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1. The Philosophy of Humanism
2. Exodus to Humanism: Jewish Identity
3. Humanism: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld
4. Humanism and Democratic Criticism
5. Philosophy of Mind and Cognition:
6. Death and Philosophy
7. Intrapsychic Humanism: An Introduction
8. The Philosophy of Laughter and
9. Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth,
10. Discovering Secular Humanism:
11. Humanism and Libraries: An Essay
12. A Small Treatise on the Great
13. Toward a Philosophy of the Act
14. A Passion for Wisdom: Readings
15. Themes in the Philosophy of Music
16. The Philosophy of (Erotic) Love
17. Debating Humanism (Societas)
18. Contemporary Philosophy of Mind:
19. What Is Secular Humanism?
20. African American Humanism: An

1. The Philosophy of Humanism
by Corliss Lamont
Paperback: 371 Pages (1997-01-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$63.96
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Asin: 0931779073
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Released by Humanist Press in its degenderized eighth edition, this powerful book is the definitive study of the history and growth of the humanist movement in North America. Renowned philosopher and activist Corliss Lamont offers a vigorous argument for humanism and provides an affirmative, intelligent guidebook for shaping a better life in today's complex world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction
Trying to sum up a wide topic in a single volume Mr. Lamont had to hit a lot of topics so at times the book jumps around and only gives overviews.I don't thinkanyone could put more information about humanist philosophy in a single readable and enjoyable volume though.Certainly some of the topics he hits on leave the reader wanting to learn more which to me is a good thing.There are lots more books out there.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good introduction
The author's approach of explaining what is humanism is to contrast it against other schools of thought.This author did so in a concise way with clarity, which is quite rare amongst philosophers.I have been confused for the longest time what IS humanism?Not to mention materialism, naturalism, unitarinism, universalism, Deism...etc, which were not covered in my two college level philosphy classes.The level of discussion in this book is simple enough that someone with my background can understand.

The 6th edition I own contains the author's introductions of previous editions, which could actually be interesting and entertaining to read.They are basically the author's sometimes condescending, sometimes logical, defense against the smearing of humanism by different religous groups.Although this book is quite old (1960s), given the increasing level of religious conservatism in US, this book still have relevance.

The reason why this book would not get a 5 star from me is that a large part of this book is devoted to proving why God does not exist and that only scientific method produces Truth.Such topic for this intro text is just too ambitious and the arugement used is probably less sophisticated that other books that attempts to disprove the existence of god.It feels like there is cherry picking of examples.The author used examples, perhaps too many of them, to explain why things like natural moral law, miracles, after life, mysticism..etc does not makes sense.I agree with one reviewer that the author's tone is dogmatic.I expect this author, as an academics, to sound less opinionated and more open minded.

After understanding what humanist means, I agree with the author that many forms of beliefs has qualities of humanism.However, I am not persuaded by the author that other forms of beliefs are necessarily wrong. I think I am 50% athetist and 50% agnostic.This book did not manage to suade me to the athetist camp.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pretty darn dull
This is a great book for an insomniac, it puts you right to sleep.It's too bad, because Lamont seems to have put in a lot of work reviewing his encyclopedia for vapid generalities about dead white men.

Specifically, the "philosophy of humanism" in Lamont's hands is an exercise in wool gathering, padding, and trying to look like he's saying something while saying as little as possible (but the same could be said for the Humanist Manifesto III).In addition, the book definitely shows a '50s mentality which has not been edited out of the later "editions."For Lamont, the '60s never happened.

The historical review probably has some value as a bibliography to more vital and lively works.Really, I'd like to be more positive, but I just can't find much to like about this book.By the way, I am a humanist.

4-0 out of 5 stars Primer on Secular Humanism
This book answers the "what" of secular humanism, but not the "why." So, if you're looking for a "debate" or treatise on why humanism is the better philosophy for humankind, you may not find everything you want in this book. What the book does offer is an explanation of specific humanist "tenets" and what implications arise from them. The book covers the definition and history of humanism and then goes into specification application as it pertains to: unity of "mind" and body, origins, science, reason, ethics, freedom, happiness and democracy.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is joyous reading! Enjoy!
The Philosophy of Humanism is a scholarly work, tracing the influence of Humanism from the ancient Greek philosophers through the Enlightenment and the Bill of Rights to the twentieth century. It is very well documented with reference notes and bibliography for those who prefer sources, yet itis written in a most readable style.

I heartily recommend this book toanyone who truly wishes to investigate and understand this oftenmisinterpreted philosophy. They will learn that Humanism certainly does notpromote witchcraft or the worship of human beings, nor does it advocateselfishness, as in the "me" generation, or for consciencelessmaterialism and ruthlessness, as is often falsely asserted by those whofear and misunderstand the principles of Humanism.

Rather, as Dr. Lamontpoints out, it promotes ethical behavior and respect for others, yet with afreedom of conscience unfettered by traditional supernatural beliefs.Humanists oppose censorship and insist on full exercise of the freedomsguaranteed by the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech and access toinformation. Humanists are devoted to democratic principles, the employmentof critical reasoning and scientific method, and the full recognition thatwe humans are products of continuing evolution.

The Creationists' wish tohold the line against the teaching of evolution in the public schools isunderstandable. Open scientific inquiry does not promote acceptance onblind faith; the scientist searches for evidence. It's a worrisome matterof indoctrination versus education.

Corliss Lamont was pleased to note,in the introduction to his sixth edition of this book, that so-called"moral majority" leader, Tim LaHaye, cited The Philosophy ofHumanism 36 times in his own book The Battle for the Mind, which denouncesHumanism as "amoral" and as "the most dangerous religion inthe world." An alarming "moral majority" pamphlet forparents asks: "Is Humanism molesting your child?"

Humanism isnot taught in any public schools, contrary to the religious right'saccusation, but is synonymous with a scientific method, that of aquestioning, open, approach to learning, using critical reasoning. Thismethod itself is seen as constituting the great danger: that of encouraginga child to examine and articulate values and concepts in an objective way,rather than accepting with blind obedience that which has been asserted bya power or authority.

The Philosophy of Humanism is the definitive workon the subject of Humanism, used as a standard text, and even as areference in the ongoing debate that swirls around the words "secularhumanism." This name, incidentally, (which is redundant inasmuch ashumanism is already secular, being not-religious), was coined in a SupremeCourt footnote (Torcaso vs. Watkins) that declared humanism similar toreligions, like Buddhism or Hinduism, that do not worship a supernaturalgod.

However, Dr. Lamont insists that Humanism is not a religion, but aphilosophy!

Instead of a personal salvation in some afterlife, Humanismemphasizes the present, the here and now, living to the fullest the onlylife we know we have. The Humanist projection into the future is not a wishfor immortality, according to Dr. Lamont, or survival of the personality insome mysterious spiritual realm, but instead focuses on a commitment to thelong-range benefit of those around us and those who live after us. Thesurvival of the best of our human endeavors, our species, our families, ourgenes is consistent with the Humanist outlook.

Dr. Lamont traces thefirst written record of the philosophy of naturalistic Humanism to ancientAthens in the fifth century BCE in the words of Pericles, who gave afuneral oration championing the cause of democracy and saluting the braveryof those fallen in battle without reference to a deity or a promise of anafterlife reward for their sacrifice.

This book explores the developmentof our very human need to explain the mysteries of the universe, beginningwith some of the most ancient concepts and leading up to present dayphilosophies. We share our human curiosity with our primate ancestors. Inthe absence of science in the childhood of humankind, we did what allchildren do: we made up stories to explain the phenomena which we observed,and which were incomprehensible to us, and therefore seemed akin to magic.Without science how could it have been otherwise?

Dr. Corliss Lamontdescribes Humanism as a philosophy of joyous service for the good of allhumanity that advocates reason, science and democracy. This book is joyousreading! Enjoy! ... Read more

2. Exodus to Humanism: Jewish Identity Without Religion (Philosophy and Literary Theory)
by David Ibry
Hardcover: 143 Pages (1999-04)
list price: US$26.98 -- used & new: US$14.50
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Asin: 1573922676
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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EXODUS TO HUMANISM: Jewish Identity without Religion

is aboutHow Humanism can help bring peace in the Middle East. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars It made me think!
After reading this book I asked myself:
What would happen when more and more people will realize that there is no God, no Heaven or Hell, no immortal soul and no divine revelation?
I hope that also the Jewish Identity, like the English, the German and the American identities will survive, because like the
English, the Germans and the Americans also the Jews have their own country again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Traumatic but true
David Ibry, an Israeli born Jew, exhorts all Jews to face the traumatic fact that all religions including the Jewish Religion, are obsolete and that a Jewish Identity based solely on an obsolete religion will sooner or later become obsolete.
The author maintains that a really secular Israeli model, retaining the great Jewish history and traditions, but without depending on religious belief for its nationhood, would help to save the Jewish Identity in the Diaspora.

