, updating it for our present planetary and social needs. Both thinkers, as Catalano shows, bring us closer to the reality that surrounds us, and both are centrally concerned with the place of the human within a temporal realm and what stance we should take on our own freedom to act and live within that realm. Catalano shows how freedom, for Sartre, is embodied, and that this freedom further illuminates Aquinas's notion of consciousness. Compact and open to readers of varying backgrounds, this book represents Catalano's efforts to bring a lifetime of work on Sartre into an accessible consideration of philosophical questions by placing him in conversation with Aquinas, and it serves as a primer on key ideas of both philosophers. By bringing together these two figures, Catalano offers a fruitful space for thinking through some of the central questions about faith, conscience, freedom, and the meaning of life.
This book is divided into three main parts: an introduction to theories of culture, a section on Chinese culture, and one on cultural construction. The first part can be interpreted as an attempt to explore the meta-theoretical system of culture at the philosophical level. Based on the concept of "culture as ways of living," the book further defines "culture" as "the preparation of people," including the processes by which people adapt to local cultural and social customs. It stresses the subjectivity of culture, and the cultural rights and responsibilities of humankind. The second part takes on the subjective perspective of contemporary Chinese culture, interpreting it within the context of the historical situation of the Chinese people and nation, before engaging in a systematic reflection on several fundamental issues of Chinese culture. It closes by evaluating Chinese cultural practices and formulating a type of contemporary cultural self-identity. The book's third part focuses on the interconnection between the revival of the Chinese nation and the modernization of Chinese society, analyzing the conditions and challenges for the three primary types of contemporary Chinese culture: material culture, political culture and spiritual culture. Lastly, the book puts forward suggestions concerning several of the critical problems facing a society in transition.
This is the first book dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci's commission for The Virgin of the Rocks. Leonardo completed fewer than twenty paintings in his lifetime, yet he returned twice to this same mysterious subject over the course of a twenty-five year period. Identical in terms of iconography, stylistically these paintings are worlds apart. The first, of c.1482-4, was Leonardo's magnum opus, catapulting the young artist from obscurity to fame. When, in 1508, he finished the second painting, he was nearing the end of his artistic career and had become an international celebrity. Why did he revisit The Virgin of the Rocks? What was the meaning behind the cavernous subterranean landscape? What lies behind the colder monumentality of the second version?This book opens up Leonardo's world, setting the scene in Republican Florence and the humanist court of the Milanese warlord Ludovico Sforza, to answer these questions. Through lyrical yet scholarly analyses of Leonardo's paintings, notebooks and technical experimentation, it unveils the secret realms of human dissection and Neo-Platonic philosophy that inspired the creation of the two masterpieces. In doing so, the book reveals that The Virgin of the Rocks holds the key to the greatest philosophical, scientific and personal transformations of Leonardo's life.Images and links to figures are available at www.virginoftherocks.com.
An important milestone of 20th Century philosophy was the rise of personalism. After the crimes and atrocities against millions of human beings in two World Wars, especially the Second, some philosophers and other thinkers began to seek arguments showing the value of each human being, to expose and denounce the folly of political structures that violate the inalienable rights of the individual person. Karol Wojty?a appeals to the ancient concept of 'person' to emphasize the particular value of each human being. The person is unique because of their subjectivity by which they possesses an unrepeatable interior world in the history of humanity. Their rational nature grants them a special character among living beings, among which is the transcendence to the infinite. Wojty?a magisterially shows how each human being's personhood is rooted in a conscious and free subjectivity, which is marked also by personal and social responsibility. Wojty?a's original philosophical analysis takes for its starting point the human act, in which consciousness and experience consolidate voluntary choices, which are objectively efficacious. By their acts, the person determines their own personhood. This self-dominion manifests the person and enables them to live together in a community in which one's neighbor can be a companion on the voyage of life. This work provides a clear guide to Karol Wojty?a's principal philosophical work, Person and Act, rigorously analyzing the meaning that the author intended in his exposition. An important feature of the work is that the authors rely on the original Polish text, Osoba i czyn, as well as the best translations into Italian and Spanish, rather than on a flawed and sometimes misleading English edition of the work. Besides the analysis of Wojty?a's masterwork, this volume offers three chapters examining the impact of Wojty?a's anthropology on the relationship between faith and reason.
Ethics was a central preoccupation of medieval philosophers, and medieval ethical thought is rich, diverse, and inventive. Yet standard histories of ethics often skip quickly over the medievals, and histories of medieval philosophy often fail to do justice to the centrality of ethical concerns in medieval thought. This volume presents the full range of medieval ethics in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy in a way that is accessible to a non-specialist and reveals the liveliness and sophistication of medieval ethical thought. In Part I there is a series of historical chapters presenting developmental and contextual accounts of Christian, Islamic, and Jewish ethics. Part II offers topical chapters on such central themes as happiness, virtue, law, and freedom, as well as on less-studied aspects of medieval ethics such as economic ethics, the ethical dimensions of mysticism, and sin and grace. This will be an important volume for students of ethics and medieval philosophy.
Book 3 of the "Sentences" deals with the mystery of the Word made flesh: Christ's incarnation, passion, and death, the consequent restoration of humankind, and the virtues to be practised in imitation of Christ.
There is an ever-increasing number of books on improvisation, ones that richly recount experiences in the heat of the creative moment, theorize on the essence of improvisation, and offer convincing arguments for improvisation's impact across a wide range of human activity. This book is nothing like that. In a provocative and at times moving experiment, Gary Peters takes a different approach, turning the philosophy of improvisation upside-down and inside-out. Guided by Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and especially Deleuze--and exploring a range of artists from Hendrix to Borges--Peters illuminates new fundamentals about what, as an experience, improvisation truly is. As he shows, improvisation isn't so much a genre, idiom, style, or technique--it's a predicament we are thrown into, one we find ourselves in. The predicament, he shows, is a complex entwinement of choice and decision. The performativity of choice during improvisation may happen "in the moment," but it is already determined by an a priori mode of decision. In this way, improvisation happens both within and around the actual moment, negotiating a simultaneous past, present, and future. Examining these and other often ignored dimensions of spontaneous creativity, Peters proposes a consistently challenging and rigorously argued new perspective on improvisation across an extraordinary range of disciplines.
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the key themes in Greek and Roman science, medicine, mathematics and technology. A distinguished team of specialists engage with topics including the role of observation and experiment, Presocratic natural philosophy, ancient creationism, and the special style of ancient Greek mathematical texts, while several chapters confront key questions in the philosophy of science such as the relationship between evidence and explanation. The volume will spark renewed discussion about the character of 'ancient' versus 'modern' science, and will broaden readers' understanding of the rich traditions of ancient Greco-Roman natural philosophy, science, medicine and mathematics.
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