With contributions from David ARMSTRONG, Stefano CAPUTO, François CLEMENTZ, Pascal ENGEL, Herbert HOCHBERG, Philipp KELLER, Jonathan LOWE, Jean-Maurice MONNOYER, Kevin MULLIGAN, Stephen MUMFORD, Frederic NEF, Peter SIMONS, Barry SMITH, Jonathan SIMON
How many times have you heard arguments like these for why God exists? Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God provides simple, easy-to-understand counterpoints to the most popular arguments made for the existence of God. Each chapter presents a concise explanation of the argument, followed by a response illustrating the problems and fallacies inherent in it. Whether you're an atheist, a believer or undecided, this book offers a solid foundation for building your own inquiry about the concept of God.
William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience brings together twenty lectures on the nature of religion, delivered at the University of Edinburgh between 1901 and 1902. Renowned at the time for their practical and even-handed approach to the human experience of religion, the lectures form a sympathetic and analytical portrait not of the church, but of the personalized experiences of religious life. James examines the words of writers and philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Plato to Ralph Waldo Emerson to Marcus Aurelius in his investigations of faith, the soul, and systems of belief. Praised by philosopher Charles Pierce for its “penetration into the hearts of people” and by the New York Times for its ability to stir the sympathies of readers, The Varieties of Religious Experience is a lucid and thought-provoking examination of man’s encounters with God.
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Whether it’s assessing the class-consciousness of Christianity or the convulsions of consumer capitalism, dueling or home-furnishing, Status Anxiety is infallibly entertaining. And when it examines the virtues of informed misanthropy, art appreciation, or walking a lobster on a leash, it is not only wise but helpful.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
First published in 1975, Animal Liberation created a sensation upon its release, shaking the world’s philosophical and animal-protection circles to their cores. Now, forty years later, Peter Singer’s landmark work still looms large as a foundational and canonical text of animal advocacy. Arguing that all beings capable of suffering deserve equal consideration, Singer contends that the only justifiable treatment of animals is that which maximizes good and minimizes suffering. In examining the cruelty of factory farming and the exploitation, both commercial and scientific, of laboratory animals, he identifies a kind of “ethical blindness” and calls for political action.
A moral wake-up call from one of the most influential and controversial ethicists of our time, Animal Liberation tackles an emotionally charged social issue with a compelling rational argument in a rousing and riveting read.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Peter Singer, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.
Familiar to philosophy students through the centuries, The Critique of Pure Reason is in many ways Kant’s magnum opus. First published in 1781, it seeks to define what can be known by reason alone without evidence from experience. Kant begins by defining a posteriori knowledge, which is gained through the senses, versus a priori knowledge, or self-evident truths understood without the benefit of experience. He then examines these two types of knowledge in the context of analytic and synthetic judgments, using the relationship between them to conclude that through reason alone, humans are capable of reaching deep universal truths. Kant then demonstrates how—even as much of the world around us can never be truly known—the laws of the universe are in fact made possible by the human capacity for reason itself.
Sparking intense and lasting discussion, The Critique of Pure Reason remains essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the ideas that, since their initial publication, have gone on to shape much of Western philosophy.
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After he finished school, René Descartes was left with more doubts than certainties. His Jesuit education included some of the best teaching available in mathematics, physics, and letters, and yet Descartes found the foundations of his schooling hollow. Determined to discover for himself what was real, he spent the next nine years traveling through Europe, interacting with locals of all walks of life, including nobles, soldiers, and laborers, in search of the breadth of experience that would later inspire his greatest work: Discourse on Method. When it was first published, the book offered a remarkable new approach to gaining knowledge based on reason and skepticism, the steps for which Descartes lays out sequentially, from the deconstruction of all previously held beliefs to the slow and methodical rebuilding of fact anchored in the first and most innate truth: I think, therefore I am.
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The world is increasingly unthinkable, a world of planetary disasters, emerging pandemics, and the looming threat of extinction. In this book Eugene Thacker suggests that we look to the genre of horror as offering a way of thinking about the unthinkable world. To confront this idea is to confront the limit of our ability to understand the world in which we live – a central motif of the horror genre.
In the Dust of This Planet explores these relationships between philosophy and horror. In Thacker's hands, philosophy is not academic logic-chopping; instead, it is the thought of the limit of all thought, especially as it dovetails into occultism, demonology, and mysticism. Likewise, Thacker takes horror to mean something beyond the focus on gore and scare tactics, but as the under-appreciated genre of supernatural horror in fiction, film, comics, and music. This relationship between philosophy and horror does not mean the philosophy of horror, if anything, it means the reverse, the horror of philosophy: those moments when philosophical thinking enigmatically confronts the horizon of its own existence. For Thacker, the genre of supernatural horror is the key site in which this paradoxical thought of the unthinkable takes place.