5-0 out of 5 stars The dangers of religion
Yes,people are naturally inclined to antagonise those perceived
as different. Religions offer the opportunity to validate antagonsims and confrontations through messages which cannot be doubted because they are revealed from an infallible source.
Without religion people will still confront one another, but their antagonisms will becomeopen to human reasoning and compromise.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Starting Point
I think the most important aspect of this book, aside from the fact thatit is well written and unpretentious is that it starts the dialogue-- theinner dialogue one has with one's self and the one between one Jew andanother.Ibry astutely avoids providing pat, specious answers, insteadthrowing open the discussion to fellow Jews and admitting that it is, infact, a brave new world.Recognizing that old traditions and sentimentsare hard to leave behind, he reminds us that the Jews invented Judaism, notthe other way around.

The questions and opinions explored in this book,while specifically addressing the Jewish dilemma in the Twentieth andTwenty-first centuries, should also have appeal to anyone who feelsconstrained by the implausibility--if not outright absurdity--of a deity asdescribed in ANY western religious scripture.

If you're looking for aplace to begin your transitional journey from theism to rational thought,done with wit, intelligence and emotion, this is the place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can Jews rely onreligion for their identity?
This book aims at providing an answer to this question. Included with the author's observations and experiences are arguments and explanations from26 Jewish contributors who have either rejected Judaism or have neverbelieved in it, including Prof. Sir Isaiah Berlin, Prof. Sir Herman Bondi,Prof. Albert Ellis, Prof. Adolf Grunbaum,Rose Hacker, Prof. George Klein,Dr. Henri Morgentaler, Prof. Jean-Claude Pecker, Prof. Ernest Poser, Prof.Howard Radest, Claire Rayner, Prof.Evry Schatzman, Helen Suzman, and ArnoldWesker. The author is concerned about the survival of the Jewish identitywhen Jews will realize that the religion of Judaism is obsolete and has theguts to face the problem head on.I found it of great help because itopened my mind to the realities of our day. ... Read more

3. Humanism: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld Beginner's Guides)
by Peter Cave
Paperback: 208 Pages (2009-03-25)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.66
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Asin: 1851685898
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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With historical adherents including Shaw, Freud and Asimov, Humanism's central quest is to make sense of the world without God, using an appeal to shared human values, rationality, and tolerance. Essential reading for both atheists and believers, this Beginner's Guide will explain all aspects of Humanist philosophy, offering several persuasive arguments against God's existence, whilst providing an alternative and valuable conception of life without Him. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great introduction and a good read
Humanism is a fascinating topic, and Peter Cave manages to impart a wealth of information in the witty style of an after dinner speech. ... Read more

4. Humanism and Democratic Criticism (Columbia Themes in Philosophy)
by Edward W. Said
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2004-05)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$10.90
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Asin: 0231122640
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In the radically changed political atmosphere that has overtaken the United States-and to varying degrees the rest of the world-since September 11, 2001, the notion that cultures can harmoniously and fruitfully coexist seems like little more than a quaint fiction. In this time of heightened animosity and aggression, have humanistic values and democratic principles become irrelevant? Are they merely utopian fantasies?
Ever since the ascendancy of critical theory and multicultural studies in the 1960s and 1970s, traditional humanistic education has been under assault. Often seen as the intolerant voice of the masculine establishment and regularly associated with Eurocentrism and even imperialism, the once-sacred literary cannon is now as likely to be ridiculed as revered. While this seismic shift, brought on by advances in technological communication, intellectual specialization, and cultural sensitivity, has eroded the primacy of classical studies, Edward Said argues that a more democratic form of humanism-one that aims to incorporate, emancipate, and enlighten-is still possible.
Proposing a return to philology and an enhanced dialogue between cultural traditions as a strategy for revitalizing the humanities, Said contends that words are vital agents of historical and political change and that reading teaches people to continually question, upset, and reform. Intellectuals must reclaim an active role in public life, but at the same time the academic trend toward needless jargon and obscurantism must be combated, as must the dismissive, exclusionary forms of humanism exemplified by Allan Bloom, Harold Bloom, and Samuel Huntington. By considering the emerging social responsibilities of writers and intellectuals in an ever more interconnected world and pointing out that the canonized thinkers of today were yesterday's revolutionaries, Said makes a persuasive case for humanistic education and a more democratic form of intellectual criticism. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Said's last offering to the World
Of course this is one of Edward Said's last offerings to the world.Coming out of Columbia University Press where he taught for five decades, it offers a cogent sampling of Said's thoughts towards intellectuals and humanistic practice in America today.

One overarching theme of the book is simply that the humanities in no way represent a set doctrine of must reads, but rather consists of an organic canon perpetually open to new works, influences and analysis.Some of the spokesmen and advocates for a staid brand of humanism receive a healthy dose of criticism from Said; William Bennett and Allan Bloom specifically.A Closing of the American Mind is indeed exactly what happens when Bloom's thoughts are allowed to wash over the reader.Sam Huntington takes his share of well deserved criticism as well, which obviously relates to his orientalist musings about a clash of civilizations.

More than once Said writes specifically of the challenges, privileges and opportunities currently afforded to intellectuals committed to humanism who happen to reside in the United States.The fact that America is alone as the globe's sole superpower has a constant ubiquitous presence for intellectuals and those who espouse humanistic principles.At one point Said admonishes American humanism in general for being too wedded to a Eurocentric outlook.He points out that it is a bias that cannot remain unquestioned.American humanists are frankly too important because they are citizens, writers, artists and intellects living in the world's only remaining superpower.

Said devotes a chapter to an observation of cultural influences.Pointing out how writers, musicians and painters do not necessarily create or work on a tabula rasa because "the world today is heavily inscribed with information and discourse that crowds around one's individual consciousness."Primarily during the Cold War the CIA subsidized countless humanistic and academic conferences and journals.Humanism and Democratic Criticism goes on to explain that the CIA, while not totally dominating cultural life, has nonetheless had a strong influence.

Towards the end of the book a lengthy chapter deals with a thorough analysis and critique of Erich Auerbach's influential work Mimesis.Of which Said claims is the finest literary humanistic work of the last half of the 1900s.Passages are gone over with an emphasis on sociopolitical context taking into account a host of various factors.The analysis of Goethe and his influences on German fascism is astounding.

Humanism and Democratic Criticism should probably be read on a few different levels: 1.)For a sampling of the late Edward Said's ruminations on a topic he more than anyone else had the authority and expertise to dissect and expound on at length.2.)As a general academic treatment of an area of inquiry arguably more important now than at any time in the recent past.3.)Simply as the last book from one of the world's top intellectuals in history.

He is missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and nuanced
Despite its size, this brief collection of lectures comprises a nuanced and compelling argument of how to rescue the humanities from their growing marginalization and irrelevance.Calling for a return to philology and criticizing the jargon-laden obscuratinism and relativism of much of contemporary humanistic practice, Said nevertheless maintains the benefit of close readings of texts and a multiculturalism that consists of expanding the canon rather than tossing it out all together -- in contrast to the willful ignorance of other cultures advocated by the likes of Harold Bloom and Bernard Lewis.

Said also updates and expands on his views of the intellectual in public life which he touched upon in the series of lectures "Representations of the Intellectual."I found these parts quite interesting.However, if you don't hold the same views as the Old Left, you will need to substitute your own discontents for some of his particulars.

4-0 out of 5 stars A small book from my kind of scholar
This book lists from six to 22 references at the end of each chapter and includes an index on pages 145-154.Those who find the source of their ideals in humanism might expect to find Edward W. Said providing strong support for the political application of such ideals, as the final selection in this book, "The Public Role of Writers and Intellectuals" (pp. 119-144) was previously published in `The Nation' (2001).Lectures that were begun in January 2000 at Columbia University were expanded in October and November 2003 with delivery at Cambridge University, then revised for publication to address "a world of heightened animosities" (p. xvi) due to the unfortunate events of September 11, 2001.

