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1. Existentialism Is a Humanism
2. What Is Secular Humanism?
3. Humanism: An Introduction
4. Discovering Secular Humanism:
5. Drama of Atheist Humanism
6. The Architecture of Humanism:
7. Integral Humanism
8. Humanism and Democratic Criticism
9. Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance
10. Scholastic Humanism and the Unification
11. The Arrogance of Humanism (Galaxy
12. Pedagogy and Praxis in the Age
13. Humanism of the Other
14. Humanism: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld
15. Christian Humanism and the Puritan
16. The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance
17. The Renaissance and English humanism
18. Sophocles: A Study of Heroic Humanism
19. Bioethics and Secular Humanism:
20. True Humanism.

1. Existentialism Is a Humanism
by Jean Paul Sartre
Paperback: 128 Pages (2007-07-24)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$5.21
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Asin: 0300115466
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Sartre accepted an invitation to speak on October 29, 1945, at the Club Maintenant in Paris. The unstated objective of his lecture (“Existentialism Is a Humanism”) was to expound his philosophy as a form of “existentialism,” a term much bandied about at the time. Sartre asserted that existentialism was essentially a doctrine for philosophers, though, ironically, he was about to make it accessible to a general audience. The published text of his lecture quickly became one of the bibles of existentialism and made Sartre an international celebrity.
The idea of freedom occupies the center of Sartre’s doctrine. Man, born into an empty, godless universe, is nothing to begin with. He creates his essence—his self, his being—through the choices he freely makes (“existence precedes essence”). Were it not for the contingency of his death, he would never end. Choosing to be this or that is to affirm the value of what we choose. In choosing, therefore, we commit not only ourselves but all of mankind.
This edition of Existentialism Is a Humanism is a translation of the 1996 French edition, which includes Arlette Elkaïm-Sartre’s introduction and a Q&A with Sartre about his lecture. Paired with “Existentialism Is a Humanism” is another seminal Sartre text, his commentary on Camus’s The Stranger. In her foreword, intended for an American audience, acclaimed Sartre biographer Annie Cohen-Solal offers an assessment of both works.
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Customer Reviews (9)

2-0 out of 5 stars Pretty but not worth it
I'll give this to you--the cover of this book is designed very well: hip lower case type, mysterious empty chair, and all those pebbles make for an alluring product. But the content didn't stand up to the cover. At one point perhaps this was an important, necessary work--but now this is Sartre defending his philosophy against claims no one is making to people who are soaked in existentialism from a young age. This is not Sartre giving a great introduction to his philosophy--that was not his goal: he sought to defend existentialism from its detractors, not to explain the niceties of the theory to them. If you want a primer on Sartre's philosophy and existentialism as a whole you would be better looking at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online (Sartre: [...]; existentialism: [...]).

What you're paying for here is a well-designed cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars An overview
This lecture gave me a better overview compared to other books I've read on the philosophy. It's worth buying, although it is a little short.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Clearest Statement yet of Sartre's Version of Existentialism
This short but extremely clear volume was one of the first opportunities after the war for Sartre to explain to a lay audience his version of Existentialism. It took place on October 29, 1945 when the then already very famous French philosopher was invited to the "Club Maintenant" to "promote literary and intellectual discussion." Sartre used this lecture as an opportunity to settle scores and to set the record straight by answering all his critics at once. They had, among many other charges, leveled the uncomfortable charge that Existentialism showed only the negative and pessimistic side of human nature, and therefore as a philosophy (concerned mostly with abandonment, anguish and anxiety), was thus itself very much devoid of humanity. Sartre took these charges rather personally and to better make his points, pitched the lecture to the least sophisticated of the audience. What results is a beautifully articulated and clearly translated formulation of Sartre's basic philosophy. He answers his critics with a biting flourish, in what is not only a clear exposition, but also a penetratingly coherent piece.

To wit: Existence precedes essence, and in any case is arbitrary. In this world, man is defined by the choices he makes and by his commitments to those choices. He does not define himself prior to his existence and exists only in the present, well beyond any concept of natural determinism. In Sartre's view, there is no human nature superior to that described here.

In short, there is no God; we have been abandoned to our fate. That point however should not be misconstrued as that Existentialism is only about Atheism. It simply affirms that even if a God existed, it would make no difference to our humanity. Human nature is not a self-congratulatory condition, but rather a fearful, uncertain, anguished and forlorn condition. Thus the real problem with our humanity is not with God's existence, but with man's own existence. Existentialism argues that man does not need a God so much as he needs to rediscover himself and to comprehend that nothing can save him from himself -- not even proof of the existence of a god. In Sartre's view, this understanding alone makes Existentialism, not only profoundly human, but also optimistic about human nature and the human condition.

But more to the point, according to this formulation, anyone who believes otherwise is actually acting in "bad faith." From the Existentialist's point of view, once man is abandoned to his own fate he can have only one true goal: freedom for its own sake. That is to say, he is abandoned to his own fate with freedom (and his commitment to it) as his only universal project. At the bottom of this project, choice becomes the root node of the human condition, and the very basis of his primary reality. And because there is no god, there can be no pre-determined good. Good, like meaning, morality, judgment and values, all must be constructed from scratch as an existential project. That is to say, these all emerge directly from having made the choice and commitment to be free. Thus man has another important choice to make: to proceed through his world in either "good, " or "bad" faith.