The cover of In the Dust of this Planet can be seen in a New York gallery, on a banner at the 2014 Climate Change march in New York and on Jay-Z's back promoting Run. The book influenced the writers of the US TV series True Detective and has been lambasted by ex-Fox News broadcaster, Glenn Beck in this podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IW8OK4_1gQ
"West . . . may well be the pre-eminent African American intellectual of our generation."—The Nation
"The American Evasion of Philosophy is a highly intelligent and provocative book. Cornel West gives us illuminating readings of the political thought of Emerson and James; provides a penetrating critical assessment of Dewey, his central figure; and offers a brilliant interpretation—appreciative yet far from uncritical—of the contemporary philosopher and neo-pragmatist Richard Rorty. . . . What shines through, throughout the work, is West's firm commitment to a radical vision of a philosophic discourse as inextricably linked to cultural criticism and political engagement."—Paul S. Boyer, professor emeritus of history, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Wisconsin Project on American Writers
Frank Lentricchia, General Editor
Led Zeppelin, who bestrode the world of rock like a colossus, have continually grown in popularity and influence since their official winding up in 1980. They exasperated critics and eluded classification, synthesizing blues, rock, folk, rockabilly, funk, classical, country, Indian, and Arabic techniques. They performed the alchemical trick of transmuting base led into gold—and platinum—and diamond. They did what they would, finding wisdom through personal excess and artistic self-discipline.
“Not a coda to Zeppelin’s legacy, but a blast of metaphysical graffiti as relevant today as the first time we heard the opening chords of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. From Kant to ‘Kashmir’, from Freud to ‘Fool in the Rain’, Calef and company explore Zeppelin’s music in an introspective, suggestive manner worthy of both a blistering Page solo and a bawdy Bonham stomp.”
—BRANDON W. FORBES, co-editor of Radiohead and Philosophy
“Led Zeppelin’s albums, personalities, live performances, art work, myths, influences, and more, all come under the microscope. Compelling insights and observations add more depth to a subject that continues to thrill and inspire. Each chapter is driven by an unquenchable thirst for Zeppelin knowledge and pulls the reader deeper into the world of Led Zeppelin . . .”
—DAVE LEWIS, editor, Tight But Loose
The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume 1 launches the series with Derrida’s exploration of the persistent association of bestiality or animality with sovereignty. In this seminar from 2001–2002, Derrida continues his deconstruction of the traditional determinations of the human. The beast and the sovereign are connected, he contends, because neither animals nor kings are subject to the law—the sovereign stands above it, while the beast falls outside the law from below. He then traces this association through an astonishing array of texts, including La Fontaine’s fable “The Wolf and the Lamb,” Hobbes’s biblical sea monster in Leviathan, D. H. Lawrence’s poem “Snake,” Machiavelli’s Prince with its elaborate comparison of princes and foxes, a historical account of Louis XIV attending an elephant autopsy, and Rousseau’s evocation of werewolves in The Social Contract.
Deleuze, Lacan, and Agamben also come into critical play as Derrida focuses in on questions of force, right, justice, and philosophical interpretations of the limits between man and animal.
A riveting, original book about the creation of modern American thought.
The Metaphysical Club was an informal group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872, to talk about ideas. Its members included Oliver Well Holmes, Jr., future associate justice of the United States Supreme Court; William James, the father of modern American psychology; and Charles Sanders Peirce, logician, scientist, and the founder of semiotics. The Club was probably in existence for about nine months. No records were kept. The one thing we know that came out of it was an idea -- an idea about ideas. This book is the story of that idea. Holmes, James, and Peirce all believed that ideas are not things "out there" waiting to be discovered but are tools people invent -- like knives and forks and microchips -- to make their way in the world. They thought that ideas are produced not by individuals, but by groups of individuals -- that ideas are social. They do not develop according to some inner logic of their own but are entirely depent -- like germs -- on their human carriers and environment. And they thought that the survival of any idea deps not on its immutability but on its adaptability. The Metaphysical Club is written in the spirit of this idea about ideas. It is not a history of philosophy but an absorbing narrative about personalities and social history, a story about America. It begins with the Civil War and s in 1919 with Justice Holmes's dissenting opinion in the case of U.S. v. Abrams-the basis for the constitutional law of free speech. The first four sections of the book focus on Holmes, James, Peirce, and their intellectual heir, John Dewey. The last section discusses some of the fundamental twentieth-century ideas they are associated with. This is a book about a way of thinking that changed American life.