I found Nietzsche more often in the text than in the (two) listings in the index, but the two listings in the index for "Vietnam War, 12-13, 34" merely suggest how much motivation can be wrung from "This Cold War cultural tension" in spite of the desire of those who wish to teach refinement above all else as "an unpolitical, unworldly, and oblivious (sometimes even manipulative) attitude to the present, all the while adamantly extolling the virtues of the past" in the choice of subjects for study.The situation breaks the hearts of those who get all fired up to do one thing, only to discover "that there are no jobs for them or that they have to teach many hours of remedial courses in several institutions as adjuncts or part-timers without health benefits, tenure, or prospects for advancement."(p. 14).This is so sad, it brings to mind how many people of the next generation found some mild recognition of their own intellectually tortured times by turning to comedy.In truth, when the loyalty of Americans is questioned, entertainers who can show some comic supernatural powers in a way that is far over the top of whatever level the late Edward W. Said (may he rest in peace) is on in his consideration of changes that occurred in the years he taught, prior to his death on September 24, 2003, are far more likely to be appreciated by the generation currently starting out in life, if the comic nature of everything that American society attempts is fully understood, than this overly serious summary of professional thinking. Columbia University even found its way into remarks that Ted Rall used to introduce himself to the Yale Political Union in New Haven, Connecticut, on December 4, 2003, just a year ago:

"Thank you for inviting me here tonight.As someone who has been both expelled by and graduated with honors from Columbia University, a place you rarely think about, I know that you'll accept the sympathies that I'd like to offer on behalf of a beloved Yalie George W. Bush. . . .Sadly, this middle-aged white man . . . finds himself, in the immortal closing voiceover from Kubrick's `Full Metal Jacket,' in . . ."(GENERALISSIMO EL BUSHO, p. 181).

The profane flavor of the knowledge that Ted Rall flaunts in his opening remarks is primarily a warning to those who might follow the political footsteps of their own times if comedy fails to deter such an outcome by showing that no one is being fooled unless such foolishness is freely chosen by those who fall for an immortal closing line.Said attempts to provide the same warning on an intellectual level by pointing out that "Immanuel Wallerstein has, over the last couple of years, been writing a sustained intellectual critique of Eurocentrism that serves my purposes here very well," (Said, p. 52).The lecture on philology begins with a comparison of the hermeneutics of language in Arab-Islamic culture with interpretation in Europe since Vico's NEW SCIENCE (1744) that brought about the insights of Nietzsche, Emerson, and Richard Poirier.After a number of attempts to describe close reading, we find the advice, "Only connect, says E. M. Forster, a marvelous injunction to the chain of statements and meanings that proliferate out of close reading."(p. 66).The goal of entering a text allows the reader "a component of personal commitment and extraordinary effort, called `ijtihad' in Arabic."(p. 68)."It is not surprising that since the fourteenth century there has been a robust struggle going on about whether ijtihad is permissible, to what degree, and within what limits."(p. 69).The danger of going too far "is what Swift parodies mercilessly in A TALE OF A TUB."(p. 69).

The intellectual tradition of exiles has much in common with a topic of a book of essays by Isaac Deutscher on "how great Jewish thinkers--Spinoza, chief among them, as well as Freud, Heine, and Deutscher himself--were in, and at the same time renounced, their tradition, preserving the original tie by submitting it to the corrosive questioning that took them well beyond it," (pp. 76-77).A humanist asserting anti-superpower values in America is prone to its own form of toughness, "maintaining rather than resolving the tension between the aesthetic and the national," (p. 78).

Chapter 4, Introduction to Erich Auerbach's MIMESIS, provides an example of an exile who wrote a major book in the German language while in Istanbul during World War II, but who then came to America to be a professor at Yale until his death in 1957.Auerbach also relied on Vico, who provided "a cycle that goes from primitive to advanced and degenerate epochs, then back to primitive, Vico says," (p. 91).There are some sweet instincts, and some not so sweet, and America today, as a place for thinking, confounds anyone who is seriously going to contend that this is being figured out.All that follows from the simple observation that America was attacked threatens to prevent any thought that would like to jump back to before that happened to try to arrange things a bit differently.It is even economically preposterous to try to think that this epoch is not totally degenerate.

4-0 out of 5 stars An elegant last work
These series of lectures represent Said at his most eloquent and heartfelt. Brief and therefore not as rigorously argued as his longer works, he makes his case for what studies of the humanities can be, in fact need to be in the 21st century. While making only cursory swipes at his usual opponents (Bernard Lewis, Harold Bloom)his book is more celebratory and admiring of the writers he has emulated and been influenced by: Eric Auerbach most prominently. An elegiac summa from a writer who will be missed. ... Read more

5. Philosophy of Mind and Cognition: An Introduction
by David Braddon-Mitchell, Frank Jackson
Paperback: 344 Pages (2006-11-27)
list price: US$40.95 -- used & new: US$24.56
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Asin: 1405133244
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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David Braddon-Mitchell and Frank Jackson’s popular introduction to philosophy of mind and cognition is now available in a fully revised and updated edition.

  • Ensures that the most recent developments in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science are brought together into a coherent, accessible whole.

  • Revisions respond to feedback from students and teachers and make the volume even more useful for courses.

  • New material includes: a section on Descartes’ famous objection to materialism; extended treatment of connectionism; coverage of the view that psychology is autonomous; fuller discussion of recent debates over phenomenal experience; and much more.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Braddon-Mitchell's Student of Philosophy of the Mind
I feel more than able to comment on this book, as a current student of Braddon-Mitchell's - Philosophy of the Mind course, run at the University of Sydney, Australia. Not only that, but I'm using it as a reference this instant in writing some research material.

This is of course a good reference for students but it has its flaws. I would not wholeheartedly recommend it to the novice philosopher or undergrad student. Not before browsing some other materials.

The book itself is based almost wholly on the way that David would run his course. In fact it does, they mirror one another almost totally. I have followed the course and examined the book and they coincide more than neatly. Whilst this is essentially dynamic, this is where its imperfections may show themselves.

As a lecturer might, there is philosophical bias and a tendency to forget that the subject matter itself is not independent. One might feel at times, that you are being taught the Right theory. There are critiques, but standing from an established point of analysis. I do not feel that it is engaging as Braddon-Mitchell is in his courses and certainly, it can be swamped in some vague sentences. It will require close reading or a good background in the discipline.

It is comprehensive book though, very in depth and reaching to the full extent, matters of cognition. I provide my criticism not to attack the book, but often with reviews, all that is mentioned is its content.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Psychology Undergraduate's View
Rather than treating Philosophy and Psychology as diverse subjects it is quite refreshing to see that there are still authors who introduce the subject of the mind to students of Psychology as the deep and absorbingsubject that it really is, and show that they do still walk hand in hand,no matter how scientific one of them may have become. Even though DavidBraddon-Mitchell and Frank Jackson appear to assume that their readers havea grounding in Philosophy as well as Psychology, they do so in a way whichwould encourage a mere novice to widen their knowledge, this will thereforemake the subject of Psychology far more interesting and forfilling, andthereby make the complicated subject of the Human Mind more clear. It isadditionally encouraging by the inclusion of a comprehensive glossary soeliminating over-referencing like other texts, but at the same time leadsinquisitive students into fresh fields where they can 'graze' on theklnowledge of the subject to their heart's content. Each school ofPhilosophy is clearly expalined and compared to it's sister, andsubjectively ctitisied. It moves from the pre-history of contemporaryPhilosophy of Mind - Dualism and Behaviourism, and early versions of theidentity theory of mind, through discussions on functionalism in its manyvarieties, consciousness and quili, instrumentalism and the autonomy ofPsychology, to topics such as eleminative materialism, individualism andthe problems of content and representation. The text according to theauthors, was viewed by students of the Philosophy of Psychology beforeprinting, this gives an air of originality to the book, which in turn wouldbe an ideal undertaking for other authors of literature relating to theever complex subject of Psychology. The nature and level of the discussionwithin the covers of the book make it and ideal foundation for anyundergraduate, and graduate, course in both Psychology and Philosophy. Thisbook is an up-to-date introduction to, and account of, the transition ofPhilosophy from a dry and sometimes non-understandable subject to acognitive science where investigation of theories is possible. It clearlyprovides students of Psychology, and Philosophy, with a clear and coherantpicture of the human mind, which can only be expanded. ... Read more

6. Death and Philosophy
Paperback: 224 Pages (1999-03-16)
list price: US$41.95 -- used & new: US$33.75
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Asin: 0415191440
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Death and Philosophy presents a wide ranging and fascinating variety of different philosophical, aesthetic and literary perspectives on death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book to Buffer a Dark Wind
In his introduction to the book, Robert C. Solomon rightly points out that if, as the ancients once asserted, philosophy is essentially concerned with death, then "contemporary philosophizing has failed to fulfil one of its essential functions, since death is a topic that is seldom addressed in contemporary philosophical discussion" (1).

