An Apology for Raymond Sebond is widely regarded as the greatest of Montaigne's essays: a supremely eloquent expression of Christian scepticism. An empassioned defence of Sebond's fifteenth-century treatise on natural theology, it was inspired by the deep crisis of personal melancholy that followed the death of Montaigne's own father in 1568, and explores contemporary Christianity in prose that is witty and frequently damning. As he searches for the true meaning of faith, Montaigne is heavily critical of the arrogant tendency of mankind to create God in its own image, and offers his personal reflections on the true role of man, the need to eschew personal arrogance, and the vital importance of faith if we are to understand our place in the universe. Wise, perceptive and remarkably informed, this is one of the true masterpieces of the essay form.
We live in a world of mystery, wonder, and beauty. But most of us seldom participate in this real world, being focused rather on the part that is mostly strife, suffering, or meaninglessness. This situation is basically due to our not realizing and living our full human potential. This potential can be actualized by the realization and development of the human essence. The human essence is the part of us that is innate and real, and which can participate in the real world.The Diamond Heart series is a transcription of talks given by the author in both California and Colorado, for several years. The purpose of the talks is to guide and orient individuals who are engaged in doing the difficult work of realization.
Introduced by Francis Fergusson, the Poetics, written in the fourth century B.C., is still an essential study of the art of drama, indeed the most fundamental one we have. It has been used by both playwrights and theorists of many periods, and interpreted, in the course of its two thousand years of life, in various ways. The literature which has accumulated around it is, as Mr. Fergusson points out, "full of disputes so erudite that the nonspecialist can only look on in respectful silence." But the Poetics itself is still with us, in all its suggestiveness, for the modern reader to make use of in his turn and for his own purposes.
Francis Fergusson's lucid, informative, and entertaining Introduction will prove invaluable to anyone who wishes to understand and appreciate the Poetics. Using Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, as Aristotle did, to illustrate his analysis, Mr. Fergusson pints out that Aristotle did not lay down strict rules, as is often thought: "The Poetics," he says, "is much more like a cookbook than it is like a textbook of elementary engineering." Read in this way, it is an essential guide not only to Sophoclean tragedy, but to the work of so modern a playwright as Bertolt Brecht, who considered his own "epic drama" the first non-Aristotelian form.
Martin Buber's I and Thou has long been acclaimed as a classic. Many prominent writers have acknowledged its influence on their work; students of intellectual history consider it a landmark; and the generation born since World War II considers Buber as one of its prophets.
The need for a new English translation has been felt for many years. The old version was marred by many inaccuracies and misunderstandings, and its recurrent use of the archaic "thou" was seriously misleading. Now Professor Walter Kaufmann, a distinguished writer and philosopher in his own right who was close to Buber, has retranslated the work at the request of Buber's family. He has added a wealth of informative footnotes to clarify obscurities and bring the reader closer to the original, and he has written a long "Prologue" that opens up new perspectives on the book and on Buber's thought. This volume should provide a new basis for all future discussions of Buber.
Arthur C. Danto argues that recent developments in the art world, in particular the production of works of art that cannot be told from ordinary things, make urgent the need for a new theory of art and make plain the factors such a theory can and cannot involve. In the course of constructing such a theory, he seeks to demonstrate the relationship between philosophy and art, as well as the connections that hold between art and social institutions and art history.
The book distinguishes what belongs to artistic theory from what has traditionally been confused with it, namely aesthetic theory and offers as well a systematic account of metaphor, expression, and style, together with an original account of artistic representation. A wealth of examples, drawn especially from recent and contemporary art, illuminate the argument.
One of his great works, and a must-read for any student of philosophy, The Problems of Philosophy was written in 1912 as an introduction to Russell's thought. As an empiricist, Russell starts at the beginning with this question: Is there any knowledge in the world that is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it? This, according to Russell, is where the work of philosophy begins. He covers topics such as reality, the nature of matter, inductive reasoning, truth, and the limits of philosophical knowledge. As one of the greatest minds in Western philosophy, Russell's thoughts are profoundly informative and provocative and suitable for anyone wishing to expand his mind. British philosopher and mathematician BERTRAND ARTHUR WILLIAM RUSSELL (1872-1970) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Among his many works are Why I Am Not a Christian (1927), Power: A New Social Analysis (1938), and My Philosophical Development (1959).
The great philosopher's major work on ethics, along with Ecce Homo, Nietzche's remarkable review of his life and works. On the Genealogy of Morals (1887) shows him using philsophy, psychology, and classical philology in an effort to give new direction to an ancient discipline.
The work consists of three essays. The first contrasts master morality and slave morality and indicates how the term "good" has widely different meanings in each. The second inquiry deals with guilt and the bad conscience; the third with ascetic ideals--not only in religion but also in the academy.
Ecce Homo, written in 1898 and first published posthumously in 1908, is Nietzsche's review of his life and works. It contains chapters on all the books he himself published. His interpretations are as fascinating as they are invaluable. Nothing Nietzsche wrote is more stunning stylistically or as a human document.
Walter Kaufmann's masterful translations are faithful of the word and spirit of Nietzsche, and his running footnote commentaries on both books are more comprehensive than those in his other Nietzsche translations because these tow works have been so widely misunderstood.
Michel Foucault has become famous for a series of books that have permanently altered our understanding of many institutions of Western society. He analyzed mental institutions in the remarkable Madness and Civilization; hospitals in The Birth of the Clinic; prisons in Discipline and Punish; and schools and families in The History of Sexuality. But the general reader as well as the specialist is apt to miss the consistent purposes that lay behind these difficult individual studies, thus losing sight of the broad social vision and political aims that unified them.Now, in this superb set of essays and interviews, Foucault has provided a much-needed guide to Foucault. These pieces, ranging over the entire spectrum of his concerns, enabled Foucault, in his most intimate and accessible voice, to interpret the conclusions of his research in each area and to demonstrate the contribution of each to the magnificent -- and terrifying -- portrait of society that he was patiently compiling. For, as Foucault shows, what he was always describing was the nature of power in society; not the conventional treatment of power that concentrates on powerful individuals and repressive institutions, but the much more pervasive and insidious mechanisms by which power "reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives" Foucault's investigations of prisons, schools, barracks, hospitals, factories, cities, lodgings, families, and other organized forms of social life are each a segment of one of the most astonishing intellectual enterprises of all time -- and, as this book proves, one which possesses profound implications for understanding the social control of our bodies and our minds.