If he proceeds in "good faith, he will discover that life has no a priori meaning. In our quest for freedom we must make committed choices that result in the invention of meaning and values as we go. Life itself is nothing until (and unless) it is lived. It is we (and not our gods or our dreams and wishes) that gives life it's meaning. And values are nothing more than the meaning we ascribe to them through our actions.Thus proceeding in "good faith" means that things must be accepted as they are; one must learn to live an authentic life of action, taking responsibility for his own existence -- without the need for either crutches or excuses.

Proceeding in "bad faith," on the other hand, means living an inauthentic life, one based on fantasy, excuses, wishes, promises and mythology. According to this formulation, God is seen as the "grand executor" and "creator" of all meaning. And as a result, man's only responsibility (both to himself and to his god) is obeying God's will and edicts. From the Existentialist point of view this approach is a barren and a coward's way out, because it forces man to shrink from being responsible for his own existence. He chooses instead a kind of self-congratulatory fetishsized life of fantasized meanings.

The last chapter of the book also has a critique of Camus' "The Stranger," but I will leave that aspect for my own review of that book. Five Stars

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great First Hand Introduction to Existentialism
This book is really good for anyone who is interested in getting a solid understanding of the French school of Atheist Existentialism from a firsthand source.If you are like me, you hate reading primers, and other secondhand attempts to interpret or reduce a philosopher's work to simple arguments.This is a simple straight forward explanation, straight from the mouth of one of the foremost figures of Existentialism.I highly recommend it for anyone interested in getting to know about Existentialism without having to read an Existentialism for dummies guide.Sartre gives a clear and concise argument for his theories that should be understandable to most anyone, with or without a background in philosophy.Sartre's whole speech only goes on for about sixty pages, so this is by no means a difficult mountain of a work.At the same time, if you are already pretty familiar with Existentialism and the work of Sartre, this might very well feel like it adds nothing significantly new to the debate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Is Existentialism a Humanism?
Is Existentialism a Humanism?

"Is Existentialism a Humanism?" was the title of Sartre's famous lecture in October 1945 given to an overflow crowd and rapidly to become the talk of the left-bank cafes, then all of Paris and Europe.The talk started by proclaiming "existence precedes essence" which meant, he explained, that individuals create their own values because there is no moral order in the universe.This freedom is the ultimate value.The talk went on by echoing his book "Being and Nothingness".He gave the lecture to answer his critics among the communists and catholics.He needed to present a viable and relevant social philosophy in order to stand comparison with these two groups.He based his appeal on Kant's ethic of universal principles.He continued by arguing that we need a sense of responsibility for other people and society as a whole (which was different from his previous contentions).In asserting that Existentialism is a Humanism Sartre means that it places the human being at the center of its attention and at the apex of its value hierarchy. Our ultimate goal should be to foster the freedom of the individual.To read more about Existentialism see Thomas R. Flynn(2006) "Existentialism: A Very ShortIntroduction", Oxford University Press.
... Read more

2. What Is Secular Humanism?
by Paul Kurtz
Paperback: 62 Pages (2007-06-27)
list price: US$9.98 -- used & new: US$5.48
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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

3. Humanism: An Introduction
by Jim Herrick
Paperback: 105 Pages (2005-01)
list price: US$21.98 -- used & new: US$11.91
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Asin: 1591022398
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"It is a great pleasure to welcome Jim Herrick's book on humanism. His description of humanism is clear and concise, yet easy to read. It covers the important points in a sound manner without going into cumbersome detail."Professor Sir HERMANN BONDI, renowned British mathematician and cosmologist, King's College, Cambridge University, UK

"Jim Herrick insists that humanist optimism is neither blithely sanguine nor naively unrealistic--but rather, a sane and practical based upon a clear-eyed assessment and understanding of ourselves and the world....Definitely a book to own and certainly one to lend."NORMAN PRIDMORE, THE FREETHINKER

"A concise but comprehensive account of humanism, combing argument and defense with a wealth of factual information. A further merit of its comprehensiveness is that it avoids the narrow stereotypes of secular humanism as confined to dry rationalism. Whilst fully committed to rationality and the scientific worldview, Herrick successfully coveys that there is more to life and more to humanism, especially in his chapter on the arts."RICHARD NORMAN, formerly professor of moral philosophy at the University of Kent, UK, and vice president of the British Humanist Association

In this succinct, informative, and enlightening introduction to humanism--a philosophy that emphasizes the value of human life in all its creative potential within a secular context--Jim Herrick, a leading humanist advocate in Great Britain, provides a highly readable account of the guiding principles, history, and practice of humanism in today's world. Herrick surveys the tradition of humanism as it developed over many centuries, its skepticism toward belief in God and an afterlife, humanist values and arguments for morality outside of a religious framework, its attitude of tolerance toward different lifestyles and belief systems, its endorsement of democratic political principles, its strong ties to science, its evaluation of the arts as an exploration of human potential, and its concern for environmental preservation and the long-term sustainability of the earth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay.....
This book is okay, but some-what boring.It isn't as insightful as I thought it would be.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good starting point
I really regret paying $17 for this book, I should have looked at the number of pages before I bought it. I wouldn't really call this book an introduction. It's more of a starting point. It's like an outline, giving you bursts of breif information, very sketchy.
I will say, though, that its very objective and does make good points; its thought provoking.
What is really great about the book is that it lists many other works you can read for a more in-depth view of the specific topic. For example, it talks breifly about people that have had an impact on humanism throughout history, and if the few sentences about the person interest me, I can further research it myself. All of the names and novels are there to reference back on later.
But in general, if you're looking for an introduction that's a little more than an outline, I suggest finding another book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Overview of a Multifaceted Topic
Humanism is a term that often appears in the media but which is seldom defined."Humanism: An Introduction" by Jim Herrick could very well provide just about everything the average person would ever need to know about humanism.Short, succinct, and very readable chapters cover humanism plays its part in morality, religion, science, the arts, and even the environment.Chapters at the book's end tell of humanistic organizations' history and purposes.The chapter "Humanist Action and Humanist Living" tells how humanistic attitudes and values can be implemented outside the realm of academia.