Sure, many of the fashionable postmodernists have catchy titles that sometimes allude to death, but when you delve into their books, what you often end up with are lengthy discussions on the meaning of the word "but" or long-winded excursions into linguistics and semantics. The turgid, bloated prose is enough to make you think that the text you are reading is itself a corpse and, in terms of meaningful content, it might as well be. One starts to wonder if Ernest Becker's "The Denial of Death" has found its most obvious validation in philosophy that claims to speak about death, but then does little more than speak about speaking about death.

This book, on the other hand, keeps its promise and fills a void.Published by Routledge, in terms of readability and format, it might just as easily have been published by Blackwell or OpenCourt, the same folks that have been publishing books on popular culture and philosophy.You know the series: "Lost and Philosophy" or "Science Fiction and Philosophy." Inside, are fourteen solid, lucid essays about death: the moving testimony of an existentialist who died and was brought back to life; an edifying comparison of Western and Eastern ideas regarding death (by way of investigations of Daoism, Buddism, and other Asian traditions); a galvanizing look at the (flawed) argument against death by Elias Canetti; and a personal and profound reflection on the fear of death as a personal, social, and metaphysical phenomenon. This, to highlight just a few.

The authors draw primarily from the Existentialists and their influences: scattered about are some of the clearest explications of Heidegger that I have ever read. Moreover, references to Epicurus, Camus, Nietzsche, and Sartre abound. While a couple of the essays might be heavy going for the uninitiated, the book is clearly intended for an intelligent general audience (much like the above mentioned Blackwell/OpenCourt series). And while each of the essays is about death and mortality, the overall tone of the book is uplifting and empowering (Solomon's essay "Death Fetishism, Morbid Solipsism" especially). This may be because, as Confucious and Heidegger and Camus and Sartre and so many others have suggested (directly or indirectly), to die well one must live well.

Ironically, philosophizing about death is really philosophizing about life.To that end, this is a book that might just inspire you to live better.

Highly recommended. ... Read more

7. Intrapsychic Humanism: An Introduction to a Comprehensive Psychology and Philosophy of Mind
by Martha Heineman Pieper
 Hardcover: 298 Pages (1990-04)
list price: US$27.50 -- used & new: US$79.95
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Asin: 096249190X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Intrapsychic Humanism is a new, comprehensive generalpsychology and philosophy of mind that provides scientifically groundedand humanistic understandings of our human natures and our problems, aswell as realistic ideas about how to bring about positive, lastingchanges in ourselves and those for whom we care. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dangerous book
Intrapsychic humanism is a theory that promotes many basic social work ideals. Children are born with the belief that their parents are providing them with optimal care. Children are born without psychopathology. Therapy can help to change the way that one functions in the world. However, Intrapsychic humanism has at its core a way of viewing the world and oneself that is dangerous. According to IH, everyone who is not raised by a practicing intrapsychic humanist has psychopathology. The only way to ameliorate psychopathology is to receive therapy from an IH therapist. In other words, a therapist who receives IH treatment and consultation. This ridiculous view seems to do little but feed the egos of the authors. They have created the perfect solution, and everyone who has not experienced it (i.e., the rest of the world) has psychopathology. If the Piepers have the perfect solution for depression, self-sabotage, rage, schizophrenia, etc., where did it come from? Let's pretend, for a moment, that a perfect way of addressing the problems of society exists. How was it created in this imperfect world? If the Piepers created and practice a theory that is wholly experiential, (treatment or parenting creates mental health) where did their experience of IH come from? Was it divine inspiration? Piepers, let us in on your secret.

Intrapsychic humanism creates in the believer a lofty but ultimately lonely view of humankind. There are those who believe and practice IH, and then there is the rest of the world. This creates division between people, such as parents and partners of person in IH treatment. In many psychodynamic treatments, there is a period of time in which the client mourns the sub-optimal caregiving that they received. In intrapsychic humanism, this process is continually encouraged by the therapist. The client revisits their dissatisfaction with their parents because this relationship is the root of all psychopathology. Again, this process is often addressed in most psychodynamic theories, but then there is usually movement forward. In IH, the IH therapist will continually and subtly bring the client back to this mourning process by the identification of aversive reactions. Aversive reactions are self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors created by non-IH caregiving in childhood. So, if you miss a deadline at work after you have received a promotion, you have had an aversive reaction. You are told that a part of your mind did not feel that you deserved something positive due to your maladaptive upbringing that you idealized in youth. Thus, you are a victim. A victim of yourself, your parents and the psychopathology of others. How do you move beyond aversive reactions? You keep a watchful eye out for your own motivations and the motivations of others. This way of dealing with the world does not inspire trust in relationships with others or confidence in oneself.

The main healing agent in intrapsychic humanism is the relationship with the IH therapist or parent, the optimal caregiver. Mental health is judged by the degree of closeness that one has in the relationship with the caregiver. Again, the relationship with the therapist is a source of healing in most psychodynamic theories. If the client can build a relationship with the therapist, she can learn trust others as well. However, due to the negative worldview that is inherent in IH, the motives of others are called into question in comparison with the optimal caregiving motives of the therapist. Since psychopathology is defined so broadly in IH, the words and actions of others are under scrutiny. If a partner is not receiving IH therapy, or is unwilling to receive it, can their motives be trusted?

IH therapists also do not encourage communication with others to ultimately resolve misunderstandings. Intrapsychic humanists believe that conflicts in relationships are due to personal psychopathology. Natural and normal occurrences such as harsh words, raised voices etc. towards others is a manifestation of psychopathological motives. (Although the Piepers do make allowances for anger born of hunger or tiredness.) IH therapists do not believe that conflicts can be satisfactorily resolved when the other person is not in IH treatment, as their motives are influenced by psychopathology. Of course it is not at all productive or healthy to perpetrate or receive abuse, and no one should be encouraged to build a relationship with an abusive person. But, IH therapists do not see this distinction. So, instead of addressing an issue with your partner first, talk to your therapist. Communication, which I believe is the impetus for all personal growth is not encouraged. As a result, conflicts are not addressed and relationships can wither. Conflicts are borne of and create more psychopathology, according to IH. Growth, which I believe often comes as a result of the experience of conflicts and contrasts as an adult in chosen relationships, is not encouraged. It is regarded that if you choose sub-optimal relationships in adulthood, this is an outgrowth of your psychopathology. Since everyone has psychopathology, according to IH, who is one expected to befriend? Who is one expected to fall in love with? Partner with? And is that person in IH-therapy? Growth which comes as a result of releasing psychopathology through IH therapy IN SPITE OF sub-optimal caregiving recieved when young is recognized in this book as a unique and satisfying experience, in it's own particular way. However, it is not an optimal way to go through life, and for IH adherents, the goal is to provide a life for the next generation that is free of psychopathology. Of course, we all want our children to be happy, confident and to make positive choices in their lives. But often this confidence is due to observable, human mistakes made by one's non-abusive, loving parent.

I know of Intrapsychic humanist therapists whose relationships have deteriorated due to their beliefs. IH therapists must receive IH therapy and consultation. These requirements are costly, and create a financial burden upon the therapist and their partner. If the partner balks at the finances required to support an IH practice, they are viewed as not being supportive of their partner's career.

I speak from experience. I have studied this book in intrapsychic humanism study groups. I have received IH therapy. I have known IH therapists and people who have received this therapy. I do not think that intrapsychic humanism is harmful if practiced along with other theories. This belief, like anything, becomes detrimental if it is all that one believes, or if it is the only basis for clinical and personal decision-making. Through studying this book and others by the Piepers, they posit that their theory is THE WAY to free onself from unhappiness. I am careful now of any theory, point-of-view, religion that states that it is the only way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely life changing.....
IH provides the most solid answer to the question of the regulation of desire...Have you ever done something you had not intended....or Have you ever not done something you really did intend?Yeah, most people have.The optomistic ideals set forth in this text provide the blueprint for the next level of the evolution of humankind.One that will allow every human being to be able, some day, to answer "NO" to those two questions above.

