Dallmayr begins by drawing a connection between Nietzsche's characterization of the desert in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the present culture of consumerism, in which a nearly-exclusive emphasis on productivity, efficiency, profitability, and the transformation of everything valuable into a useful resource prevails over all other goals. He also draws attention to another sense of "desert," namely, as a place of solitude, meditation, and retreat from affliction. Aptly defined, it becomes a place where spirituality arises from a painful "turning-about": a wrenching effort to extricate human life from the decay of late modernity. Spirituality is not a possession or property but rather the contemplation and radical mindfulness that we develop through engaged practices as we search for pathways to recovery. Spirituality becomes critical in the dominant political and cultural wasteland because it provides a bond linking humanity together. In the spirit of global ecumenism, Spiritual Guides also includes a discussion of Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist forms of spirituality. This book will interest students and scholars of philosophy, political theory, and religion.
Fred Dallmayr is Packey J. Dee Professor Emeritus in philosophy and political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Peace Talks—Who will Listen? (University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), In Search of the Good Life (2007), and Mindfulness and Letting Be (2014).
Michael J. Sandel's "Justice" course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard. Up to a thousand students pack the campus theater to hear Sandel relate the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day, and this fall, public television will air a series based on the course. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one that invites readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, the moral limits of markets—Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these con?icts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.