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit too sketchy, even for an introduction
Introductory books are difficult to pull off.On the one hand, you want to present the subject matter in a way that novices can comprehend.But on the other hand, you don't want to dumb-down what you're writing about.As anyone knows who's ever tried to write an introductory text, this isn't an easy course to navigate.

Jim Herrick ambitiously offer an introductory exploration of a huge subject in his Humanism:An Introduction.Although Herrick is a good stylist and clear author, the result is mixed.He's at his best when discussing the history of humanism (chapter 2), humanistic responses to religion, morality and politics (chapters 3-6), and humanism and the environment (chapter 9).But he seems out of his depth in his exploration of humanism and science (chapter 7), his discussion of humanism and the arts seems platitudinous (chapter 8), and his rundown of institutionalized humanism (chapters 10 & 11) is boringly skip-worthy and way too long (taking up a full one-fifth of the book).Moreover, even the better chapters are short on argument and long on declaration.Finally, the book lacks a bibliography to guide further reading, an essential for any introductory volume.

So although Herrick's book isn't awful, there are better short introductions to humanism.Paul Kurtz's terse What Is Secular Humanism? (2007) may be the single best place to start.It's accessible but rigorous.Corliss Lamont's The Philosophy of Humanism (reprint, 1997) remains a classic, although dated in some sections.Margaret Knight's and Jim Herrick's Humanist Anthology From Confucious to Attenborough (1995) is a decent collection of primary sources.Finally, for those with a taste for Continental approaches, Sartre's Existentialism Is a Humanism (reprint, 2007) can't be beat.

3-0 out of 5 stars Offers an overview of humanism, but ...
it is one of the most boring books I have ever read.Perhaps that's why humanism is not that popular.What humanism needs is some mythic heroes :) ... Read more

4. 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

5. Drama of Atheist Humanism
by Henri de Lubac
Paperback: 539 Pages (1995-10)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.85
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Asin: 089870443X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Henri de Lubac, S.J. De Lubac traces the origin of 19th century attempts to construct a humanism apart from God, the sources of contemporary atheism which purports to have moved beyond God. The three persons he focuses on are Feuerbach, who greatly influenced Marx; Nietzsche, who represents nihilism; and Comte, who is the father of all forms of positivism. He then shows that the only one who really responded to this ideology was Dostoevsky, a kind of profit who criticizes in his novels this attempt to have a society without God. Despite their historical and scholarly appearance, de Lubac's work clearly refers to the present. As he investigates the sources of modern atheism, particularly in its claim to have definitely moved beyond the idea of God, he is thinking of an ideology prevalent today in East and West which regards the Christian faith as a completely outdated. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Proposes an ancient-oriented Christian Humanism as an Alternative
I was given this book several Christmases ago back in my apologetics craze.I guess I started reading it with the wrong expectations.Once I dropped apologetics things began to make more sense.The book divides into three or four sections.First, Henri de Lubac gives a thorough (if at times dense) analysis of the major atheist leaders: Marx, Feurbach, and Comte, Comte providing a foil for a brief Christian response.He thoroughly outlines and deconstructs Comte.

The next section is on Dostoevsky the prophet.Compares and contrasts Nietszche. Sheds a lot of light on some of Dostoevsky's lesser-known works.

The final section is "Search for a New Man."The first part of this is rather good.He gives several brief, short critiques of "progressivism" and ends with a plea for a new Christian Humanism. His criticism of Marxism's historicism is perfect (and too long to post here.His discussion of "the supernatural" was sublime.

The supernatural is not a higher, more beautiful, or more fruitful nature...it is the irruption of a wholly different principle.The sudden opening of a kind of fourth dimension, without proportion of any kind to all the progress provided in the natural dimension (466).

The final part of the book is about Nietszche's mystical experiences.Aside from a few good quotes here and there, I found it to be rambling.

Maybe not the best intro to Henri de Lubac, and certainly not the easiest book to follow, but one that is definitely worth reading and will certainly repay multiple readings.

5-0 out of 5 stars I like de Lubac
Very long read, but well worth it. de Lubac is a brilliant scholar, and he has a plethora of knowledge and piercing insights on those men on the cover of the book and their thinking.It is not so much a refutation of atheism as it is a refutation and critique of the ideas that some very prominent atheists held (Comte's positivism, etc).Believe it or not, I have actually never read a non-fiction book, but de Lubac has piqued my curiosity to consider reading The Brothers Karamazov because of his discussion of Dostoevsky as a prophet and precursor to Nietzsche.A very good read, and has made me want to read more de Lubac.