Personally, my quest has taken me to the extents of modern religion, philosophy and psychology.To date, IH still provides a deeper insight and aswers questions that none have been able to ask heretofore.It is truly an elevation of Mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely sophisticated explanation of consciousness and min
This book is challenging to read because it provides a full explanation for the development of conscious experience and sets that explanation within the context of the history of philosophy and psychology. It alsoexplains how psychopathology develops and how psychotherapeutic treatmentworks under this model. It is deeply rewarding to read and its model of themind is logical and compelling. I found it best to read it once straightthrough and then read it slowly again. It continues to provide insight anda thought provoking perspective. ... Read more

8. The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor (SUNY Series in Philosophy)
Paperback: 284 Pages (1987-02)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$21.29
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Asin: 0887063276
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9. Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
Paperback: 300 Pages (2005-05-10)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.68
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Asin: 0812695739
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The comic book superheroes — Superman, Batman, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and many others — have proved to be a powerful and enduring thread in popular culture, a rich source of ideas for moviemakers, novelists, and philosophers. Superheroes and Philosophy brings together 16 leading philosophers and some of the most creative people in the world of comics, from storywriters to editors to critics, to examine the deeper issues that resonate from the hyperbolic narratives and superhuman actions of this heroic world. The comic book narratives of superheroes wrestle with profound and disturbing issues in original ways: the definitions of good and evil, the limits of violence as an efficacious means, the perils of enforcing justice outside the law, the metaphysics of personal identity, and the definition of humanity. The book also features original artwork specially commissioned from some of the most popular of today's comic book artists. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Considerations on the Relationship Between Philosophy and Pop Culture
A solid anthology of essays Featuring some 21 different authors but not outstanding.

For me some of the better essays came near the end with a solid but too short discussion of the multidimensionality of time travel and essays by Richard Hanley and the essays by Kevin Kinghorn. and Tom Morrison the nature of identity. James South's essay on "Barbara Gordon and Moral Perfectionism" was also a high point giving me a much deeper insight into the character than I had before.

On the other hand the essays on the Catholicism of Matt Murdoch/Daredevil or the Fantastic Four as a family unit seemed quite journeyman and mundane and the piece discussing Watchmen which seemed not much more than a plot summary. Jeff Brenzel's essay "Why are Superhero's Good" in the section on morality was interesting in its linking Plato's "Ring of Gyges" from Plato's Republic to the temptations of having superpowers and the trepidation of the characters in the Lord of the Rings towards the titular ring, a connection I'd never made but does not seem to go much further than say the Good and Evil are no much more than choices.

I'd recommend this for a library read but not for purchase unless you have a themed collection. For someone with a beginner's background in philosophy and an interest in recent renditions of classic comics this might make a nice gift.I rate it 3 1/2 stars.

In a similar vein Irecommend Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us About Ourselves and Our Society by Danny Fingeroth.

2-0 out of 5 stars Missed The Boat
This one just didn't do it for me.I have enjoyed 2-3 of the authors and some of Morris' work in the past, but this one fell flat. There is some heavy repetition in my mind amongst the collection of essays, super hero characters are repeatedly analyzed, and frankly I felt in a number of cases this book challenged me to take it seriously.If you are a big comic fan, pass, and if you are a big fan of Tom Morris, pass.

3-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking but limited
This book inspired me to ponder several concepts, but the views expressed as the chapter conclusions were often scantily supported.The book delved into some interesting topics such as identity and what it means to be moral, but several chapters were based on only one or two superhero characters or even one specific example from the superhero world.The book veered into religious philosophy more often than was warranted given the subject matter.I'm glad that I read this due to some insights it gave me into a few characters (esp. Batman and Superman), but I was disappointed due to the great potential a book of this nature could have.Superheroes and Philosophy is probably the only book based on the combination of these two loves of mine, so I am glad that I bought it.However, there are deeper volumes of the popular culture and philosophy series.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Superman and Batman are the Plato and Aristotle of the comic-book world."
"Superman and Batman are the Plato and Aristotle of the comic-book world." (262).

If you agree with this, if you understand it, and if you find it both funny and accurate, then get this book.


I'm a fan of the "Philosophy And" series.Philosophy lurks everywhere, if we have our eyes open.Additionally, Neil Postman in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business makes the case that television is a form of epistemology. The same holds true for comic books.Since epistemology is a branch of philosophy, and comic books are a means of epistemology, then they demand our attention.

The book is a fun romp, with serendipitous discoveries. If you are a fan of such things, they buy this book.

However, I would rate most of the essays about a B+, or an A-. They are interesting, but many times the authors fall into a methodological trap.Philosophy can be defined two ways.One is the study of what people have said about things.The other is the love of wisdom. Too often the authors seem to take ideas and quotes to bolster their points.And they are very good at compare and contrast. But for wisdom, especially the love of wisdom, this is lacking.

Chapter 17 on the identify question which uses the Hulk/Banner as a case study, ignores multiple personality disorders.For a good discussion of time travel, read Chapter 18 by Richard Hanley.

Part of the problem has to do with the structure.They should have begun with metaphysics.Chapter 1 should be an overview along with 11 on comic book wisdom. Chapter 2 should be chapter 1, and the followed by all of Part 4.Part 3 on moral duty should come next, followed by the existential discussions in part 2. Lastly, focus on the image of a hero and secretidentities.

On thing that surprised me is that so much morality traces itself back to the so-called God Hypothesis.Read "God, the Devil, and Matt Murdock," then chapters 12-16.The question raised (taking the lead from Socrates and Gyges's Ring), that if a powerful person can get away with evil, why not?Or from Republic Book 2 (Great Dialogues of Plato (Signet Classics), 158ff), compare an evil person who masks his evil with a good person who is labeled as evil, and they die that way.Why be good, if such a thing could conceivably happen.Although they do not mention him, this is the life of Job (Consider My Servant Job).

The conclusion of the various authors is that yes, you can get away it. And we find that disturbing. The only way to account for that is either Natural Law, or Divine Justice.Barring that, we should not be good.Which is absurd.


The prophet Job asked, "But where shall wisdom be found?" (Job 28:12). Apparently, one place is in comic books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Short, varied essays make for an entertaining look at Philosophy
I picked this book up from the library with the thought of skimming over it; however, once I started, I literally couldn't put it down! It's an entertaining and thought-provoking collection of essays on super heroes in TV, movies and comics, their ethics, responsibilities, lack of religion, and more. The various essayists do a great job of comparing classical ideas from Plato, Aristotle, Pascal, the Bible, Kierkegaard and more, and their impact on the imaginary world of super heroes. ... Read more

10. Discovering Secular Humanism: Answers for the Novice and the Curious (2nd edition)
by Jimmy Clay
Paperback: 100 Pages (2010-07-08)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$5.99
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Asin: 1452889570
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Secular humanism, do you really know what it is? Secular Humanism is a positive philosophy of life and living. It is a philosophy that seeks to embrace life and empower people to achieve the most from their life. It is a philosophy of reason, caring, and hope. It is a philosophy of the here and now. It is a philosophy for people and the society they live in. If you think you are a secular humanist or if you are just curious, this book has many answers and ideas for you . Go to my website for more information: https://sites.google.com/site/discoveringsecularhumanism/home. Or my blog at:http://discovering-secular-humanism.blogspot.com/*** Get out of your thinking rut and consider something new! ... Read more

11. Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianship
by André Cossette
Paperback: 102 Pages (2009-12-15)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$15.00
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Asin: 1936117177
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André Cossette's Humanism and Libraries is a concise but rigorous investigation into the foundations of librarianship-its definition and its aims. Philosophical and logical in its approach, it is intended to provide solid ground and unity for professional practice.Though the work was originally published in French in 1976 in Quebec by ASTED, Library Juice Press has found it to have enduring relevance and value, and has therefore made this English translation. The book includes a preface that makes the case for reading a work from the 1970s on library philosophy, and a set of "questions for reflection" following the text. ... Read more

12. A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life
by André Comte-Sponville
Paperback: 368 Pages (2002-09-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$1.99
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Asin: 0805045562
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this graceful, incisive book, writer-philosopher André Comte-Sponville reexamines the classical virtues to help us understand "what we should do, who we should be, and how we should live." In the process, he gives us an entirely new perspective on the value, relevance, and charm of the Western ethical tradition. Drawing on thinkers from Aristotle to Simone Weil, by way of Aquinas, Kant, Rilke, Nietzsche, Spinoza, and Rawls, among others, Comte-Sponville elaborates on the qualities that constitute the essence and excellence of humankind. Starting with politeness-almost a virtue-and ending with love-which transcends all morality-A Small Treatise takes us on a tour of the eighteen essential virtues: fidelity, prudence, temperance, courage, justice, generosity, compassion, mercy, gratitude, humility, simplicity, tolerance, purity, gentleness, good faith, and even, surprisingly, humor.