Extending the ideas presented in his book In The Dust of This Planet, Eugene Thacker explores these and other issues in Starry Speculative Corpse. But instead of using philosophy to define or to explain the horror genre, Thacker reads works of philosophy as if they were horror stories themselves, revealing a rift between human beings and the unhuman world of which they are part. Along the way we see philosophers grappling with demons, struggling with doubt, and wrestling with an indifferent cosmos. At the center of it all is the philosophical drama of the human being confronting its own limits. Not a philosophy of horror, but a horror of philosophy. Thought that stumbles over itself, as if at the edge of an abyss.
Starry Speculative Corpse is the second volume of the "Horror of Philosophy" trilogy, together with the first volume, In The Dust of This Planet, and the third volume, Tentacles Longer Than Night.
We love these commands, especially in America, because they appeal to what we want to believe: that there's an authentic self to which we can be true. But while we mock Tricky Dick and Slick Willie, we're inventing identities on Facebook, paying thousands for plastic surgeries, and tuning in to news that simply verifies our opinions. Reality bites, after all, and becoming disillusioned is a downer.
In his new book Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, Eric G. Wilson investigates this phenomenon. Hedraws on neuroscience, psychology, sociology, philosophy, art, film, literature, and his own life to explore the possibility that there's no such thing as unwavering reality. Whether our left brains are shaping the raw data of our right into fabulous stories or we're so saturated by society's conventions that we're always acting out prefab scripts, we can't help but be phony.
But is that really so bad? We're used to being scolded for being fake, but Wilson doesn't scold--because he doesn't think we need to be reprimanded. Our ability to remake ourselves into the people we want to be, or at least remake ourselves to look like the people we want to be, is in fact a magical process that can be liberating in its own way. Because if we're all a bunch of fakes, shouldn't we embrace that? And if everything really is fake, then doesn't the fake become real--really?
In lively prose--honest, provocative, witty, wide-ranging (as likely to riff on Bill Murray as to contemplate Plato)--Keep It Fake answers these questions, uncovering bracing truths about what it means to be human and helping us turn our necessary lying into artful living.
The writings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have resonated through the millennia and continue to influence the lives of people today. In A Short History of Greek Philosophy, renowned British classicist John Marshall provides a thorough yet engaging account of the seminal philosophical movements of ancient Greece, from the Sophists to the Sceptics to the Stoics. For readers looking to dip their toes into the vast ocean of Western philosophy, Marshall’s history provides the perfect springboard.
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Distinguished philosopher Richard Kearney calls this condition ana-theos, or God after God-a moment of creative "not knowing" that signifies a break with former sureties and invites us to forge new meanings from the most ancient of wisdoms. Anatheism refers to an inaugural event that lies at the heart of every great religion, a wager between hospitality and hostility to the stranger, the other& mdash;the sense of something "more." By analyzing the roots of our own anatheistic moment, Kearney shows not only how a return to God is possible for those who seek it but also how a more liberating faith can be born.
Kearney begins by locating a turn toward sacred secularity in contemporary philosophy, focusing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur. He then marks "epiphanies" in the modernist masterpieces of James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf. Kearney concludes with a discussion of the role of theism and atheism in conflict and peace, confronting the distinction between sacramental and sacrificial belief or the God who gives life and the God who takes it away. Accepting that we can never be sure about God, he argues, is the only way to rediscover a hidden holiness in life and to reclaim an everyday divinity.
More than a great novel, Atlas Shrugged is an abstract conceptual, and symbolic work that expounds a radical philosophy, presenting a view of man and man's relationship to existence and manifesting the essentials of an entire philosophical system – metaphysics, epistemology, politics and ethics.
Celebrating the fiftieth year of Atlas Shrugged's publication, this companion is an exploration of this monumental work of literature. Contributions have been specially commissioned from a diversity of eminent scholars who admire and have been influenced by the book, the included essays analyzing the novel's integrating elements of theme, plot and characterization from many perspectives and from various levels of meaning.
