One of this century's most original philosophical thinkers, Nozick brilliantly renews Socrates's quest to uncover the life that is worth living. In brave and moving meditations on love, creativity, happiness, sexuality, parents and children, the Holocaust, religious faith, politics, and wisdom, The Examined Life brings philosophy back to its preeminent subject, the things that matter most.We join in Nozick's reflections, weighing our experiences and judgments alongside those of past thinkers, to embark upon our own voyages of understanding and change.
Metaphysicians have for centuries attempted to clarify the nature of the world and how rational human beings construct their ideas of it. Materialists believed that the world (including its human component) consisted of objective matter, an irreducible substance to which qualities and characteristics could be attributed. Mindthoughts, ideas, and perceptionswas viewed as a more sophisticated material substance. Idealists, on the other hand, argued that the world acquired its reality from mind, which breathed metaphysical life into substances that had no independent existence of their own. These two camps seemed deadlocked until Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason endeavored to show that the most accurate theory of reality would be one that combined relevant aspects of each position, yet transcended both to arrive at a more fundamental metaphysical theory. Kant's synthesis sought to disclose how human reason goes about constructing its experience of the world, thus intertwining objective simuli with rational processes that arrive at an orderly view of nature.
Running through the work is Professor Oakshott's belief in philosophical reflection as an adventure: the adventure of one who seeks to understand in other terms what he already understands, and where the understanding is sought is a disclosure of the conditions of the understanding enjoyed and not a substitute for it. Its most appropriate expression is an essay, which, he writes, "does not dissemble the conditionality of the conclusions it throws up and although it may enlighten it does not instruct."
It was the invention and dissemination of alphabetic literacy some twenty-six hundred years ago that produced the Enlightenment that became our philosophical tradition. Descartes consolidated in his mind-body dualism the values and images of literacy that Western intellectuals embraced. But literacy was not without price, according to William H. Poteat: in a world of printed words and discarnate readers, nihilism and cultural insanity reign.
Poteat strikes through the veil of our literate imaginations to an archaic but still active reality that antedates literacy--the intractable and substantial actuality of the lively words we speak and hear spoken. In the medium of printed words he seeks the philosophic import of our ongoing oral/aural life, which has been obscured and denigrated by the images and values we have learned as readers. By every available rhetorical strategy, therefore, this must be an anti-book. It must strive to defeat our centuries-old habituation to the book as spectacle, in order that we may be brought to dwell in the immediacies of our lively selves in the world, as we do in our oral/aural life.
A Philosophical Daybook: Post-Critical Investigations sets out to induce a radical and irreversible transformation in the way we apprehend the world and our being in it. With journal entries written over fifteen months, Poteat attempts the impossible. In a world threatened by our own false conception of our nature and our place in the world, Poteat--by a feat of philosophical archaeology--seeks, still intact within ourselves, the ground for a new philosophy of the human.
Few books transform a generation and then establish themselves as touchstones for the generations that follow. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one such book. Years in the writing and rejected by 121 publishers, this modern epic of a man's search for meaning became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974. Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, it continues to inspire millions of readers. This 25th Anniversary Edition features a penetrating new Introduction by Robert Pirsig, in which he reveals his original intention about the book's controversial ending, as well as important typographical changes reflecting his ideas.
An autobiography of the mind and body, the book is a narration of a motorcycle trip taken by a father and his eleven-year-old son; a summer junket that confronts mortal truths on the journey of life. As the miles pass, the mind expands, and the narrator's tale covers many topics, from motorcycle maintenance itself through a search for how to live, an inquiry into "what is best," and the creation of a philosophical system reconciling science, religion, and humanism.
Unwanted and unbidden is the narrator's confrontation with a ghost: his former self, a brilliant man whose search for truth drove him to madness and death. This ghost, Phaedrus, haunts the narrator as he and his son visit places where they once lived. And, too, he confronts his deteriorating relationship with his son, who has himself been diagnosed as suffering the beginning symptoms of mental illness.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance speaks directly to the confusions and agonies of existence. In his intimate detailing of a personal and philosophical odyssey, Robert M. Pirsig has written a touching, painful, and ultimately transcendent book of life.