Sophisticated, lucid, and full of wit, this modestly titled yet immensely important work provides an indispensable guide to finding what is right and good in everyday life.
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Customer Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars a great "Grand Tour"
This is a great 'grand tour' of some of the virtues, at least the ones that Comte-Sponville deems important. Our views differ on theism and so too our views on the virtues covered. Intrinsically, this is a good detailed summary of the historical views as well to some degree. Much work went into this treatise, but much work remains to be done to fully understand the virtues, and their part in everyday life. If the reader is truly looking for a handbook on living the virtues in everyday life, in my humble opinion, this book will be of aid but will fall short on the answers.

Still... an interesting interpretation that will give a different perspective.

My Regards

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
It is n enjoyable and at the same time provocative reading. Sometimes it demands a certain background in Philosophy. One of the very few grweat books about the same issues available in English.

5-0 out of 5 stars Practical Philosophy, Both light and deep. Buy It.
André Comte-Sponville, A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues, translated by Catherine Temerson (New York, Holt Paperbacks, 2001)

The short of it is that this book will make you feel good about being good.

The long of it is:

I was doing a paper on `value ethics', and my experience was that in the world of professional philosophy, especially since 1903, with the publishing of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica and his promulgation of the `naturalistic fallacy', the consideration of values and character had virtually disappeared. This general impression was confirmed when I looked at a few scholarly ethics texts from the 1960's and they confirmed in plain speaking, that the study of ethics had become an analysis of language, given the King Kong sized influence of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Mighty Joe Young sized works of J. L. Austin, a direct descendent of the influence of G. E. Moore's style of philosophy.

But I kept following my nose and in a very recent ethics book by Terry Eagleton, Trouble With Strangers, he criticized both European psychologized ethics of Jacques Lacan and the 'high-toned' morality talk of law, right, duty, principle, and obligation traceable to Immanuel Kant. Eagleton also cited a relatively new collection of papers, Virtue Ethics, which headlined an important 1958 paper by Wittgenstein student, G.E.M. Anscombe on `Modern Moral Philosophy' which began a return to virtue ethics. The irony is that the flaw Anscombe pinpointed in moral philosophy is the absence of sound analysis in `philosophical psychology', a subject which always sounded odd to me, as the history of philosophy, especially from the ancient Greeks up to Descartes, was a spinning off of disciplines to children such as physics, mathematics, and psychology. But ethics, especially virtue ethics and the various flavors of Utilitarianism stand and fall by what they mean by mental states such as `pleasure' and `happiness'. So, in retrospect, I was not too surprised when I searched amazon.com for `virtues' and character, and came up with nothing but books on self-help, psychology, and `Christian values'. That last is no surprise, as the contemporary academic moral philosophy is all about rules and values for the group. It spends virtually no time on the moral perspective on the individual. But I did find one practical book on `moral values' which is a fitting complement to the new theoretical work on virtues. This is the book cited above, by a modern French professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne. According to the thumbnail biographical sketch, this book has been translated into 19 languages and has been a bestseller in France.

My very first reactions were that the book was not a superficially saccharine treatment of the subject and that it did offer serious reflections on the virtues which relied on thoughts from many great philosophers and essayists such as Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, Epicurus, Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant, Montaigne, Friedrich Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Spinoza, and Simon Weil. And those are just the high points. When the title says `great virtues, I half expect to find the seven virtues of Catholic theology or `the seven heavenly virtues' which contrast the seven deadly sins. Instead, I find eighteen, with far more congruence with Aristotle than with the church fathers. These eighteen, in a somewhat intuitive order, are:
(Sorry, Amazon squeezes out all the tabs and extra spaces)

Politeness Fidelity Prudence Temperance
Courage Justice Generosity Compassion
Mercy Gratitude Humility Simplicity
Tolerance Purity Gentleness Good Faith
Humor Love

The insight of prudence may have been one of Aristotle's greatest contributions to moral philosophy. It is the property which tempers the slavish devotion to rules to something which accurately reflects common sense in life.

One irony of virtue ethics is that on the one hand, it is seen as a means to establish a moral theory independent of a belief in God, while it also seems to be a far better embodiment of the Christian ethics of the Gospels than the rules based thinking of Kant or the `greatest good for the greatest number' utilitarianism of Mill. These are both `Apollonian' styles of ethics. Without checking my Nietzsche texts, I suspect `virtue ethics' is a more balanced mix of the Apollonian with the Dionysian, grounded in intuition, emotion, slightly unstable, and with an appreciation of the chaotic.

4-0 out of 5 stars eros - philia - agape
I enjoyed this book immensely, not the least for the wonderful quotes such as this one from Marcus Aurelius: 'Men are born for each other's sake, so either teach people or endure them'.

Comte-Sponville's focus is, of course, Western philosophy. And even though he professes to be an atheist there is much from Christianity and the classical religious writers. Perhaps I might have liked a wider reflection on the virtues as seen in diverse cultures - the East, of course, but also what we know of historic sophisticated societies (Maya, Khmer, Egyptian etc.) and less self-conscious societies (Maasai, Australian aboriginal etc.). Maybe that would have made the short treatise anything but short!

At the end of the book the big focus is on love - the greatest of the virtues. Once again classical ideas come to the fore (eros - love driven by physical intimacy, philia - love of friends and family, and agape - love of enemies). For me eros is never love. Love gives an opportunity to express eros, but most of the people I love I would never dream of having an erotic relationship with. For me philia is love. So what need do we have for agape - why divide philia? It would be easier not to have enemies - if that is achievable. I would like to think that I have no enemies and can afford philia for all I am close to. But I now realise that, while the individuals may not be my enemy (and I can feel philia for them), their actions often cause me great distress - often actions to third parties and not myself, third parties I do feel philia for. It is not the individual who is my enemy, it is their actions. Perhaps I need agape for those actions.

There is some discussion of God and how there can or cannot be a God. Most of this is logic based, as if even God must obey logic. I do not see that. God can exist and not exist at the same time - logic is a worldly constraint not a heavenly one.

Other recommendations:
The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience by Clifford A. Pickover
Conditions of Love: The Philosophy of Intimacy by John Armstrong

5-0 out of 5 stars A Small Treatise of the Great Virtues
An eztraordinary intelligent well written book, should be a must for everybody. The world would be a much better place. ... Read more

13. Toward a Philosophy of the Act (University of Texas Press Slavic Series)
by M.M. Bakhtin
Paperback: 132 Pages (1993)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$16.49
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Asin: 029270805X
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Rescued in 1972 from a storeroom in which rats and seeping water had severely damaged the fifty-year-old manuscript, this text is the earliest major work (1919-1921) of the great Russian philosopher M. M. Bakhtin. Toward a Philosophy of the Act contains the first occurrences of themes that occupied Bakhtin throughout his long career. The topics of authoring, responsibility, self and other, the moral significance of "outsideness," participatory thinking, the implications for the individual subject of having "no-alibi in existence," the difference between the world as experienced in actions and the world as represented in discourse--all are broached here in the heat of discovery. This is the "heart of the heart" of Bakhtin, the center of the dialogue between being and language, the world and mind, "the given" and "the created" that forms the core of Bakhtin's distinctive dialogism. A special feature of this work is Bakhtin's struggle with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Put very simply, this text is an attempt to go beyond Kant's formulation of the ethical imperative. Toward a Philosophy of the Act will be important for scholars across the humanities as they grapple with the increasingly vexed relationship between aesthetics and ethics. ... Read more

14. A Passion for Wisdom: Readings in Western Philosophy on Love and Desire
by Ellen K. Feder, Karmen MacKendrick, Sybol S. Cook
Paperback: 792 Pages (2004-02-28)
list price: US$80.40 -- used & new: US$80.37
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Asin: 0130494550
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A collection of short and excerpted works by the great thinkers of their day, this book focuses on the philosophy of love and desire. Excellent introductions offer readers brief biographies of the thinkers presented and provide historical context, enabling them to see connections and to appreciate the continuity across and the historical breaks among these works.This collection of readings cross a range of time periods (from pre-Socrates to living thinkers), present a selection of philosophical genres and styles, and address issues fundamental to philosophy.An excellent selection of popular readings on love and desire, this book is lively and engaging, making it an excellent choice for those readers with an interest in Western Philosophy. ... Read more

