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The Philosophical Rhetoric of Socrates' Mission
Socrates' account of his "mission" on behalf of the god at Delphi is one of the most memorable parts of his most famous memorial in Plato's Apology. But it is also controversial as to what it means to Socrates and what it should mean to readers of Plato's text. First, there is the curious fact that the story occurs nowhere outside the competing versions of Socrates' defensespeech in Plato and Xenophon, and in the latter version the oracular report differs significantly in content and import: there the Pythia proclaims, not that no one is wiser than Socrates, but that no one is more generous or more just or more "soundminded" (sophron), and Xenophon's Socrates uses this as evidence that he "outshone the rest of mankind" and "deserves congratulations from gods and men alike" (Apology 14-18). Furthermore, the sequence of events that make up Socrates' "mission" is itself difficult to discern, from its apparent prompting by the oracular message to Chaerephon, to Socrates' initial effort to refute it, to his ultimate practice of elenchos in order that the oracle (or, at least, his interpretation of the oracle) might remain unrefuted. Not surprisingly, it was already a matter of controversy in the third century BC, as we read in the above quotation from Plutarch's Moralia.
by Mark Basil Tanzer, published by Wadsworth (2007)
ON EXISTENTIALISM introduces the fundamental tenets of existentialism, focusing on the existentialist denial of the claim that the world is rationally structured. With reference to the seminal thinking of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre, the book is divided into two main chapters, one focusing on existentialist ontology and the other on existentialist ethics. Unlike most books introducing existentialism, ON EXISTENTIALISM is less concerned with presenting the reader with a wealth of detail regarding what the philosophers examined have said, and more concerned with presenting arguments for their most fundamental claims.
Heidegger: Decisionism and Quietism
by Mark Basil Tanzer, published by Humanity Books (December 2002)
In this rigorously argued and clearly written discussion of these crucial questions regarding Heidegger's thought, philosopher Mark Basil Tanzer argues that Heidegger's questioning of rationality and his rejection of objectivity did not cause him to abandon the idea of norms, or to embrace the arbitrariness of irrationality implied by his critics. Tanzer suggests that Heidegger's critics have fundamentally misunderstood his idea of freedom, the key to which lies in Heidegger's notion of resoluteness. Understood as the individual's realization of freedom or the activity by which Dasein becomes what it properly is, resoluteness is essentially a moral criterion that is indeterminate but violable. Freedom is thus highly constrained through resoluteness. In this way, Heidegger's idea of freedom is quite different from the typical existentialist notion of freedom as unrestricted arbitrariness. This profound yet accessible analysis makes a major contribution to Heidegger studies.
Dewey: A Beginner's Guide
by David L. Hildebrand, published by Oneworld (2008)
Dewey: A Beginner's Guide is a critical introduction to the major areas of John Dewey's philosophical thought: psychology, epistemology, ethics, politics, education, aesthetics, and philosophy of religion. The author of over forty books across a range of topic, Dewey’s legacy remains not only through the works he left us, but also through the institutions he founded, which include The New School for Social Research in New York City and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Hildebrand’s biography brilliantly interweaves the different strands of Dewey's thought, and examines the legacy he left behind.
Beyond Realism and Antirealism: John Dewey and the Neopragmatists
by David L. Hildebrand, published by Vanderbilt University Press
Perhaps the most significant development in American philosophy in recent times has been the extraordinary renaissance of Pragmatism, marked most notably by the reformulations of the so-called "Neopragmatists" Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam. With Pragmatism offering the allure of potentially resolving the impasse between epistemological realists and antirealists, analytic and continental philosophers, as well as thinkers across the disciplines, have been energized and engaged by this movement.
"David Hildebrand's attempt to restate Dewey's central message is intelligent, well-informed, and well-argued, as are his polemics against what he takes to be Putnam's and my own misunderstandings of Dewey."-- Richard Rorty, Stanford University
"Beyond Realism and Antirealism packs a double punch. Mobilizing a meticulous study of early twentieth-century classical pragmatism, Hildebrand engages the key neopragmatic positions of Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam. Then, driving his own thesis home, he offers what he terms Deweys' 'practical stance' as a corrective to the limitations of the linguistic turn."-- Larry Hickman, Director, The Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
"Pragmatism was 'revived' in the 1970s and 1980s and was led at once into philosophical dead ends that John Dewey had already skillfully dismantled. Now, David Hildebrand corrects the record; provides an informed, splendidly argued, indispensable part of the recovery of Dewey's analysis of realism-still hardly bettered by anyone today."-- Joseph Margolis, Temple University
Philosophy Imprisoned: The Love of Wisdom in the Age of Man Incarcerated
Philosophy Imprisoned shows Western philosophy’s relationship with prisons stretches from Plato’s own incarceration to the modern era of mass incarceration. It draws together a broad range of philosophical thinkers, from both inside and outside prison walls, in the United States and beyond, who draw on a variety of critical perspectives (including phenomenology, deconstruction, and feminist theory) and historical and contemporary figures in philosophy (including Kant, Hegel, Foucault, and Angela Davis) to think about prisons in this new historical era. The powerful testimonials and theoretical arguments are appropriate reading not only for philosophers and prison theorists generally, but also for prison reformers and abolitionists.
Addiction: A Philosophical Perspective
Addiction: A Philosophical Perspective argues that addiction should be understood not as a disease but as a phenomenon that must be understood on many levels at once. Employing a complex dynamic systems approach and philosophical methodology, Shelby explains addiction as an irreducible neurobiological, psychological, developmental, environmental, and sociological phenomenon.