Book Club Edition.
In Homo Ludens, the classic evaluation of play that has become a "must-read" for those in game design, Dutch philosopher Johan Huizinga defines play as the central activity in flourishing societies. Like civilization, play requires structure and participants willing to create within limits. Starting with Plato, Huizinga traces the contribution of Homo Ludens, or "Man the player" through Medieval Times, the Renaissance, and into our modern civilization. Huizinga defines play against a rich theoretical background, using cross-cultural examples from the humanities, business, and politics. Homo Ludens defines play for generations to come."A happier age than ours once made bold to call our species by the name of Homo Sapiens. In the course of time we have come to realize that we are not so reasonable after all as the Eighteenth Century with its worship of reason and naive optimism, though us; "hence moder fashion inclines to designate our species asHomo Faber Man the Maker. But though faber may not be quite so dubious as sapiens it is, as a name specific of the human being, even less appropriate, seeing that many animals too are makers. There is a third function, howver, applicable to both human and animal life, and just as important as reasoning and making--namely, playing. it seems to me that next to Homo Faber, and perhaps on the same level as Homo Sapiens, Homo Ludens, Man the Player, deserves a place in our nomenclature. "--from the Foreward, by Johan Huizinga
Surveying the night sky, a charming philosopher and his hostess, the Marquise, are considering thep ossibility of travelers from the moon. "What if they were skillful enough to navigate on the outer surface of our air, and from there, through their curiosity to see us, they angled for us like fish? Would that please you?" asks the philosopher. "Why not?" the Marquise replies. "As for me, I'd put myself into their nets of my own volition just to have the pleasure of seeing those who caught me."
In this imaginary conversation of three hundred years ago, readers can share the excitement of a new, extremely daring view of the uinverse. Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (Entretiens sur la pluralit des mondes), first published in 1686, is one of the best loved classics of the early French enlightenment. Through a series of informal dialogues that take place on successive evenings in the marquise's moonlit gardens, Fontenelle describes the new cosmology of the Copernican world view with matchles clarity, imagination, and wit. Moreover, he boldly makes his interlocutor a woman, inviting female participation in the almost exclusively male province of scientific discourse.
The popular Fontenelle lived through an entire century, from 1657 to 1757, and wrote prolifically. H. A. Hargreaves's fresh, appealing translation brings the author's masterpiece to new generations of readers, while the introduction by Nina Rattner Gelbart clearly demonstrates the importance of the Conversations for the history of science, of women, of literature, and of French civilization, and for the popularization of culture.
In this highly original work, Robert Nozick develops new views on philosophy's central topics and weaves them into a unified philosophical perspective. It is many years since a major work in English has ranged so widely over philosophy's fundamental concerns: the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the question of why there is something rather than nothing, the foundations of ethics, the meaning of life.
Writing in a distinctive and personal philosophical voice, Mr. Nozick presents a new mode of philosophizing. In place of the usual semi-coercive philosophical goals of proof, of forcing people to accept conclusions, this book seeks philosophical explanations and understanding, and thereby stays truer to the original motivations for being interested in philosophy.
Combining new concepts, daring hypotheses, rigorous reasoning, and playful exploration, the book exemplifies how philosophy can be part of the humanities.
Skillful, sophisticated translations of two of Nietzsche's essential works about the conflict between the moral and aesthetic approaches to life, the impact of Christianity on human values, the meaning of science, the contrast between the Apollonian and Dionysian spirits, and other themes central to his thinking.The Birth of Tragedy (1872) was Nietzsche's first book, The Geneology of Morals (1887) one of his last. Though they span the career of this controversial genius, both address the problems such as the conflict between the moral versus aesthetic approaches to life, the effect of Christianity on human values, the meaning of science, and the famous dichotomy between the Apollonian and Dionysian spirits, among many themes which Nietzsche struggled throughout his tortured life.