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Acknowledging Essential Moments in Human Communication
In Openings, award-winning author Michael Hyde provides a fascinating meditation on the ethical dimensions of human communication. With the breadth and depth of learning for which Hyde has become renowned, Openings engages philosophy, science, the arts, theology, and popular culture, all to demonstrate the profound importance of the possibility of openness to the human experience. In every situation, Hyde contends, this posture of conscious openness to the individuals, events, and places that surround us has noticeable effects on the way we—and others—experience the reality of existence. Hyde skillfully illustrates this way of being through abundant references to the larger culture and persuasively shows that by living with intention, and elevating practices such as acknowledgment and confession while rejecting seclusion and neglect, we human beings are enabled to engage fully and fruitfully the world in which we live.
Reflections from Moral Philosophy
In 1942, J. Robert Oppenheimer accepted the leadership of the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory, which produced the first atomic bomb three years later. This book examines the ethics of Oppenheimer’s choice to take that job and our judgment of his acceptance, leading to the larger question of the meaning of moral judgment itself. Through an analysis of Oppenheimer’s choice, Richard Mason explores questions of responsibility, the justification for the pursuit of scientific curiosity, the purity of research, and many other topics of interest in scientific ethics. This unique look at one man’s choice brings out the necessary step from personal detail to abstract reflection—it may be easy to praise or condemn Oppenheimer’s choice, but less easy to justify our praise or condemnation. Oppenheimer’s Choice establishes the possibility of this kind of moral philosophy—neither “applied” nor “practical” ethics, but instead a sustained concentration on a single choice, and what it means.
Anthropology, Language, and Action
What is the place of the ethical in human life? How do we render it visible? How might sustained attention to the ethical transform anthropological theory and enrich our understanding of thought, speech, and social action? This volume offers a significant attempt to address these questions. It is a common experience of most ethnographers that the people we encounter are trying to do what they consider right or good, are being evaluated according to criteria of what is right and good, or are in some debate about what constitutes the human good. Yet anthropological theory has tended to overlook all this in favor of analyses that emphasize structure, power, and interest.Bringing together ethnographic exposition with philosophical concepts and arguments and effectively transcending subdisciplinary boundaries between cultural and linguistic anthropology, the essays collected in this volume explore the ethical entailments of speech and action and demonstrate the centrality of ethical practice, judgment, reasoning, responsibility, cultivation, commitment, and questioning in social life. Rather than focus on codes of conduct or hot-button issues, they make the cumulative argument that ethics is profoundly ordinary,pervasive-and possibly even intrinsic to speech and action. In addition to deepening our understanding of ethics, the volume makes an incisive and necessary intervention in anthropological theory,recasting discussion in ways that force us to rethink such concepts as power, agency, and relativism.Individual chapters consider the place of ethics with respect to conversation and interaction; judgment and responsibility; formality, etiquette, performance, ritual, and law; character and empathy; social boundaries and exclusions; socialization and punishment; and commemoration, history, and living together in peace and war.Together they offer a comprehensive portrait of an approach that is now critical for advancing anthropological theory and ethnographic description, as well as fruitful conversation with philosophy.
Human Nature and Spiritual Exercises in Xunzi and Augustine
Can people ever really change? Do they ever become more ethical, and if so, how? Overcoming Our Evil focuses on the way ethical and religious commitments are conceived and nurtured through the methodical practices that Pierre Hadot has called spiritual ex
Coming to Terms with Being Human
In a masterful survey of the history of the idea of human perfection, prize-winning author and noted rhetorician Michael J. Hyde leads a fascinating excursion through philosophy, religion, science, and art. Eloquently and engagingly he delves into the canon of Western thought, drawing on figures from St. Augustine and John Rawls to Leonardo da Vinci and David Hume to Kenneth Burke and Mary Shelley. On the journey, Hyde expounds on the workings of daily existence, the development of reason, and the bounds of beauty. In the end, he ponders the consequences of the perfection-driven impulse of medical science and considers the implications of the bourgeoning rhetoric of “our posthuman future.” It is a triumphant examination of the human quest for significance.