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant analysis of key 19th century thinkers who paved the way for aggressive neo-atheism,

De Lubac's anlaysis of Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Comte and Marx illusrates that "where there is no God, there is no Man either" and that postitivism, marxism and variant philosophies, in seeking to model a new man, agressively independent of God, result in a nihilistic tyranny of man over man. Its De Lubac's sympathetic handling of these lunatic ideas and their exponents, Nietzsche,in particular (who de Lubac sees as haunted by Christ), which gives the book balance. If you wish to understand why we are living in an age where atheism has become more militant and aggressve, then De Lubac's book make you realise that what we are experiencing now is the culmination of many centuries of alienation of western thought from the Logos, who unites all things in himself. His treatment of Dostoevsky (a counterbalance to the other thinkers) is particularly illuminating.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful
This book is very well written as well as very well documented. Those who read this book should be somewhat read in the works of Kierkegaard, Marx, Comte, and most importantly Nietsche and Dostoyevsky.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
This is the book that first got me interested in religion.It is an outstanding discussion of Comte, Marx & Nietzsche.After reading this, the reader may want to read Kung's Does God Exist? and Baum's Doctors ofModernity: Darwin, Marx & Freud. ... Read more

6. The Architecture of Humanism: A Study in the History of Taste
by Geoffrey Scott
 Paperback: 194 Pages (1999-06)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$11.21
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Asin: 0393730352
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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A classic text in architectural and art historical theory. Reissued in trade format with a new introduction, The Architecture of Humanism offers a brilliant analysis of the theories and ideas behind much of nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture. It discusses the classical tradition as reflected in the architecture of Renaissance and Baroque Italy and the role given the human body in that tradition. It is recommended reading for all architecture students, and essential for those interested in the revival of classical architecture. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
Since Notre Dame has the only classical architecture school curriculum in the country, it is obvious why this is required reading for entering students.This is an impassioned defense of the humanist tradition, written just before the Modernist deluge.Anyone interested in the theory behind classical architecture should buy this book.It clearly demolishes fallacies of art criticism committed even today.

1-0 out of 5 stars Where are my missing pages???!!!!
I'm reading this book for History or Arch class and have a paper due in two days.I get to page 146 and the next page is 163???What gives???How am I supposed to get this read and right a paper on it now??????

2-0 out of 5 stars The Architecture of Humanism: A Study in the History of Tast
I read this book over thirty years ago when I was an architecture student at the University of Oregon and had a dificult time undestanding the text.I tried to read it again about ten years after graduation and couldn't develop any excitement or enthusiasm for the book.It is very difficult to understand and is written in somewhat tedious style. ... Read more

7. Integral Humanism
by Jacques Maritain
 Paperback: 328 Pages (1974-02)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 0268005109
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8. 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

9. Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe (New Approaches to European History)
by Charles G. Nauert
Paperback: 266 Pages (2006-05-29)
list price: US$32.99 -- used & new: US$25.38
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Asin: 0521547814
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this updated edition of his classic account, Charles Nauert charts the rise of humanism as the distinctive culture of the social, political and intellectual elites in Renaissance Europe. He traces humanism's emergence in the unique social and cultural conditions of fourteenth-century Italy and its gradual diffusion throughout the rest of Europe. He shows how, despite its elitist origins, humanism became a major force in the popular culture and fine arts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the powerful impact it had on both the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. He uses art and biographical sketches of key figures to illuminate the narrative and concludes with an account of the limitations of humanism at the end of the Renaissance. The revised edition includes a new section dealing with the place of women in humanistic culture and an updated bibliography. It will be essential reading for all students of Renaissance Europe. ... Read more

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4-0 out of 5 stars Studia Humanitatis
The first sentence of the Introduction sets the tone: "The last thing readers want from the authors of history books is arcane historiographical debates among contending schools of interpretation." Charles Nauert delivers what readers want: an enjoyable yet scholarly explanation of the birth, growth and death of Humanism in Renaissance Europe. The first sentence was at first irritating for me, because much of the first quarter of the book is devoted to demolishing myths about humanism, and in the rest of the book, the accuracy of contemporary views is often questioned. But irritation is fitting, because Humanism itself was irritating for the medieval status quo. There is no doubt that the author is an example of the questioning critic that was typical of the great Humanists. (It is also irritating that Nauert accepts an outdated view in a closing remark, namely that England "led the way" to the new European culture where science replaced old ways of thought. This was a pan-European phenomenon led by no individual country, as has been shown by Jonathan Israel's research on the Enlightenment.)

Granted the many misconceptions, what exactly was Renaissance Humanism?

It was a culture with a specific historical perspective. It strongly favoured an educational curriculum based on studia humanitatis, which Cicero defined as a broad range of subjects that one must study to develop one's full potential as a human being, to develop social values and to develop the necessary oratorical skills of the elite. The curriculum included grammar, poetry, rhetoric, history, politics, and moral philosophy. Humanism meant replacing Medieval Latin and Greek with their literary forms from Antiquity.

Humanism rejected the Scholastic's gullible, unquestioning acceptance of ancient (and often faked) texts. Scholastics tended to construct sterile rationale arguments using quotations from ancient writings without regard for context. Humanists invented historical criticism and proved important documents to be fakes, such as the Donation of Constantine, forged four centuries after Constantine. (Nauert mentions that even after the forgery was clearly proved the Roman Church continued to refer to it as if it was authentic. How little things change.)

Compared to the high civilization of Rome and Greece, Petrarch defined the centuries since the decline of Rome as dark and barbaric. Humanists wished to learn from and revive the greatness of the Classic and early Christian ages in the form of a cultural renaissance. They wanted to reform and "create a better future by capturing the essential qualities of Antiquity." Along with contextual interpretation, Humanism recognised cultural relativism. Humanism started despite the Universities and had a long battle to establish influence within Universities and to change curricula. This fight sparked the Humanist innovation of using the printing press as a weapon."Petrarch, Valla, Machiavelli and Erasmus pioneered in defining the role of the intellectual as conscience, gadfly, critic" and outsider.