Giambattista Vico was the anachronistic and impoverished Neapolitan philosopher sometimes credited with founding the human sciences. He opposed Enlightenment methods as cold and fallacious. J. G. Hamann was a pious, cranky dilettante in a peripheral German city. But he was brilliant enough to gain the audience of Kant, Goethe, and Moses Mendelssohn. In Hamann's chaotic and long-ignored writings, Berlin finds the first strong attack on Enlightenment rationalism and a wholly original source of the coming swell of romanticism. Johann Gottfried Herder, the progenitor of populism and European nationalism, rejected universalism and rationalism but championed cultural pluralism.
Individually, these fascinating intellectual biographies reveal Berlin's own great intelligence, learning, and generosity, as well as the passionate genius of his subjects. Together, they constitute an arresting interpretation of romanticism's precursors. In Hamann's railings and the more considered writings of Vico and Herder, Berlin finds critics of the Enlightenment worthy of our careful attention. But he identifies much that is misguided in their rejection of universal values, rationalism, and science. With his customary emphasis on the frightening power of ideas, Berlin traces much of the next centuries' irrationalism and suffering to the historicism and particularism they advocated. What Berlin has to say about these long-dead thinkers--in appreciation and dissent--is remarkably timely in a day when Enlightenment beliefs are being challenged not just by academics but by politicians and by powerful nationalist and fundamentalist movements.
The study of J. G. Hamann was originally published under the title The Magus of the North: J. G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism. The essays on Vico and Herder were originally published as Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas. Both are out of print.
This new edition includes a number of previously uncollected pieces on Vico and Herder, two interesting passages excluded from the first edition of the essay on Hamann, and Berlin's thoughtful responses to two reviewers of that same edition.
René Girard is one of the most brilliant and striking intellectuals of the 20th century. His theory on the imitative nature of desire and on the violent origin of culture has been at the centre of the philosophical and theoretical debate since the publication in 1971 of his seminal book: Violence and the Sacred. His reflection on the relationship between violence and religion is one of the most original and persuasive and, given the urgency of this issue in our contemporary world, demands a reappraisal.
Girard, who has been hailed by Michel Serres as "the Charles Darwin" of human sciences, is in fact one of the few thinkers in the humanities and social sciences that takes into full consideration an evolutionary perspective to explain the emergence of culture and institutions. The authors draw out this aspect of his thought by foregrounding ethological, anthropological and evolutionary theories.
Methodological and epistemological systematization has also been lacking in Girard's previous books, and by questioning him on the issue of evidence and truth, the authors provide a convincing framework for further inquiries. In the last chapters, Girard proposes a provocative re-reading of the Biblical texts, seen as the culmination of an enduring process of historical awareness of the presence and function of collective violence in our world. In fact, Girard's long argument is a historical spiral in which the origin of culture and archaic religion is reunited with the contemporary world by means of a reinterpretation of Christianity and its revelation of the intrinsic violent nature of the human being.
From the female soldiers involved in Abu Ghraib to Palestinian women suicide bombers, women and their bodies have become powerful weapons in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In Women as Weapons of War, Kelly Oliver reveals how the media and the administration frequently use metaphors of weaponry to describe women and female sexuality and forge a deliberate link between notions of vulnerability and images of violence. Focusing specifically on the U.S. campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, Oliver analyzes contemporary discourse surrounding women, sex, and gender and the use of women to justify America's decision to go to war. For example, the administration's call to liberate "women of cover," suggesting a woman's right to bare arms is a sign of freedom and progress.
Oliver also considers what forms of cultural meaning, or lack of meaning, could cause both the guiltlessness demonstrated by female soldiers at Abu Ghraib and the profound commitment to death made by suicide bombers. She examines the pleasure taken in violence and the passion for death exhibited by these women and what kind of contexts created them. In conclusion, Oliver diagnoses our cultural fascination with sex, violence, and death and its relationship with live news coverage and embedded reporting, which naturalizes horrific events and stymies critical reflection. This process, she argues, further compromises the borders between fantasy and reality, fueling a kind of paranoid patriotism that results in extreme forms of violence.
Edited by a noted Nietzsche scholar, this authoritative compendium is a vital assembly of nearly all of Nietzsche's early works. Marking the advent of his mature philosophy, these aphorisms and prose poems examine the impulses that lead human beings to seek the comforts of religion, morality, metaphysics, and art. Nietzsche proposes greater individualism and personality development, addresses issues of society and family, and discusses visions of free spirits with the courage to be rid of idealist prejudices. Written in his distinctive, often paradoxical style, The Dawn of Day presents practically every theme touched upon in Nietzsche's later philosophical essays. It is an essential guide and a fundamental basis for the understanding of the great philosopher and his work.