To read a Q & A with Michael Hyde: http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2010/feb/24/232100/perfect-author-writes-what-it-means/living/
Nature in Hegel's Philosophy
Petrified Intelligence offers the first comprehensive treatment of Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, exploring its central place within his system, including its relation to his Logic, Philosophy of Mind, and moral and political thought. It highlights the contemporary relevance of Hegel’s approach to nature, particularly with respect to environmental issues. Challenging the standard view that Hegel devalues nature relative to mind and culture, Alison Stone reveals the deep concern to re-enchant the natural world that pervades his entire philosophical project. Written in clear and nontechnical language, the book also provides a critical introduction to Hegel’s metaphysics.
Narrative Ethics and Literary Culture after 9/11
Have the terrorist attacks of September 11 shifted the moral coordinates of contemporary fiction? And how might such a shift, reflected in narrative strategies and forms, relate to other themes and trends emerging with the globalization of literature? This book pursues these questions through works written in the wake of 9/11 and examines the complex intersection of ethics and narrative that has defined a significant portion of British and American fiction over the past decade.
Don DeLillo, Pat Barker, Aleksandar Hemon, Lorraine Adams, Michael Cunningham, and Patrick McGrath are among the authors Georgiana Banita considers. Their work illustrates how post-9/11 literature expresses an ethics of equivocation—in formal elements of narrative, in a complex scrutiny of justice, and in tense dialogues linking this fiction with the larger political landscape of the era. Through a broad historical and cultural lens, Plotting Justice reveals links between the narrative ethics of post-9/11 fiction and events preceding and following the terrorist attacks—events that defined the last half of the twentieth century, from the Holocaust to the Balkan War, and those that 9/11 precipitated, from war in Afghanistan to the Abu Ghraib scandal. Challenging the rhetoric of the war on terror, the book honors the capacity of literature to articulate ambiguous forms of resistance in ways that reconfigure the imperatives and responsibilities of narrative for the twenty-first century.
Interpretation, Misinterpretation, and the Claims of History
"These essays are extremely well written, with the clarity and accessibility that one has come to expect from Berel Lang, one of the most respected and significant philosophers writing about the Holocaust and its impact." -- Michael L. Morgan
In these trenchant essays, philosopher Berel Lang examines post-Holocaust intepretations -- and misinterpretations -- showing the ways in which rhetoric and ideology have affected historical discourse about the Holocaust and how these accounts can be deconstructed. Why didn't the Jews resist? How could the Germans have done what they did? Why didn't more bystanders join in the rescue? In Lang's view, these questions become mischievous when the circumstances in which victims, perpetrators, and bystanders played their roles are omitted or obscured. To confront such issues adequately requires comparative and contextual evidence. Post-Holocaust addresses such questions as the place of the Holocaust in the Nazi project as a whole, the roles of revenge and forgiveness in post-Holocaust Jewish thinking, Holocaust commemoration as artifice or "business," and the relationship of the Holocaust to traditional antisemitism. Lang's analysis provides an incisive and fruitful basis for confronting these critical subjects.
Jewish Literature and Culture -- Alvin H. Rosenfeld, editor
What can come of a scientific engagement with postmodern philosophy? Some scientists have claimed that the social sciences and humanities have nothing to contribute, except perhaps peripherally, to their research. Dorothea E. Olkowski shows that the historic link between science and philosophy, mathematics itself, plays a fundamental role in the development of the worldviews that drive both fields. Focusing on language, its expression of worldview and usage, she develops a phenomenological account of human thought and action to explicate the role of philosophy in the sciences. Olkowski proposes a model of phenomenology, both scientific and philosophical, that helps make sense of reality and composes an ethics for dealing with unpredictability in our world.