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Western Philosophy

DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH: THE BIRTH OF THE PRISON

DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH: THE BIRTH OF THE PRISON

By: Foucault, Michel
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A brilliant work from the most influential philosopher since Sartre.

In this indispensable work, a brilliant thinker suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.

DISCOURSE ON THINKING

DISCOURSE ON THINKING

By: Heidegger, Martin
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Discourse on Thinking questions that must occur to us the moment we manage to see a familiar situation in unfamiliar light.
DISCOURSES AND WRITINGS ON SPIRITUALITY

DISCOURSES AND WRITINGS ON SPIRITUALITY

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The first volume of sources and commentary devoted exclusively to Kierkegaard's spirituality. +
DISRUPTION

DISRUPTION

By: Appelbaum, David
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David Appelbaum is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York, The College at New Paltz. He is the author of Everyday Spirits, The Stop, and Voice, also published by SUNY Press.
DO YOU THINK WHAT YOU THINK YOU

DO YOU THINK WHAT YOU THINK YOU

By: Stangroom, Jeremy
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Explore the gray areas in your gray matter with philosophical brainteasers from armchair philosopher and bestselling author of The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, Julian Baggini.

Is your brain ready for a thorough philosophical health check?

Julian Baggini, the author of the international bestseller The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, and his fellow founding editor of The Philosopher's Magazine Jeremy Stangroom have some thought-provoking questions about your thinking: Is what you believe coherent and consistent, or a jumble of contradictions? If you could design a God, what would He, She, or It be like? And how will you fare on the tricky terrain of ethics when your taboos are under the spotlight?

Do You Think What You Think You Think features a dozen philosophical quizzes guaranteed to make armchair philosophers uncomfortably shift in their seats. Fun, challenging, and surprising, this book will enable you to discover the you you never knew you were.

DOES THE CENTER HOLD 2ND EDITI

DOES THE CENTER HOLD 2ND EDITI

By: Palmer, Donald
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A topically organized introductory philosophy text that takes the position that the study of philosophy is both natural and fun. The text includes separate chapters on philosophy of art, philosophy of freedom, and social and political philosophy.
DOUBLETHINK / DOUBLETALK: NATURALIZING SECOND THOUGHT AND TWOFOLD SPEECH

DOUBLETHINK / DOUBLETALK: NATURALIZING SECOND THOUGHT AND TWOFOLD SPEECH

By: Brann, Eva
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Philosopher Eva Brann describes the concept of doublethink/doubletalk as a flanking approach toward comprehending a pervasively duplex world, a world that sometimes flashes fleeting signs of covert wholeness. In this, her second collection of aphorisms and observations, Brann shines a light on our world--on the way things are--and she does it with characteristic wit and insight.

Eva Brann is a member of the senior faculty at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, where she has taught for fifty-seven years. She is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. This is her ninth book with Paul Dry Books.

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DREAM OF ENLIGHTENMENT: THE RISE OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY

By: Gottlieb, Anthony
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Western philosophy is now two and a half millennia old, but much of it came in just two staccato bursts, each lasting only about 150 years. In his landmark survey of Western philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, The Dream of Reason, Anthony Gottlieb documented the first burst, which came in the Athens of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Now, in his sequel, The Dream of Enlightenment, Gottlieb expertly navigates a second great explosion of thought, taking us to northern Europe in the wake of its wars of religion and the rise of Galilean science. In a relatively short period--from the early 1640s to the eve of the French Revolution--Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Hume all made their mark. The Dream of Enlightenment tells their story and that of the birth of modern philosophy.

As Gottlieb explains, all these men were amateurs: none had much to do with any university. They tried to fathom the implications of the new science and of religious upheaval, which led them to question traditional teachings and attitudes. What does the advance of science entail for our understanding of ourselves and for our ideas of God? How should a government deal with religious diversity--and what, actually, is government for? Such questions remain our questions, which is why Descartes, Hobbes, and the others are still pondered today.

Yet it is because we still want to hear them that we can easily get these philosophers wrong. It is tempting to think they speak our language and live in our world; but to understand them properly, we must step back into their shoes. Gottlieb puts readers in the minds of these frequently misinterpreted figures, elucidating the history of their times and the development of scientific ideas while engagingly explaining their arguments and assessing their legacy in lively prose.

With chapters focusing on Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Pierre Bayle, Leibniz, Hume, Rousseau, and Voltaire--and many walk-on parts--The Dream of Enlightenment creates a sweeping account of what the Enlightenment amounted to, and why we are still in its debt.