Introduction, Bibliography and Textual Note
Lecture I: The Present Dilemma in Philosophy
Lecture II: What Pragmatism Means
Lecture III: Some Metaphysical Problems Pragmatically Considered
Lecture IV: The One and the Many
Lecture V: Pragmatism and Common Sense
Lecture VI: Pragmatism's Conception of Truth
Lecture VII: Pragmatism and Humanism
Lecture VIII: Pragmatism and Religion
In this eye-opening, intellectually stimulating appreciation of a fascinating school of philosophy, Terry Eagleton makes a powerful argument that materialism is at the center of today’s important scientific and cultural as well as philosophical debates. The author reveals entirely fresh ways of considering the values and beliefs of three very different materialists—Marx, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein—drawing striking comparisons between their philosophies while reflecting on a wide array of topics, from ideology and history to language, ethics, and the aesthetic. Cogently demonstrating how it is our bodies and corporeal activity that make thought and consciousness possible, Eagleton’s book is a valuable exposition on philosophic thought that strikes to the heart of how we think about ourselves and live in the world.
First sketching a nonessentialist view of rationality, and emphasizing the role of power relations, Peg O’Connor then examines in subsequent chapters the relationship between a variety of "foreground" actions and "background" practices: burnings of African American churches, hate speech, child sexual abuse, coming out as a gay or lesbian teenager, and racial integration of public and private spaces. These examples serve to illuminate when our "language games" reinforce oppression and when they allow possibilities for resistance. Attending to the background, O’Connor argues, can give us insight into ways of transforming the nature and meaning of foreground actions.
Read a related blog post by the authors on EerdWord.
procedures of standardization and quantification. Such attempts to make all aspects of practice transparent and subject to systematic accounting lack sensitivity to the invisible and the silent, to something in the human
condition that cannot readily be expressed in an either-or form. Seeking alternatives to such trends, Saito reads
Dewey's idea of progressive education through the lens of Emersonian moral perfectionism (to borrow a term coined by Stanley Cavell). She elucidates a spiritual and aesthetic dimension to Dewey's notion of growth, one considerably richer than what Dewey alone presents in his typically scientific terminology.
In this collection of essays, sixteen scholars expert in various branches of philosophy set the controls for the heart of the sun to critically examine the themes, concepts, and problems—usually encountered in the pages of Heidegger, Foucault, Sartre, or Orwell—that animate and inspire Pink Floyd's music. These include the meaning of existence, the individual's place in society, the interactions of knowledge and power in education, the contradictions of art and commerce, and the blurry line—the tragic line, in the case of Floyd early member Syd Barrett (died in 2006)—between genius and madness. Having dominated pop music for nearly four decades, Pink Floyd's dynamic and controversial history additionally opens the way for these authors to explore controversies about intellectual property, the nature of authorship, and whether wholes—especially in the case of rock bands—are more than the sums of their parts.
Responding to the powerful myths and countermyths that had sprung up around Nietzsche, Kaufmann offered a patient, evenhanded account of his life and works, and of the uses and abuses to which subsequent generations had put his ideas. Without ignoring or downplaying the ugliness of many of Nietzsche's proclamations, he set them in the context of his work as a whole and of the counterexamples yielded by a responsible reading of his books. More positively, he presented Nietzsche's ideas about power as one of the great accomplishments of modern philosophy, arguing that his conception of the "will to power" was not a crude apology for ruthless self-assertion but must be linked to Nietzsche's equally profound ideas about sublimation. He also presented Nietzsche as a pioneer of modern psychology and argued that a key to understanding his overall philosophy is to see it as a reaction against Christianity.
Many scholars in the past half century have taken issue with some of Kaufmann's interpretations, but the book ranks as one of the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker. Featuring a new foreword by Alexander Nehamas, this Princeton Classics edition of Nietzsche introduces a new generation of readers to one the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker.
Von Herrmann’s Hermeneutics and Reflection, translated here from the original German, represents the most fundamental and critical reflection in any language of the concept of phenomenology as it was used by Heidegger and by Husserl. It provides a careful rendition of Husserl’s essential contribution to phenomenology, then draws a clear demarcation between Husserl’s reflective phenomenology and Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology. While showing the fullest respect for Husserl’s phenomenology, Hermeneutics and Reflection offers a full-fledged critique of Husserl from the perspective of Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology.
