"Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains"
These are the famous opening words of a treatise that has not ceased to stir vigorous debate since its first publication in 1762. Rejecting the view that anyone has a natural right to wield authority over others, Rousseau argues instead for a pact, or 'social contract', that should exist between all the citizens of a state and that should be the source of sovereign power. From this fundamental premise, he goes on to consider issues of liberty and law, freedom and justice, arriving at a view of society that has seemed to some a blueprint for totalitarianism, to others a declaration of democratic principles.
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.
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.
Donald Cress's highly regarded translation, based on the critical Pl iade edition of 1964, is here issued with a lively introduction by James Miller, who brings into sharp focus the cultural and intellectual milieu in which Rousseau operated. This new edition includes a select bibliography, a note on the text, a translator's note, and Rousseau's own Notes on the Discourse.
" This] magnificent critical survey, with its inherent respect for both the 'Westt's mainstream high culture' and the 'radically changing world' of the 1990s, offers a new breakthrough for lay and scholarly readers alike....Allows readers to grasp the big picture of Western culture for the first time."
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
Here are the great minds of Western civilization and their pivotal ideas, from Plato to Hegel, from Augustine to Nietzsche, from Copernicus to Freud. Richard Tarnas performs the near-miracle of describing profound philosophical concepts simply but without simplifying them. Ten years in the making and already hailed as a classic, THE PASSION OF THE WESERN MIND is truly a complete liberal education in a single volume.
It has been said that all Western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato, but this book takes a more accommodating view in selecting the fifty figures who have made the largest contributions to the development of our reflection upon the world.
In The Politics Aristotle addresses the questions that lie at the heart of political science. How should society be ordered to ensure the happiness of the individual? Which forms of government are best and how should they be maintained? By analysing a range of city constitutions - oligarchies, democracies and tyrannies - he seeks to establish the strengths and weaknesses of each system to decide which are the most effective, in theory and in practice. A hugely significant work, which has influenced thinkers as diverse as Aquinas and Machiavelli, The Politics remains an outstanding commentary on fundamental political issues and concerns, and provides fascinating insights into the workings and attitudes of the Greek city-state.
The introductions by T. A. Sinclair and Trevor J. Saunders discuss the influence of The Politics on philosophers, its modern relevance and Aristotle's political beliefs. This edition contains Greek and English glossaries, and a bibliography for further reading.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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.