15. Themes in the Philosophy of Music
by Stephen Davies
Paperback: 284 Pages (2005-07-07)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$34.99
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Asin: 0199280177
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Representing Stephen Davies's best shorter writings, these essays outline developments within the philosophy of music over the last two decades, and summarize the state of play at the beginning of a new century. Including two new and previously unpublished pieces, they address both perennial questions and contemporary controversies, such as that over the 'authentic performance' movement, and the impact of modern technology on the presentation and reception of musical works. Rather than attempting to reduce musical works to a single type, Davies recognizes a great variety of kinds, and a complementary range of possibilities for their rendition. ... Read more

16. The Philosophy of (Erotic) Love
by Robert C. Solomon
Paperback: 536 Pages (1991-04)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$11.70
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Asin: 0700604804
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Stand still, and I will read to theeA lecture, Love, in love's philosophy.--John Donne

What does philosophy know of love? From Plato on, philosophers have struggled to pin love to the dissecting table and view it in the cold light of logic. Yet, as Arthur Danto writes in the foreword to this volume, "how incorrigibly stiff philosophy is when it undertakes to lay its icy fingers on the frilled and beating wings of the butterfly of love."

Love, elusive and philosophically intractable as it is, has long fascinated philosophers. In this collection of classic and modern writings on the topic of erotic love, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins have chosen excerpts from the great philosophical texts and combined them with the most exciting new work of philosophers writing today.

The result is a broadly conceived, comprehensive, and important work, nearly as stimulating and provocative as love itself. It examines the mysteries of erotic love from a variety of philosophical perspectives and provides an impressive display of the wisdom that the world's best thinkers have brought, and continue to bring, to the study of love.

In the end one loves one's desire and not what is desired.--Friedrich Nietzsche

Free love? As if love is anything but free!--Emma Goldman

I know of no more frequently cited word than love . . . Shouldn't this support the suspicion, along with rump-shaped hearts on bumper stickers . . . that in our language there may be no more bankrupt a word? Still these days bankruptcy does not prevent one from continuing to do very profitable business.--William Gass

Love is a kind of war, and no assignment for cowards.--Ovid

Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman . . . Even if no woman existed, it would still be possible to deduce from this unconscious image exactly how a woman would have to be constituted physically.--Carl Jung

Love as a virtue? The passion that makes fools of us all and has led to the demise of Anthony, Cleopatra, young Romeo, Juliet and King Kong? Love is nice but it is not a virtue. Maybe it is not even nice.--Robert C. Solomon

Contributions from: Plato, Sappho, Theano, Ovid, Heloise and Abelard, Andreas Capellanus, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Baruch Spinoza, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, G.W.F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Stendhal, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Carol Jung, Karen Horney, D. H. Lawrence, Emma Goldmann, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone deBeauvoir, Philip Slater, Shulamith Firestone, Irving Singer, Martha Nussbaum, Jerome Neu, Louis Mackey, Amelie Rorty, Elizabeth Rapaport, Kathryn Pauly Morgan, Robert Nozick, Annette Baier, William Gass, Larry Thomas, Ronald de Sousa, Robert C. Solomon. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Survey of Romantic-Erotic Love
Solomon, the Anglo-American philosopher, who takes Continental philosophy seriously, is the editor here, not the author. This wonderfully eclectic book surveys the Western perspectives on romantic and erotic love, starting in antiquity and continuing up to the modern day. While the focus is principally philosophical, other fields of inquiry like psychology, literature, and theology are included: E.g., Plato, Augustine, Milton, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Freud, etc. I couldn't imagine a better selection of primary texts.

Certainly, the primary intent of the book is to offer a comprehensive survey of romantic and erotic love for students enrolled in a philosophy of sex course. No better book exists for providing primary texts on this subject. (Cf., Sobel's "Philosophy of Sex.") But, in a general sense, we're all students of philosophy, and of all of philosophy's myriad disciplines, certainly love is the subject of widest appeal. In other words, this book is by no means limited to academia, although that's it's target market. We're all students of love.

Unfortunately, the best writer on the subject of romantic and erotic love is our editor. Solomon's own book titled "Love" is absolutely extraordinary (see, separate review). But that doesn't make this present volume any less valuable. In fact, I think that "Love" will be better understood, having this contextual survey under one's belt. Solomon's variety of primary texts is so diverse and highly representative that it's appeal should extend to all inquiries on romantic and erotic love.

5-0 out of 5 stars A little bit of everything
After having read a bit on the Greek's philosophy of love, I wanted to find something addressing heterosexual love. This book has a vast representation of theories on the topic of love. It is one of those books I will pick up often. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a place to begin your philosophical query regarding love.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Diverse Notions of Eros
This volume is one of the very best for its presentation of the wide varieties of writings about erotic love.The text is divided into four parts.The first includes classic writings on erotic love from authors living prior to the 20th century.Included among the authors are: Plato, Sappho, Theno, Ovid, Augustine, Heliose and Abelard, Andreas Capellanus, Shakespeare, John Milton, Spinoza, Rousseau, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Stendahl, and Nietzsche.

The second part of the book includes classic writings on love from those in the 20th century.Included here are the writings of Freud, Jung, Karen Horney, Rainer Maria Rilke, Emma Goldman, Denis de Rougemont, D. H. Lawrence, Sartre, Simon de Beauvoir, Philip Slater, and Shulamith Firestone.

The third section of the book offers contemporary essays that advance theories and notions proposed by authors of antiquity.Writers included in this part are the following: Irving Singer, Martha Nussbaum, Jerome Neu, Louis Mackey, Emelie Rorty, Elizabeth Rappaport, Kathryn Pauly Morgan.

The fourth part of the book includes essays that are more theoretical, including a number of new attempts to define and understand love.Authors in this section include Robert Nozick, Annette Baier, William Gass, Laurence Thomas, Ronald de Sousa, Robert C. Solomon.

Thomas Jay Oord

5-0 out of 5 stars Totally applicable through the centuries....
For those of you who are interested in philospohy in general, this book is an excellent collection of briefs from philosphers from Plato to Firestone. The most interesting aspect of this text is that it addresses the subjectthat most philosophy books refuse to touch upon - LOVE. Most often,philosophers are associated with their views on religion, politics, or thebasic human existence. This book is such a great treat to read because ofthe subject matter. Love is a subject in which we can all relate. The bookis approximately 3 inches thick, with excerpts from many differentphilosophers, but the great thing is that you can pick it up at yourleisure, read a few different excerpts, ponder the subject of love, and putthe book back down. It is not a book that you read cover to cover. Anotherinteresting aspect of the book is that no matter what your views on love orromantic love are, you will find essays that will either reinforce yourviews of the matter, or challenge your present thinking of the subject oflove. It covers topics such as misogyny, feminism, romantic love, marriageas more of a friendship than a romantic love, etc. I have been tickled,angered, saddened, pleased, and intrigued by this book. SO much so , that Ihave recommended it to friend after friend, and all have enjoyed it. It isnot necessary that you be a student of philosophy to understand this book.You just need to misunderstand love to gain from it's teachings. I believeyou will enjoy this book for years to come. I know I have. ... Read more

17. Debating Humanism (Societas)
Paperback: 123 Pages (2006-11-01)
list price: US$17.90 -- used & new: US$13.50
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Asin: 1845400690
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A cross-disciplinary dialogue among writers who are sympathetic to the humanist tradition, and interested in developing a new humanist project through debate. The book emerges from the Institute of Ideas' festival, the Battle of Ideas
... Read more

18. Contemporary Philosophy of Mind: A Contentiously Classical Approach (Volume 0)
by Georges Rey
Paperback: 384 Pages (1997-01-30)
list price: US$41.95 -- used & new: US$29.00
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Asin: 0631190716
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This volume is an introduction to contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind.In particular, the author focuses on the controversial "eliminativist" and "instrumentalist" attacks - from philosophers such as of Quine, Dennett, and the Churchlands - on our ordinary concept of mind.In so doing, Rey offers an explication and defense of"mental realism", and shows how Fodor's representational theory of mind affords a compelling account of much of our ordinary mental talk of beliefs, hopes, and desires. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Rey searches for the algorithm of mind.
Rey drops us into the middle of some contemporary debates in thephilosophy of mind. He often focuses on the attempts of other philosophersof mind to be 'eliminativists' or 'instrumentalists' with respect to themental states (states like beliefs and desires) that we are subjectivelyaware of by way of introspection. Rey suggests that people like Dennett arewrong to view "beliefs" as only being useful instruments by whichFolk Psychology allows us to predict future human behaviors. Rey thinkspeople like Paul Churchland are wrong to try to eliminate"beliefs" from the Science of Mind by replacing them with neuralnetwork processes.