Early Humanism, which existed only in Italy, emphasized civic duty and commitment within society and was "symbiotic" with republicanism (e.g., Machiavelli's Discourses). However, the motivation for parents pursuing Humanist educations for their children quickly focussed on ladder climbing.

Humanism was not the same as individualism, but it did admire the potential for excellence in human nature. Machiavelli's negative views were an exception.Although its critical stance was valid and its push for reform was earnest and successful, Humanism was never a philosophy and as such never offered an alternative to earlier philosophies. With time it was apparent that Humanism's hope to use ancient greatness to solve contemporary problems was misplaced. This motivated an unfortunate trend among some Late Humanists to seek answers in magic, as had the ancients. Post-Humanism and the Early Enlightenment began with Descartes and Bacon and soon thereafter Spinoza. Naubert cites Bacon's remark "that the Greeks and Romans represented not wise conclusions of Antiquity but the premature speculations of the callow youth of the human race" as "simply unthinkable in any generation before his own." Progress would be for the Enlightenment.

My comments:

Naubert does not explain the origin of the term "Renaissance man". The term is not mentioned. I found the portrayal of da Vinci to be thin, especially because of da Vinci's phenomenal genius in art, science and engineering - an ideal Renaissance man. On the other hand, the passages on Erasumus make for exciting reading.

The author shows that the "switch" from Medieval to Renaissance was a long process, but the influences before Petrarch are only briefly mentioned. Nothing is said of the influence of Islam as a foundation for the Renaissance. A student is left unaware even of the existence of the Golden Age of Islam, which among other things was crucial for rescuing and maintaining much of the ancient literature that Humanists revered.

It seems ironic that Humanism was focussed on reform yet required huge time investments to learn Latin and Greek, whereas Scholasticism was stagnant yet emphasised logic. Being logical should lead to reform much more than learning ancient grammars. But the real difference was that Humanism promoted high culture and critical thinking whereas the Middle Ages can be (roughly) characterised by ignorance, simplistic acceptance of historical documents and a lack of inquisitiveness.

Humanism was certainly an improvement, but once the classic literature had been restored, translated and widely published, what was the point of forcing children to learn classic languages? It was mainly for social distinction. It took about nine years to master Latin and several more years to master Greek. After the great achievements of the early Renaissance, this time investment had no practical justification. The typical Renaissance curriculum was restricted to "safe" literature, unlikely to raise questions - hardly what Petrarch was aiming for. Only rare individuals such as John Milton achieved greatness thanks to this learning. The example of Shakespeare showed what could be achieved without such an extreme time investment and by use of vernacular translations. Whereas the Dark Ages relegated most of the intelligent minds of Europe to mindless drudgery, the Late Renaissance led to centuries of wasting intelligence on learning grammars of questionable usefulness. It's a pity today that we can't all enjoy the original versions of classics, and surely interesting secrets are hidden in manuscripts in various libraries, but it's sad to observe how foolishly parents and schools invested children's time until recently.

4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Nauert does an exceptional job of making accessible a vaporous topic.In the process he dispells many "myths" that would otherwise cloud the subject.He establishes humansim as an "intellectual approach" and not a philosophical method.From this stance, he can demonstrate the mulitple and contrasting manifestations of humanism.His section on Petrach is exceptional.Beyond the sonnet, Petrach developed the notion of historical change.This would prove critical in the humanistic approaches to interpretation of texts.All this may sound dry, but if your interests include intellectual history, this is one of the most accessible surveys I've seen. My one criticism is the lack of emphasis on the sharp contrast humanist education and the drudgery of scholasticism. More here could have emphasized the appeal of humanism to younger generations. ... Read more

10. Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe: Foundations: Aims, Methods and Places (Scholastic Humanism & the Unification of Europe) (Volume I)
by R. W. Southern
Paperback: 352 Pages (1997-09-16)
list price: US$41.95 -- used & new: US$33.89
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Asin: 0631205276
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to produce a definitive body of knowledge that would be as perfect as humanity's fallen state permits, and which would provide a view of God, nature, and human conduct, promoting order in this world and blessedness in the next. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Goes on my shelf of favorite books
For those interested in the history of Western thought, this is a readable, scholarly treatment of the beginnings of the "12th century renaissance".It gives one a three-dimensional sense of the important intellectual developments of the period, focusing on the roles of the universities, the masters and the students of the time.Southern takes the mystery out of the institutions and conditions which fostered Scholasticism and provides an understanding of how the flowering of intellectual life could and did take place.You will want to read the next volume in the series as soon as you finish this one. ... Read more

11. The Arrogance of Humanism (Galaxy Books)
by David W. Ehrenfeld
Paperback: 304 Pages (1981-02-05)
list price: US$39.99 -- used & new: US$20.49
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Asin: 0195028902
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Attacks nothing less than the currently prevailing world philosophy--humanism, which the author feels is exceedingly dangerous in its hidden assumptions. ... Read more

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3-0 out of 5 stars The Umwelt of Ehrenfeld
"The arrogance of humanism" by David Ehrenfeld isn't a stringent philosophical book (which I assumed), but rather a personal statement by the author himself - and perhaps his wife Joan. Nothing wrong with that, but the book feels a bit meandering and disjointed.