DREAM OF REASON: A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY FROM THE GREEKS TO THE RENAISSANCE

DREAM OF REASON: A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY FROM THE GREEKS TO THE RENAISSANCE

By: Gottlieb, Anthony
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Already a classic, this landmark study of early Western thought now appears in a new edition with expanded coverage of the Middle Ages. This landmark study of Western thought takes a fresh look at the writings of the great thinkers of classic philosophy and questions many pieces of conventional wisdom. The book invites comparison with Bertrand Russell's monumentalHistory of Western Philosophy, "but Gottlieb's book is less idiosyncratic and based on more recent scholarship" (Colin McGinn, Los Angeles Times). A New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best Book, and a Times Literary Supplement Best Book of 2001.
DREAM, DEATH & THE SELF

DREAM, DEATH & THE SELF

By: Valberg, J J
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"Might this be a dream?" In this book, distinguished philosopher J. J. Valberg approaches the familiar question about dream and reality by seeking to identify its subject matter: what is it that would be the dream if "this" were a dream? It turns out to be a subject matter that contains the whole of the world, space, and time but which, like consciousness for Sartre, is nothing "in itself." This subject matter, the "personal horizon," lies at the heart of the main topics--the first person, the self, and the self in time--explored at length in the book.

The personal horizon is, Valberg contends, the subject matter whose center each of us occupies, and which for each of us ceases with death. This ceasing to be presents itself solipsistically not just as the end of everything "for me" but as the end of everything absolutely. Yet since it is the same for everyone, this cannot be. Death thus confronts us with an impossible fact: something that cannot be but will be.

The puzzle about death is one of several extraphilosophical puzzles about the self that Valberg discusses, puzzles that can trouble everyday consciousness without any contribution from philosophy. Nor can philosophy resolve the puzzles. Its task is to get to the bottom of them, and in this respect to understand ourselves--a task philosophy has always set itself.

DRIVING TO CALIFORNIA AN UNCON

DRIVING TO CALIFORNIA AN UNCON

By: Radford, Colin
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You are a philosopher! We are all philosophers. We make moral decisions, worry over what is the best thing to do, and contemplate where our lives are going. In a series of original and entertaining sketches, short stories, plays and his own 'philosophical autobiography' Professor Colin Radford expounds the nature and importance of philosophy for our everyday lives. From the title sketch Driving to California in which Radford amusingly describes the decisions, sulks and compromises faced by a family of three driving across America, to The Positive Desirability of Evil, Radford reveals how we all unknowingly take part in philosophical debates, and shows that these moral dilemmas are what make our lives rich, diverse, challenging and puzzling. Meanwhile the key chapter The Examined Life explains how his life (and ours) has been governed by philosophical dilemmas and warns that a life which fails to ask "Should I have lived my life thus?" is not, as Plato said, a life worth living.* Bridges the gap between Sophie's World, The Thought Gang and conventional textbooks* A lively and instructive introduction to the central concerns of philosophy designed for newcomers* Based on sound scholarship, with introductions and conclusions for the general reader* Other introductions describe philosophy or the history of philosophy - Driving to California is concerned with 'doing it' - in front of the reader
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DUPLICITY OF PHILOSOPHY'S SHADOW: HEIDEGGER, NAZISM, AND THE JEWISH OTHER

By: Wolfson, Elliot R
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Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is considered one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century in spite of his well-known transgressions--his complicity with National Socialism and his inability to show remorse or compassion for its victims. In The Duplicity of Philosophy's Shadow, Elliot R. Wolfson intervenes in a debate that has seen much attention in scholarly and popular media from a unique perspective, as a scholar of Jewish mysticism and philosophy who has been profoundly influenced by Heidegger's work.

Wolfson sets out to probe Heidegger's writings to expose what remains unthought. In spite of Heidegger's explicit anti-Semitic statements, Wolfson reveals some crucial aspects of his thinking--including criticism of the biological racism and militant apocalypticism of Nazism--that betray an affinity with dimensions of Jewish thought: the triangulation of the concepts of homeland, language, and peoplehood; Jewish messianism and the notion of historical time as the return of the same that is always different; inclusion, exclusion, and the status of the other; the problem of evil in kabbalistic symbolism. Using Heidegger's own methods, Wolfson reflects on the inextricable link of truth and untruth and investigates the matter of silence and the limits of speech. He challenges the tendency to bifurcate the relationship of the political and the philosophical in Heidegger's thought, but parts company with those who write off Heidegger as a Nazi ideologue. Ultimately, The Duplicity of Philosophy's Shadow argues, the greatness and relevance of Heidegger's work is that he presents us with the opportunity to think the unthinkable as part of our communal destiny as historical beings.

