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A cosmopolitan hermit

modernity and tradition in the philosophy of Josef Pieper

Bernard N Schumacher

Publication Year: 2012

Composed of ten original essays written with the goal of exploring the thought of one of the most significant German philosophers of the 20th century, namely, Josef Pieper (1904-1997), this book is the only systematic treatment of his expansive philosophy to date.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. vi-vii

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1. A Cosmopolitan Hermit: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Josef Pieper

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pp. 1-23

The German philosopher Josef Pieper (1904–1997) continues to provoke among his contemporaries constructive, critical, and especially fruitful discussion on anthropological and ethical questions. He does this by formulating a defense of culture, which he contrasts with a pragmatic way of thinking that reduces the person to a specific...

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2. Josef Pieper in the Context of Modern Philosophy

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pp. 24-62

Josef Pieper belongs to that small class of modern philosophers who took the political and moral catastrophe of the past century as a challenge for their own thought and action. Although until now his work has left only a few traces in the theoretical discourse of academic...

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3. Josef Pieper on the Intellectual Foundations of Totalitarianism

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pp. 63-87

Totalitarian forms of government have affected the past century so profoundly that its history cannot be adequately understood without an investigation of the phenomenon of totalitarianism. Such an investigation is not solely a subject for the particular fields of political...

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4. Josef Pieper’s Early Sociological Writings

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pp. 88-115

For his entire life Josef Pieper was in search of the truth, guided by a far-off teacher. His thought did not follow fashion. Two early experiences left their mark on him. Hungry for a philosophical formation, he turned in his youth to Søren Kierkegaard, as did many...

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5. Josef Pieper and the Ethics of Virtue

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pp. 116-140

Perhaps no alteration in the landscape of Anglo-American philosophy in the last thirty years has been more surprising, more sustained, and more fruitful than the resurgence of interest in the ethics of virtue. Most discussions of the history of twentieth-century moral...

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6. The Future of Pieper’s Hope and History

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pp. 141-170

In 1967, Joseph Pieper published the German edition of Hope and History; its first English translation came out two years later.1 Now, more than forty years later, how well does Pieper’s thought about hope and history hold up? Is it still a helpful treatise?...

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7. Josef Pieper and the Concept of Tradition

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pp. 171-198

It is well known that there can be, strictly speaking, no demonstration regarding first things. Now “tradition,” for Josef Pieper, is one of those first things. Or rather, precisely, it is not simply “one” of those first things; it is almost everything, that is, everything that...

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8. The Twofold Discipleship of the Philosopher: Faith and Reason in the Thought of Josef Pieper

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pp. 199-227

At the time of his first doctor honoris causa, conferred by the theology faculty of the University of Munich in 1964, Josef Pieper strongly objected to the “error invicibilis” of those who recognized him as a theologian under the pretext that he considered pre-philosophical...

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9. Josef Pieper on the Truth of All Things and the World’s True Face

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pp. 228-250

The subject of the “truth of things” had continued to ferment within me all this time [during World War II]. Above all, it gradually became clear to me that the old saying omne ens est verum is by no means a merely abstract doctrine of scholastic metaphysics but an utterly real...

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10. The Platonic Inspiration of Pieper’s Philosophy

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pp. 251-278

Together with Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas, Plato is for Josef Pieper one of the four greatest Western thinkers. Reference to the Athenian philosopher becomes more frequent in his mature works. Whereas in his first four volumes on the virtues—which date from...


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pp. 279-302


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pp. 303-307

Index of Names

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pp. 309-312

E-ISBN-13: 9780813217796
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813217086

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2012