Ehrenfeld writes from a Jewish-Christian perspective, and frequently quotes rather unusual sources, such as "Lord of the Rings" or "The Silmarillion". He also has a crush on George Orwell, whom he regards as one of the few humanists who understood the problems of his own philosophy. To the author, "humanism" is essentially a religion, which replaces the belief in God, Nature or the supernatural with belief in Man, or rather the ability of humans to become more or less omnipotent (and, by implication, god-like). Secular readers might have an easier time appreciating the author's argument if "humanism-as-religion" is replaced with "modernism", "the current paradigm" or some such designation.

Ehrenfeld believes that *control* is at the basis of the humanist project: control over nature, society and ultimately over humans themselves. The author believes that such control is impossible, indeed that the very complexity of the technological-administrative apparatus exercising the control will tend to make the system break down. He discusses various absurd examples of the belief in complete social engineering, including a book which "discovered" that Black slaves in the antebellum South were really well off, a bizarre study attempting to predict (to the day, no less) when riots will break out in British prisons, and the dream of Artificial Intelligence. Perhaps inevitably, many examples of this Zeitgeist are mined from science fiction literature, including Skinner's utopian novel "Walden Two" and Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy" (Seldon's psychohistory). Other examples are perhaps outdated, such as the claim that MBD is a fraud.

The main chapters deal with environmental destruction, which the author (a biology professor) believes is connected to humanism. He is especially critical of the modern conservation movement, which attempts to save animals, plants or wilderness areas with the argument that they are somehow economically valuable to humans. Ehrenfeld doesn't deny that there are indeed endangered species out there which may have some previously unknown value as a resource, or that some areas are aesthetically enchanting to tourists, and hence boost the tourist industry. However, he feels that this is beside the point. There are species that probably don't have any particular value to man whatsoever: "An example of such a non-resource is an endangered amphibian species, the Houston toad, Bufo houstonensis. This lacklustre little animal has no demonstrated or even conjectured resource value to man; other races of toad will partly replace it when it is gone, and its passing is not expected to make an impression on the Umwelt of the city of Houston or its suburbs". Ehrenfeld's point, of course, is that we should adopt something along the lines of Aldo Leopold's land ethic, according to which all species have an inherent value to exist, regardless of their actual or potential use for man. Such a perspective requires a break with the religion of humanism.

Ehrenfeld takes on the dream of "clean energy" by pointing out that even if some kind of clean fusion can be invented, the real test comes later, when the energy generated is put to use. The author believes that "clean" energy will be put to the usual, destructive uses and simply speed up the process of environmental destruction and high-tech madness. Nor is he very optimistic about space colonies, pointing out that such complex systems will sooner or later suffer a break down, probably killing everybody onboard. And why do we want to move out to outer space, anyway? Because Earth have turned uninhabitable, perhaps...?

Other chapters deal with the relation between emotion and reason, misanthropy and the future of humanism. Needless to say, Ehrenfeld is pessimistic, and believes that the best we can hope for (short of a supernatural intervention) is a great depression which destroys most of the global financial and technological systems, throwing humanity back to a time of local self-reliance. Humanism isn't going to mend its ways voluntarily. Ehrenfeld makes a comparison to Frodo in "Lord of the Rings", who couldn't destroy the ring of power. It was inadvertently destroyed by Gollum, who was really under its spell. In the same way, humanism will be broken only by one of its products.

"The arrogance of humanism" isn't the most graceful book around, and you probably heard most of it before, if you are versed in deep ecological literature. However, as a personal statement of David Ehrenfeld's Umwelt, in Houston or otherwise, it may have some interest.

1-0 out of 5 stars Neither balanced nor reasoned
The value of this book lies in its thorough portrayal of the views of an antihumanist. Beyond this, the book is little more than a long, monotonous harangue. The social, economic, and environmental evils addressed have little or nothing to do with either secular or liberal humanism. The direct criticisms of humanism are pale imitations of older, more scholarly works, for example "The Dialectic of Enlightenment" by Horkheimer and Adorno.

5-0 out of 5 stars As a Humanist...
As a humanist, I realize the impact we have on the world.Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won a Nobel in 2007. The Kyoto Protocol was initially adopted in 1997. David Erhenfeld published this book in 1981. David Ehrenfeld's visionary text, The Arrogance of Humanism, is a seminal book in the history of a environmental and socioeconomic movement that is finally being realized by the global population.Read it now, so you may understand what we face in the near future.

3-0 out of 5 stars As a Humanist...
I myself am a humanist. Though I am immediately inclined to judge this book without reading it, I won't because of my humanist principles. I'll give it an average three star rating for now and try to find an e-book. the Arrogance of a $32.00 book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Balanced and reasonable analysis of pressing issues
Dr. Ehrenfeld counsels a balance of emotion and reason, and models exactly what he advises, in a moving and intelligent analysis of much of what we face on a broad variety of fronts, in the environment, education and child-rearing, biotechnology and politics.His courageous review of all facets underlying our modern "unease" and his attempt to achieve wisdom, even beyond knowledge, is noteworthy and closely adheres to reality. The writing is eloquent and incisive, and evokes the highest capacities in the reader and thinker to join the dialogue with heart and mind open and awake.Thank you for a brave, powerful and important consideration of how to where we are proceeding. ... Read more