EARLY POLEMICAL WRITINGS

EARLY POLEMICAL WRITINGS

By: Kierkegaard, Søren
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Early Polemical Writings covers the young Kierkegaard's works from 1834 through 1838. His authorship begins, as it was destined to end, with polemic. Kierkegaard's first published article touches on the theme of women's emancipation, and the other articles from his student years deal with freedom of the press.

Modern readers can see the seeds of Kierkegaard's future career these early pieces. In From the Papers of One Still Living, his review of Hans Christian Andersen's novel Only a Fiddler, Kierkegaard rejects the notion that environment is decisive in determining the fate of genius. He also puts forward his belief that each person needs a life-view or life for which and by which to live, a thought he explores further in the comic play The Battle between the Old and the New Soap-Cellars.

EARTHLINGS

EARTHLINGS

By: Parr, Adrian
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Silver Medal, 2023 Nautilus Book Awards in the category of Ecology and Environment

Amid environmental catastrophe, it is vital to recall what unites all forms of life. We share characteristics and genetic material extending back billions of years. More than that, we all--from humans to plants to bacteria--share a planet. We are all Earthlings.

Adrian Parr calls on us to understand ourselves as existing with and among the many forms of Earthling life. She argues that human survival requires us to recognize our interdependent relationships with the other species and systems that make up life on Earth. In a series of meditations, Earthlings portrays the wonder and beauty of life with deep feeling, vivid detail, and an activist spirit. Parr invites readers to travel among the trees of the Amazonian rainforest; take flight with birds and butterflies migrating through the skies; and plunge into the oceans with whales and polar bears--as well as to encounter bodies infected with deadly viruses and maimed by the violence of global capitalism.

Combining poetic observation with philosophical contemplation and scientific evidence, Parr offers a moving vision of a world in upheaval and a potent manifesto for survival. Earthlings is both a joyful celebration of the magnificence of the biosphere and an urgent call for action to save it.

ECCE HOMO TR LARGE

ECCE HOMO TR LARGE

By: Large, Duncan
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Ecce Homo is an autobiography like no other. Deliberately provocative, Nietzsche subverts the conventions of the genre and pushes his philosophical positions to combative extremes, constructing a genius-hero whose life is a chronicle of incessant self-overcoming. Written in 1888, a few weeks before his descent into madness, the book passes under review all of Nietzsche's previous works so that we, his "posthumous"readers, can finally understand him, on his own terms. He reaches final reckonings with his many enemies, including Richard Wagner, German nationalism, "modern men" in general, and above all Christianity, proclaiming himself the Antichrist. Ecce Homo is the summation of an extraordinary philosophical career, a last great testament to Nietzsche's will.

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ECCE HOMO TRANSLATED BY R.J. HOLLINGDALE

ECCE HOMO TRANSLATED BY R.J. HOLLINGDALE

By: Nietzsche, Friedrich
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In late 1888, only weeks before his final collapse into madness, Nietzsche (1844-1900) set out to compose his autobiography, and Ecce Homo remains one of the most intriguing yet bizarre examples of the genre ever written. In this extraordinary work Nietzsche traces his life, work and development as a philosopher, examines the heroes he has identified with, struggled against and then overcome - Schopenhauer, Wagner, Socrates, Christ - and predicts the cataclysmic impact of his 'forthcoming revelation of all values'. Both self-celebrating and self-mocking, penetrating and strange, Ecce Homo gives the final, definitive expression to Nietzsche's main beliefs and is in every way his last testament.

