• Literary Criticism

Thoreau's Nature

Ethics, Politics, and the Wild
Author: Jane Bennett
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742521414
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 141
View: 2494
Thoreau's Nature: Ethics, Politics, and the Wild explores how Thoreau crafted a life open to "the Wild," a term that marks the startling element of foreignness in every object of experience, however familiar. Thoreau's encounters with nature, Bennett argues, allowed him to resist his all-too-human tendency toward intellectual laziness, social conformity, and political complacency. Bennett pursues this theme by constructing a series of dialogues between Thoreau and our contemporaries: Foucault on identity and power, Haraway on the nature/culture of division, Hollywood celebrities on the Walden Woods Project, the National Endowment for the Humanities on politics and art, and Kafka on the question of political idealism. The pertinence to the late 20th century of Thoreau's pursuit of independent judgment, ecological foresight, and moral nobility becomes apparent through these engagements.

    • Philosophy

The Enchantment of Modern Life

Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics
Author: Jane Bennett
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400884535
Category: Philosophy
Page: 224
View: 6942
It is a commonplace that the modern world cannot be experienced as enchanted--that the very concept of enchantment belongs to past ages of superstition. Jane Bennett challenges that view. She seeks to rehabilitate enchantment, showing not only how it is still possible to experience genuine wonder, but how such experience is crucial to motivating ethical behavior. A creative blend of political theory, philosophy, and literary studies, this book is a powerful and innovative contribution to an emerging interdisciplinary conversation about the deep connections between ethics, aesthetics, and politics. As Bennett describes it, enchantment is a sense of openness to the unusual, the captivating, and the disturbing in everyday life. She guides us through a wide and often surprising range of sources of enchantment, showing that we can still find enchantment in nature, for example, but also in such unexpected places as modern technology, advertising, and even bureaucracy. She then explains how everyday moments of enchantment can be cultivated to build an ethics of generosity, stimulating the emotional energy and honing the perceptual refinement necessary to follow moral codes. Throughout, Bennett draws on thinkers and writers as diverse as Kant, Schiller, Thoreau, Kafka, Marx, Weber, Adorno, and Deleuze. With its range and daring, The Enchantment of Modern Life is a provocative challenge to the centuries-old ''narrative of disenchantment,'' one that presents a new ''alter-tale'' that discloses our profound attachment to the human and nonhuman world.

    • Political Science

Buddhism and Political Theory


Author: Matthew J. Moore
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190465522
Category: Political Science
Page: 224
View: 2257
Despite the recent upsurge of interest in comparative political theory, there has been virtually no serious examination of Buddhism by political philosophers in the past five decades. In part, this is because Buddhism is not typically seen as a school of political thought. However, as Matthew Moore argues, Buddhism simultaneously parallels and challenges many core assumptions and arguments in contemporary Western political theory. In brief, Western thinkers not only have a great deal to learn about Buddhism, they have a great deal to learn from it. To both incite and facilitate the process of Western theorists engaging with this neglected tradition, this book provides a detailed, critical reading of the key primary Buddhist texts, from the earliest recorded teachings of the Buddha through the present day. It also discusses the relevant secondary literature on Buddhism and political theory (nearly all of it from disciplines other than political theory), as well as the literatures on particular issues addressed in the argument. Moore argues that Buddhist political thought rests on three core premises--that there is no self, that politics is of very limited importance in human life, and that normative beliefs and judgments represent practical advice about how to live a certain way, rather than being obligatory commands about how all persons must act. He compares Buddhist political theory to what he sees as Western analogues--Nietzsche's similar but crucially different theory of the self, Western theories of limited citizenship from Epicurus to John Howard Yoder, and to the Western tradition of immanence theories in ethics. This will be the first comprehensive treatment of Buddhism as political theory.

    • Philosophy

Michel Foucault and the Politics of Freedom


Author: Thomas L. Dumm
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN: 1461609186
Category: Philosophy
Page: 200
View: 1233
What is freedom? In this study, Thomas Dumm challenges the conventions that have governed discussions and debates concerning modern freedom by bringing the work of Michel Foucault into dialogue with contemporary liberal thought. While Foucault has been widely understood to have characterized the modern era as being opposed to the realization of freedom, Dumm shows how this characterization conflates FoucaultOs genealogy of discipline with his overall view of the practices of being free. Dumm demonstrates how FoucaultOs critical genealogy does not shrink from understanding the ways in which modern subjects are constrained and shaped by forces greater than themselves, but how it instead works through these constraints to provide, not simply a vision of liberation, but a joyous wisdom concerned with showing us, in his words, that we Oare much freer than we feel.O Both as an introduction to Foucault and as an intervention in liberal theory, Michel Foucault and the Politics of Freedom is bound to change how we think about the limits and possibilities of freedom in late modernity.