12. Pedagogy and Praxis in the Age of Empire: Towards a New Humanism
by Peter McLaren, Nathalia Jaramilo
Hardcover: 220 Pages (2009-01-14)
list price: US$147.00 -- used & new: US$147.00
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Asin: 9077874852
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Written by two leading international exponents of critical pedagogy, this book is a pioneering attempt to create a Marxist humanist and feminist pedagogy for the new century. Critical pedagogy is discussed as an important revolutionary act in bringing about a socialist future. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Call for Action
Written by two collaborative leaders in the field of critical pedagogy, Pedagogy and Praxis in the Age of Empire: Towards a New Humanism furthers attempts to make the pedagogical more politically informed. The authors' deep personal engagement with the discourse of critical pedagogy creates a work that addresses the ever-shifting realities of the field and schooling itself. Grassroots constituencies have the power to contest curriculum and policies and grassroots education movements are needed across the world. In their visits with radical teachers and scholars in the United States, Canada, and many other parts of the world, the authors have found that capitalism, education, and technology go hand-in-hand. In this book, critical pedagogy is well-argued as a vehicle of great consequence in the construction of a socialist future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Invigorating!!
Critical, committed, and creative, the emotional and intellectual impact of Peter McLaren and Nathalia Jaramillo's new book is both disorienting and powerful. The collection of essays and the accompanying authors' photo travelogue illuminate the vital struggle for critical educators today in the face of neo-liberal globalization. McLaren and Jaramillo suggest that while critical educators continue to attack standardized testing, pedagogical authoritarianism, rote learning, and the silencing of student voices, they have not overwhelmingly challenged the formal structure of the capitalist system, combating the privatization and businessification of schooling. The task of critical educators today is to work with students to build revolutionary consciousness, never abandoning a vision for the radical transformation of society.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Done!
This is an intelligent, passionate and eloquent book. A great resource for understanding marxist humanist philosophy and its relation to educational praxis. It keeps you engaged while challenging previously held thought. Wonderfully thought-provoking. Well Done!

5-0 out of 5 stars A teacher in the Beautiful Struggle
This is a fabulous book that impassions the heart, inspires the soul and challenges the mind. The authors make explicit the connection between neo liberalism, race, class, religion and critical pedagogy. This book is important because it gives us a blueprint for changing the world through the hearts and minds of students and teachers to build a better world. I love the photos it really humanizes the authors. This is a must read for those who want to do more than perpetuate the status quo through education.

5-0 out of 5 stars Critically Mapping Educational Futures
In a time of educational decay, McLaren and Jaramillo's latest book is an eloquent yet incisive effort that offers an unparalleled voice of clarity and hope to critical educators across the globe. Charting the continuing rise of neo-liberal approaches in education, the authors of Pedagogy and Praxis in the Age of Empire provide readers a panoramic view of global capitalism that helps situate projects for educational liberation in the United States within the larger struggle against rampant imperialism, permanent war, and forms of racial and gender oppression. Ranging from the Bush administration's xenophobic response to hurricane Katrina, the imperial occupation of Iraq, corporate media's oligarchic manipulation of public knowledge, and the Right's evangelical political project readers will be able to more accurately map and understand current educational policy such as NCLB within the framework of a broader historical and political context. Particularly timely is McLaren and Jaramillo's analysis of neo-liberal citizenship. As they convincingly point out, the distortion of what democratic citizenship is in the neo-liberal era of public schooling is one of the paramount challenges facing the project of critical pedagogy today. As a pioneer in the field of critical pedagogy McLaren's teaming with co-author Jaramillo, an emerging and powerful new voice from within the educational Left, combines into a powerful blend of critical perspectives that is highly relevant to the contemporary moment of educational crisis. In addition to the incisive analyses, and theoretical clarity, this book is also an aesthetic pleasure, giving a unique visual narrative of the authors' lived political engagement along with the written. This book is sure to be widely discussed and admired within educational theory as well as with educators and scholars across diverse disciplines. ... Read more

13. Humanism of the Other
by Emmanuel Levinas
Paperback: 136 Pages (2005-10-18)
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Asin: 0252073266
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In "Humanism of the Other", Emmanuel Levinas argues that it is not only possible but of the highest exigency to understand one's humanity through the humanity of others. In paperback for the first time, Levinas's work here is based in a new appreciation for ethics and takes new distances from phenomenology, idealism, and skepticism to rehabilitate humanism and restore its promises. Painfully aware of the long history of dehumanization that reached its apotheosis in Hitler and Nazism, Levinas does not underestimate the difficulty of reconciling oneself with another. The humanity of the human, Levinas argues, is not discoverable through mathematics, rational metaphysics, or introspection. Rather, it is found in the recognition that the other person comes first, that the suffering and mortality of others are the obligations and morality of the self. ... Read more

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3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but non-essential Addition to Levinas Literature
A new translation (by Nidra Poller) of Emmanuel Levinas' 1972 collection of essays originally entitled Humanisme de l'autre homme.The three Levinas essays/chapters included are "Signification and Sense" (first published in 1964), "Humanism and An-archy (1968), and "Without Identity (1970).The text also includes a lengthy introduction by Richard Cohen.

The first chapter, one of Levinas' major considerations of language and method, is by far the most important text of the three.It has been previously translated and published (under the title "Meaning and Sense") in two prior collections of Levinas' writings--the Collected Philosophical Papers, and the Basic Philosophical Writings. The essay moves adroitly though a quasi-historical analysis of the signifier, considered first as a linguistic term inadequate to the task of fully expressing the signified, and second, as a saturated signifier, expressing a super-abundance of significations, and finally, as the face of the other person, whose signification belongs to another, primordial order of meaning--and thereby, opens upon another sense of language.The essay is also noteworthy for its parallel development of methodological differences between Levinas and other major phenomenologists, especially Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty.