ECSTASIES OF ROLAND BARTHES

By: Wiseman, Mary Bittner
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This book should be of interest to students of philosophy and literature.
Edmund Husserl's ORIGIN of GEOMETRY

Edmund Husserl's ORIGIN of GEOMETRY

By: Derrida, Jacques
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Edmund Husserl's Origin of Geometry" An Introduction (1962) is Jacques Derrida's earliest published work. In this commentary-interpretation of the famous appendix to Husserl's The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, Derrida relates writing to such key concepts as differing, consciousness, presence, and historicity. Starting from Husserl's method of historical investigation, Derrida gradually unravels a deconstructive critique of phenomenology itself, which forms the foundation for his later criticism of Western metaphysics as a metaphysics of presence. The complete text of Husserl's Origin of Geometry is included. This Bison Book edition carries an afterword by the translator, John P. Leavey Jr., who has also translated (with Richard Rand) Derrida's Glas and supplied a Glassary, books published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1986.
ELEMENTS OF THE PHILOSOPHY RIGHT

ELEMENTS OF THE PHILOSOPHY RIGHT

By: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Fredrich
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This book is a translation of a classic work of modern social and political thought. Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Hegel's last major published work, is an attempt to systematize ethical theory, natural right, the philosophy of law, political theory, and the sociology of the modern state into the framework of Hegel's philosophy of history. Hegel's work has been interpreted in radically different ways, influencing many political movements from far right to far left, and is widely perceived as central to the communitarian tradition in modern ethical, social, and political thought. This edition includes extensive editorial material informing the reader of the historical background of Hegel's text, and explaining his allusions to Roman law and other sources, making use of lecture materials which have only recently become available. The new translation is literal, readable, and consistent, and will be informative and scholarly enough to serve the needs of students and specialists alike.
EMANCIPATION AFTER HEGEL: ACHIEVING A CONTRADICTORY REVOLUTION

EMANCIPATION AFTER HEGEL: ACHIEVING A CONTRADICTORY REVOLUTION

By: McGowan, Todd
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Hegel is making a comeback. After the decline of the Marxist Hegelianism that dominated the twentieth century, leading thinkers are rediscovering Hegel's thought as a resource for contemporary politics. What does a notoriously difficult nineteenth-century German philosopher have to offer the present? How should we understand Hegel, and what does understanding Hegel teach us about confronting our most urgent challenges?

In this book, Todd McGowan offers us a Hegel for the twenty-first century. Simultaneously an introduction to Hegel and a fundamental reimagining of Hegel's project, Emancipation After Hegel presents a radical Hegel who speaks to a world overwhelmed by right-wing populism, authoritarianism, neoliberalism, and economic inequalities. McGowan argues that the revolutionary core of Hegel's thought is contradiction. He reveals that contradiction is inexorable and that we must attempt to sustain it rather than overcoming it or dismissing it as a logical failure. McGowan contends that Hegel's notion of contradiction, when applied to contemporary problems, challenges any assertion of unitary identity as every identity is in tension with itself and dependent on others. An accessible and compelling reinterpretation of an often-misunderstood thinker, this book shows us a way forward to a new politics of emancipation as we reconcile ourselves to the inevitability of contradiction and find solidarity in not belonging.

EMPIRE AND THE ENDS OF POLITICS: PLATO'S MENEXENUS AND PERICLES' FUNERAL ORATION

EMPIRE AND THE ENDS OF POLITICS: PLATO'S MENEXENUS AND PERICLES' FUNERAL ORATION

By: Thucydides
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This text brings together for the first time two complete key works from classical antiquity on the politics of Athens: Plato's Menexenus and Pericles' funeral oration (from Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian War).
EMPIRE OF DISORDER

EMPIRE OF DISORDER

By: Joxe, Alain
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In The Empire of Disorder, Alain Joxe offers the first truly comprehensive analysis of the new world disorder of the twenty-first century. The contemporary world, claims Joxe, is dominated by the American empire but not ordered by it. This "leadership through chaos," based on maintaining a "creeping peace," is at the root of the present organization of violence and barbary on a global scale. At the same time, national governments--including that of the United States--are declining in influence as the imperial system fosters transnational mafias, corporations, and markets.

EMPIRICAL KNOWLEDGE

By: Goldman, Alan H
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This remarkably clear and comprehensive account of empirical knowledge will be valuable to all students of epistemology and philosophy. The author begins from an explanationist analysis of knowing--a belief counts as knowledge if, and only if, its truth enters into the best explanation for its being held. Defending common sense and scientific realism within the explanationist framework, Alan Goldman provides a new foundational approach to justification. The view that emerges is broadly empiricist, counteracting the recently dominant trend that rejects that framework entirely.