What Rey offers is a spirited defense of 'mentalrealism', taking mental states like "beliefs" as the basis for analgorithmic description of how human minds work. Rey builds on Fodor'srepresentational theory of mind to produce his own version of aComputational/Representational Theory of Thought that tries to incorporateand extend our ordinary day-to-day world of mental experience: our beliefs,hopes, and desires.

Rey provides both an initial outline of his plan ofattack and a useful glossary of terms. Hequickly dances past "TheTemptations to Dualism"; anyone sympathetic to Chalmers or othermodern dualists will be disappointed with the brush-off dualism recieves.Rey's chief concern is fighting the forces of Eliminativism and issuingendless complaints about the weaknesses of trainable neural networks.Halfway through the book Rey finally makes clear that he is proposing atheory of thought that will have to be built upon some foundation (such asneural networks), but he is uninterested in developing such afoundation.

Rey wants to describe an algorithm by which sensoryexperiences (inputs) can be translated into abstract mental representations(elements of a Language of Thought) which can then be subjected tocomputational processes and so produce new representations and humanbehaviors (outputs). His formal system for doing this is the type of toyalgorithm that one commonly finds being offered in Freshman term papers bystudents who are getting their first exposure to artificical intelligenceor cognitive science. This is where most "realists" admit thatsomething must be done about the problem of getting semantics intosyntactical algorithms. Rey does not take up this challenge. Finally, Reysuggests how "Further Capacities" such as subjective quales mightbe incorporated into his theory.

Rey provides a clear statement of modernfunctionalism. Maybe Rey's level-headed methods will allow materialists togrant Rey's algorithmic approach to mind a place in the Science of Mind. Inthis age of mindless connectionistic models, we could sure use a viablecounter-balance at the high end of the brain/mind hierarchy. Only time willtell us if Rey's theory is viable or D.O.A. ... Read more

19. What Is Secular Humanism?
by Paul Kurtz
Paperback: 62 Pages (2007-06-27)
list price: US$9.98 -- used & new: US$5.32
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Asin: 1591024994
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Are there any ethical values and principles that nonreligious individuals can live by? In a time when many have forsaken otherworldly religions, what does human life mean? What is its significance? Secular humanism attempts to answer these questions in a way that resonates with human aspirations and the findings of science.

In this succinct, engaging overview of the secular humanist perspective, philosopher Paul Kurtz describes the many ways in which secular humanism's scientific, philosophical, and ethical outlook has exerted a profound influence on civilization from the ancient world to the present. Today many schools of thought broadly identify with humanist ideas and values. But Kurtz suggests that secular humanism is especially suitable for the needs of our increasingly secular world because it rejects supernatural accounts of reality and seeks to optimize the fullness of human life in a naturalistic universe. In tune with the most progressive trends of the contemporary world, secular humanism finds meaning in life here and now and expresses confidence in the power of human beings to solve their problems and conquer uncharted frontiers.

Kurtz concludes by emphasizing that secular humanism is a bold new paradigm, which weaves together many historical threads, while adding much more that is relevant to our rapidly emerging planetary civilization. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Very short and simple
I was very dissapointed with how thin this book was, but I figured I would give it a shot. I laughed when I saw how large the print was and how big the margins were. Also the author filled the books with unneeded photos. This book is more like a flyer on the subject and should really be free. Decent info, but not much of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Humanism!
I would like to add my voice to Kerry Walter's review that stated above, "All in all, probably the single best short introduction to secular humanism available."This is the perfect summary of secular humanism in all its aspects and agenda for a better world.Yes, there are "meatier" books, but for someone without a lot of time who wants to really know what this movement is all about, Kurtz's little book is just what they need!It's the most comprehensive short book I have encountered on the subject, and I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A small but packed book
There are few American philosophers better qualified to write on secular humanism than Paul Kurtz, and his What Is Secular Humanism? attests to that fact.This small book, which is actually the text of an article Kurtz wrote for the New Encyclopedia of Unbelief, is a very good primer on the conceptual structure of secular humanism.Perhaps because he's a philosopher, Kurtz doesn't merely offer assertions and descriptions (as other introductory texts on humanism--e.g., Jim Herrick's Humanism:An Introduction--do).Instead, he seeks to provide arguments that defend humanism's basic conclusions.

The substance of Kurtz's argument is the book's second half, "A New Paradigm" (in the first half, he offers a quick look at the history of humanism).According to Kurtz, the humanist paradigm has six main characteristics:(1) a scientific method of inquiry; (2) a naturalistic cosmology; (3) a nontheistic orientation; (4) a commitment to naturalistic ethics; (5) a commitment to democratic forms of governance; and (6) a commitment to international cooperation.It might be argued that several of these characteristics aren't really unique to humanism.But to give Kurtz his due, his point seems to be that the convergence of them all constitutes secular humanism.

In discussing these six characteristics, Kurtz especially shines in his treatment of naturalism and naturalistic ethics.In discussing naturalism, for example, he points out that "nature cannot be reduced simply to its material components; a full account also must deal with the various emergent levels at which matter is organized and functions" (pp. 26-27).In doing so, Kurtz avoids simplistic reductionism.When it comes to his defense of naturalistic ethics, Kurtz summarizes his position of objective relativism, which he elaborated on in his Forbidden Fruit:The Ethics of Secularism (reprint, 2008), and argues that "three key humanist virtues are courage, cognition, and caring--not dependence, ignorance, or insensitivity to the needs of others" (p. 38).

Kurtz concludes his book with an excellent four-page bibliography.All in all, probably the single best short introduction to secular humanism available.

5-0 out of 5 stars Are there ethical values and principles nonreligious individuals can live by?
Are there ethical values and principles nonreligious individuals can live by? Secular humanism attempts to address these principles and thus is an essential acquisition for any collection strong in linking spirituality to ethical and moral behavior patterns. It provides a blend of science, philosophy, ethics and spirituality that offers up new insights into both spiritual and humanistic behavior choices: perfect for college-level library acquisition and debate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent primer on modern secular humanism from the master!
The previous reviewer needs to understand that this really isn't a book per se; it is rather a primer or position paper on secular humanism, and as such, is quite excellent! ... Read more

20. African American Humanism: An Anthology
Paperback: 286 Pages (1991-08)
list price: US$29.98 -- used & new: US$14.93
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Asin: 0879756586
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Most people are quick to note the influence that religion has had on African-American history--its help in securing the freedom of slaves and its powerful role in the subsequent struggles by blacks for civil rights.But few are aware of the role played by humanism in the black experience.This ambitious collection of writings by and about black humanists breaks new ground by demonstrating the extent to which humanism and freethought have helped to assess, explore, interpret, and substantively develop the history and ideals of black intellectualism.

Part One offers biographical sketches of such prominent black humanists as Frederick Douglass (1817-1895), an emancipated slave who became a great abolitionist and political leader; Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927), possibly the greatest Afro-American intellectual of his time; and the revisionist historian and physicist Cheikh Anta Diop (1923-1985).

Part Two features essays by black humanists, including the American teacher and writer W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) on Christianity, and anthropologist and Harlem Renaissance novelist Zora Neale Hurston (1903-1960) on religion.

Part Three offers the views of contemporary African humanists, including Emmanuel Kofi Mensah and Freda Amakye Ansah, on African religion, education, and women's issues.

Part Four contains interviews conducted by Norm R. Allen, Jr., on the subjects of black humanist activism, the Afroasiatic roots of classical civilization, and the Harlem Renaissance.

Included are contributions by:Freda Amakye Ansah, Martin G. Bernal, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Michel Fabre, Charles W. Faulkner, Leonard Harris, David Howard-Pitney, Norman Hill, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ishmael Jaffree, Mike McBryde, Claude McKay, Emmanuel Kofi Mensah, Nkeyonye Otakpor, Joel Augustus Rogers, Melvin B. Tolson, Franz Vanderpuye, Ivan Van Sertima, and Kwasi Wiredu. ... Read more

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