The last two essays in Humanism of the Other also appeared in the Collected Philosophical Papers (translated by Al Lingis), and are remarkable primarily for articulating Levinas' response to the (largely) French debates over humanism and culture during the 1960s.They are not among his better essays, however.

The new translations by Nidra Poller correct some inaccuracies in the earlier Lingis translations (though the Lingis renderings are still more readable, in many places, than are Poller's), but none of those corrections are as significant as Cohen's "Introduction" to the text would have readers believe.Cohen's introductory essay (some 35 pages in length) is longer, in fact, than any of the Levinas essays it ostensibly introduces.It does provide an interesting account of the 1929 Cassirer/Heidegger encounter in Davos, but it suffers in both tone and content from what are becoming somewhat tiresome and formulaic criticisms of Heidegger.

In short, this volume is a welcome addition to the bookshelves of Levinas scholars and students, insofar as it preserves the structure of the original text and offers new translations of its chapters, but neither the reworked translations nor the edition itself justifies its purchase by readers who can obtain the same essays (and more) by purchasing the Collected Philosophical Papers or who are interested in reading more important and representative Levinas writings than those included in this volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars A word of warning--you may already own this book
All five of the essays collected and (re)translated in this volume, _Humanism of the Other_, have previously appeared as chapters in Levinas' _Collected Philosophical Papers_, edited and translated by Alphonso Lingis (Duquesne Univ Press, 1998:ISBN#:0820703060). That is not to say that the essays here collected are no good. The new translation is self-avowedly more accurate to Levinas' French than the Lingis translation.

With the above proviso in mind, the five essays collected and published as _Humanism of the Other_ are wonderful representations of the radicality of Levinas' notions of ethics. Of particular is the essay "No Identity." Students and scholars of Levinas in particular and Continental ethics in general are well served by being or becoming familiar with this work.

The introductory essay by Richard Cohen is very clear and worthy of a serious reading in its own right. Cohen is a top-notch Levinas scholar and translator. ... Read more

14. 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$8.55
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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

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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

15. Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order (Ideas in Context)
by Margo Todd
Paperback: 304 Pages (2002-11-07)
list price: US$58.00 -- used & new: US$52.20
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Asin: 0521892287
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Traditional views of puritan social thought have done a great injustice to the intellectual history of the sixteenth century. They have presented puritans as creators of a disciplined, progressive, ultimately revolutionary theory of social order. The origins of modern society and politics are laid at the feet of zealous English protestants whose only intellectual debts are owed to Calvinist theology and the Bible. Professor Todd demonstrates that this view is fundamentally ahistorical. She places puritanism back in its own historical milieu, showing puritans as the heirs of a complex intellectual legacy, derived no less from the Renaissance than from the Reformation. The focus is on puritan social thought as part of a sixteenth-century intellectual consensus. This study traces the continuity of Christian humanism in the social thought of English protestants. ... Read more

16. The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
Paperback: 338 Pages (1996-02-23)
list price: US$34.99 -- used & new: US$27.12
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Asin: 0521436249
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Beginning as a movement based on the recovery of ancient texts, and archaeological study, humanism turned into a dynamic cultural program, influencing almost every facet of the intellectual life of the Renaissance.The fourteen original essays in this volume deal with all aspects of the movement, from its origins in Italy to its manifestation in the literature of More, Sidney and Shakespeare. Overall, The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism provides a comprehensive introduction to a major movement in the culture of early modern Europe. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A Superlative Compendium of Italian Humanism
The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism provides readers with a useful collection of essays that discuss humanism from its origins in late medieval Italy up to its impact upon the literature of Elizabethan England.In essence, this is a remarkable and insightful compendium on Italian humanism; and it will be supremely beneficial to impressionistic students and accomplished scholars alike.The only fault to this volume is that it does not sufficiently handle northern humanism.True, it rightfully pays a particular respect to the grandiose surge of English poetry during the 16th-17th centuries.However, everyone knows that Northern Humanism was a far greater phenomenon than that, for it was a movement that touched every facet of European society and then molded it.So it is sad to say that these essays only offer minimal lip-service to northern enthusiasts like Erasmus, More, Colet, Melanchton, Rhenanus and Estiene, whose vision of humanitas was just as clear as Pico's, Petrarch's, or Valla's.Regardless of this, it may be estimated that the chairman, the committee and the worthy scholars who wrote, edited, and compiled these essays had viable reasons for leaving much of northern Europe's role in humanism untold, as it is a subject in itself that calls for a complete volume of its own. ... Read more

17. The Renaissance and English humanism (The Alexander lectures)
by Douglas Bush
Paperback: 139 Pages (1968)

Asin: B00089V3PY
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18. Sophocles: A Study of Heroic Humanism
by Cedric H. Whitman
 Hardcover: 302 Pages (1951-01-01)
list price: US$18.50
Isbn: 0674821408
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19. Bioethics and Secular Humanism: The Search for a Common Morality
by H. Tristram, Jr. Engelhardt
Hardcover: 206 Pages (1991-10)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$135.00
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Asin: 1563380005
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20. True Humanism.
by Jacques Maritain
 Hardcover: 304 Pages (1970-03-26)
list price: US$43.95
Isbn: 0837129028
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