Topics treated include the Gettier problem, the nature of explanation and inductive inference, the justification of foundations for knowledge in terms of inference to the best explanation, the possibility of realist interpretations of contemporary science, reference (as it bears on recent antirealist arguments), and the relations between empirical psychology and epistemology. Professor Goldman defends the need for a foundational theory of justification and presents a version that refutes standard criticisms of that doctrine. His defense of realism takes into account contemporary advances in semantics and philosophy of science. It attempts to clarify the kinds of skeptical argument the philosopher must take seriously, without succumbing to them. While recent epistemology has tended to dismiss the traditional foundational approach, it has not provided a suitable alternative. Goldman breaks new ground by adapting that approach within his explanationist, inductive theory.

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END OF THE WEST AND OTHER CAUTIONARY TALES

By: Meighoo, Sean
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Most historical accounts of "the West" take it for granted that the guiding principles of the Western tradition--reason, progress, and freedom--have been passed down directly from ancient Greece to modern Europe, evolving in isolation from all non-Western cultures. Today, many political analysts and cultural critics maintain that the Western tradition is fast approaching its end, for better or worse, as it becomes more and more integrated with non-Western cultures in an increasingly globalized world. But what if we are witnessing something else entirely--not the "end" of the West but rather another historical mutation of the idea of the West itself?

This groundbreaking work shows that whether the West is hailed as the source of all historical progress or scorned as the root of all cultural imperialism, it remains a deeply problematic concept that is intrinsically connected to an ethnocentric view of the world. In a critical reading of the continental philosophers Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida as well as the postcolonial thinkers Said, Mohanty, Bhabha, and Trinh, Sean Meighoo strikes at the intellectual foundations of Western exceptionalism until its ideological supports show through. Deconstructing the concept of the West in his provocative interpretations of Martin Bernal's controversial publication Black Athena and the Beatles' second film Help!, Meighoo poses a formidable question to philosophers, writers, political analysts, and cultural critics alike: Can we mount an effective critique of Western ethnocentrism without reinforcing the very idea of the West?

ENLIVENMENT: TOWARD A POETICS FOR THE ANTHROPOCENE

ENLIVENMENT: TOWARD A POETICS FOR THE ANTHROPOCENE

By: Weber, Andreas
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A new understanding of the Anthropocene that is based on mutual transformation with nature rather than control over nature.

We have been told that we are living in the Anthropocene, a geological era shaped by humans rather than by nature. In Enlivenment, German philosopher Andreas Weber presents an alternative understanding of our relationship with nature, arguing not that humans control nature but that humans and nature exist in a commons of mutual transformation. There is no nature-human dualism, he contends, because the fundamental dimension of existence is shared in what he calls aliveness. All subjectivity is intersubjectivity. Self is self-through-other. Seeing all beings in a common household of matter, desire, and imagination, an economy of metabolic and economic transformation, is "enlivenment." This perspective allows us to move beyond Enlightenment-style thinking that strips material reality of any subjectivity.

To take this step, Weber argues, we need to supplant the concept of techné with the concept of poiesis as the element that brings forth reality. In a world not divided into things and ideas, culture and nature, reality arises from the creation of relationships and continuous fertile transformations; any thinking in terms of relationships comes about as a poetics. The self is always a function of the whole; the whole is equally a function of the individual. Only this integrated freedom allows humanity to reconcile with the natural world.

This first English edition of Enlivenment has been expanded and updated from the German edition.

EPIMETHEAN IMAGININGS: Philosophical and Other Meditations on Everyday Light

EPIMETHEAN IMAGININGS: Philosophical and Other Meditations on Everyday Light

By: Tallis, Raymond
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These essays, written in the spirit of Goethe's Epimetheus who "traces the quick deed to the dim realm of form-combining possibilities", display the depth and breadth of Tallis's fascination with our lives. Whether discussing philosophical "hardy perennials" like time, or a mundane artefact like ink, Tallis challenges us to think differently about who we are and why we are.

The first part of the book - Analysis - dives into the deep-end to explore some of the big questions in philosophy: perception, knowledge and belief; time; the relationship between mathematics and reality; and probability and causation. The middle section - Tetchy Interludes - takes a wry look at some aspects of contemporary art; stupidity (including the author's own); and Christmas. The third part - Celebration - is more experimental in both its subject matter and treatment. It celebrates the complexity of ordinary, everyday consciousness by contemplating the miracle of speech, artefacts that have transformed our lives (and what they reveal about our cognition) such as the wheel, the sail, and ink; and 'snapshots' of the author's own consciousness on an ordinary day, of past consciousness, as captured in historical memory.

Notwithstanding their diversity in theme and style, these essays share the common aim of discovering and celebrating the submerged riches in the "quick deeds" of our everyday lives and perceptions.