Allan develops a series of analogies between Whitehead’s ideas about how we learn and key concepts in his later metaphysical writings, demonstrating that both how we learn and how the world changes involve a tension between open-ended exploration and systematic organization. Novel ideas free us from the blinders imposed by old habits and beliefs. Yet only when these ideas are integrated with the old ways are we able to improve our individual and collective lives—until changing circumstances call for further new ideas and fresh integrations.
Using a rich variety of examples, Allan illuminates the metaphysical ideas he explores by tethering them concretely to the educational practices in which they are rooted. This shows a key but neglected feature of Whitehead’s thought: his pragmatic theory of truth, with its functionalist approach to experience and its humanistic appreciation of the frailty of all human endeavors.
The first essay is one of the most influential papers ever written on Lonergan; it and the second one inquire into the notion of the a priori. The third essay presents a detailed analysis of Kantian intuitionism and contrasts it with the `knowledge as structure' position of Lonergan's critical realism. In this essay intuitionism is generalized, to allow Sala to address representatives of neoscholasticism as well. The argument with neoscholasticism continues in the fourth essay. The final paper discusses Kant's resolution of the question regarding the agreement of a priori concepts with things, and finds in Lonergan's work an alternative position on correspondence and truth. Each essay is a model of careful and thorough scholarship, and also - surprising in a book of such proportions - of clarity. Lonergan appeals several times in Insight to the device of `Clarification by Contrast.' Sala's essays show us in intricate detail how illuminating such comparisons can be.
François Dosse, a prominent French intellectual known for his work on the Annales School, structuralism, and biographies of the pivotal intellectuals Paul Ricoeur, Pierre Chaunu, and Michel de Certeau, examines the prolific if improbable relationship between two men of distinct and differing sensibilities. Drawing on unpublished archives and hundreds of personal interviews, Dosse elucidates a collaboration that lasted more than two decades, underscoring the role that family and history& mdash;particularly the turbulent time of May 1968& mdash;play in their monumental work. He also takes the measure of Deleuze and Guattari's posthumous fortunes and the impact of their thought on intellectual, academic, and professional circles.
McDermott crosses disciplinary boundaries to draw on whatever works to help make sense of the
issues with which he is dealing--issues rooted in medical practice, political events, pedagogical habits, and the worlds of the arts. His work thus resists simple categorization. It is precisely this that makes his vibrant prose appealing to so many both inside and outside the world of American philosophy.
The book is divided into two major sections. The first part summarizes Ayn Rand’s philosophy with respect to three basic areas of inquiry: (1) knowing and the known, (2) personal value and the nature of man, and (3) the ethics of objectivism. The second part consists primarily of a critical analysis of the ideas presented in the earlier pages.
The purpose of the study is to deal with Ayn Rand’s basic premises; only secondary consideration is given to the way in which these premises apply to specific problems in such areas as politics, economics and esthetics. Throughout, O’Neill is less concerned with criticizing what Rand says than with determining whether what she says makes sense in terms of established procedures for rational and semantic analysis and with respect to generally accepted principles for the scientific verification of evidence.
Inside this cycle, the need to be accepted, while refusing the state of being, drives many to force themselves into a detachment from their own true self. This happens for the fear of segregation, quarrels, gossips and even massive wars, pushing society towards the same self-destructive goal.
Between these dualities, we find racist Christians, xenophobic Muslims, selfish Buddhists, hypocritical Freemasons, apathetic Rosicrucians, mad Satanists and arrogant Hindus that, although not representing any truth, contribute to the massive lie in which religion has become, making the most truthful among us seem apart from the path that these groups have created for themselves.
For the vast majority of the population, still in its most primitive spiritual state, their messiahs must come from the sky, their buddhas must perform miracles, and their gurus don’t wear jeans and short hair, and can’t be born in the western world either. Meanwhile, inside this delusional palette of perceptions about what is, should be and must be, they believe to know what is good and bad, and how these concepts can be defined in simple terms. They filter their entire reality with the patterns offered to them from birth and then reinforced throughout their existence by the same reality they found reasons to justify, in order to avoid an unbearable cognitive dissonance, unavoidable when one decides to walk on a completely opposite path, a road that opposes all others and naturally leads to loneliness, suffering and darkness.
The worldwide accepted lie confuses humanity and contributes to insane behaviors that lead the wrong people to power and allows them to be heard by many, willingly obeying like sheep in the slaughterhouse. Unknowingly, everyone is worshipping the same God, and that imaginary wise, old and kind ruler, is their butcher. That’s why we can say that, among this social cattle, “blessed are the valiant, for they shall obtain great treasure; cursed are the believers in good and evil, for they are frightened by shadows” (Anton LaVey).