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EPISTEMOLOGY

By: Sosa, Ernest
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One of the world's leading epistemologists provides a sophisticated, revisionist introduction to the subject

In this concise book, one of the world's leading epistemologists provides a sophisticated, revisionist introduction to the problem of knowledge in Western philosophy. Modern and contemporary accounts of epistemology tend to focus on limited questions of knowledge and skepticism, such as how we can know the external world, other minds, the past through memory, the future through induction, or the world's depth and structure through inference. This book steps back for a better view of the more general issues posed by the ancient Greek Pyrrhonists. Returning to and illuminating this older, broader epistemological tradition, Ernest Sosa develops an original account of the subject, giving it substance not with Cartesian theology but with science and common sense. Descartes is a part of this ancient tradition, but he goes beyond it by considering not just whether knowledge is possible in the first place, but also how we can properly attain it. In Cartesian epistemology, Sosa finds a virtue-theoretic account, one that he extends beyond the Cartesian context. Once epistemology is viewed in this light, many of its problems can be solved or fall away. The result is an important reevaluation of epistemology that will be essential reading for students and teachers.

EPISTEMOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS EXPE

EPISTEMOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS EXPE

By: Yandell, Keith E
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This book addresses a fundamental question in the philosophy of religion. Can religious experience provide evidence for religious belief? If so, how? Keith Yandell argues against the notion that religious experience is ineffable, while advocating the view that strong numinous experience provides some evidence that God exists. An attractive feature of the book is that it does not confine its attention to any one religious cultural tradition, but tracks the nature of religious experience across different traditions in both the East and the West.
EPISTLE OF THE DEBATE HEB/ENG

EPISTLE OF THE DEBATE HEB/ENG

By: Harvey, Steven
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Shem-Tov Falaquera (c. 1225-1295) was a student of the writings of Maimonides and a leading expositor of the medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophical traditions. His Epistle of the Debate (Iggeret ha-Vikkuah) is a delightful dialogue between two Jews, one learned in philosophy and the other not, about the permissibility and desirability of philosophical investigation by Jews.

It is perhaps the most important medieval text devoted to the theme of the relationship between reason and religion by a Jewish thinker, and it is an excellent introduction to Jewish philosophy. This volume contains the first critical edition of the Hebrew text of the Epistle of the Debate and an annotated English translation, the first into a modern language. The volume also includes essays on the sources of the Epistle and on Falaquera's position on the relation between reason and religion.

ERA OF THE INDIVIDUAL

ERA OF THE INDIVIDUAL

By: Renaut, Alain
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With the publication of French Philosophy of the Sixties, Alain Renaut and Luc Ferry in 1985 launched their famous critique against canonical figures such as Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan, bringing under rigorous scrutiny the entire post-structuralist project that had dominated Western intellectual life for over two decades. Their goal was to defend the accomplishments of liberal democracy, particularly in terms of basic human rights, and to trace the reigning philosophers' distrust of liberalism to an "antihumanism" inherited mainly from Heidegger. In The Era of the Individual, widely hailed as Renaut's magnum opus, the author explores the most salient feature of post-structuralism: the elimination of the human subject. At the root of this thinking lies the belief that humans cannot know or control their basic natures, a premise that led to Heidegger's distrust of an individualistic, capitalist modern society and that allied him briefly with Hitler's National Socialist Party. While acknowledging some of Heidegger's misgivings toward modernity as legitimate, Renaut argues that it is nevertheless wrong to equate modernity with the triumph of individualism. Here he distinguishes between individualism and subjectivity and, by offering a history of the two, powerfully redirects the course of current thinking away from potentially dangerous, reductionist views of humanity.

Renaut argues that modern philosophy contains within itself two opposed ways of conceiving the human person. The first, which has its roots in Descartes and Kant, views human beings as subjects capable of arriving at universal moral judgments. The second, stemming from Leibniz, Hegel, and Nietzsche, presents human beings as independent individuals sharing nothing with others. In a careful recounting of this philosophical tradition, Renaut shows the resonances of these traditions in more recent philosophers such as Heidegger and in the social anthropology of Louis Dumont.

Renaut's distinction between individualism and subjectivity has become an important issue for young thinkers dissatisfied with the intellectual tradition originating in Nietzsche and Heidegger. Moreover, his proclivity toward the Kantian tradition, combined with his insights into the shortcomings of modernity, will interest anyone concerned about today's shifting cultural attitudes toward liberalism.

Originally published in 1997.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.