    • Political Science

The Game of Justice

A Theory of Individual Self-Government
Author: Ruth Lane
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9780791470565
Category: Political Science
Page: 216
View: 3185
Argues in favor of viewing justice as a political contest that everyone has a stake in.

    • Political Science

Emerson and Self-Reliance


Author: George Kateb
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780803938663
Category: Political Science
Page: 221
View: 2918
During much of his life in the early 1800s, Ralph Waldo Emerson was considered as a radical thinker. His opposition to established religious opinion and to slavery was scandalous. It was Emerson's deep commitment to individualism that is at the root of his disdain. His articulation of individualism is constant, whether aimed against the group mind or institutional constrictions. Kateb has written this book to bring Emerson into our conception of modernity. Kateb gives a reading of Emerson which is friendly to the interests of Nietzsche and to later Nietzscheans including Weber, Heidegger, Arendt and Foucault.

    • Philosophy

In the Nature of Things

Language, Politics, and the Environment
Author: Jane Bennett,William Chaloupka
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9780816623075
Category: Philosophy
Page: 275
View: 5154
Annotation. Informed by recent developments in literary criticism and social theory, this book addresses the presumption that nature exists independent of culture and, in particular, of language.

    • Philosophy

Vibrant Matter

A Political Ecology of Things
Author: Jane Bennett
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822391627
Category: Philosophy
Page: 200
View: 2714
In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.

    • Literary Criticism

Thoreauvian Modernities

Transatlantic Conversations on an American Icon
Author: François Specq,Laura Dassow Walls,Michel Granger
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 082034429X
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 310
View: 3838
Does Thoreau belong to the past or to the future? Instead of canonizing him as a celebrant of “pure” nature apart from the corruption of civilization, the essays in Thoreauvian Modernities reveal edgier facets of his work—how Thoreau is able to unsettle as well as inspire and how he is able to focus on both the timeless and the timely. Contributors from the United States and Europe explore Thoreau's modernity and give a much-needed reassessment of his work in a global context. The first of three sections, “Thoreau and (Non)Modernity,” views Thoreau as a social thinker who set himself against the “modern” currents of his day even while contributing to the emergence of a new era. By questioning the place of humans in the social, economic, natural, and metaphysical order, he ushered in a rethinking of humanity's role in the natural world that nurtured the environmental movement. The second section, “Thoreau and Philosophy,” examines Thoreau's writings in light of the philosophy of his time as well as current philosophical debates. Section three, “Thoreau, Language, and the Wild,” centers on his relationship to wild nature in its philosophical, scientific, linguistic, and literary dimensions. Together, these sixteen essays reveal Thoreau's relevance to a number of fields, including science, philosophy, aesthetics, environmental ethics, political science, and animal studies. Thoreauvian Modernities posits that it is the germinating power of Thoreau's thought—the challenge it poses to our own thinking and its capacity to address pressing issues in a new way—that defines his enduring relevance and his modernity. Contributors: Kristen Case, Randall Conrad, David Dowling, Michel Granger, Michel Imbert, Michael Jonik, Christian Maul, Bruno Monfort, Henrik Otterberg, Tom Pughe, David M. Robinson, William Rossi, Dieter Schulz, François Specq, Joseph Urbas, Laura Dassow Walls.

    • Nature

The Idea of Wilderness

From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology
Author: Max Oelschlaeger
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300053708
Category: Nature
Page: 477
View: 6136
How has the concept of wild nature changed over the millennia? And what have been the environmental consequences? In this broad-ranging book Max Oelschlaeger argues that the idea of wilderness has reflected the evolving character of human existence from Paleolithic times to the present day. An intellectual history, it draws together evidence from philosophy, anthropology, theology, literature, ecology, cultural geography, and archaeology to provide a new scientifically and philosophically informed understanding of humankind's relationship to nature. Oelschlaeger begins by examining the culture of prehistoric hunter-gatherers, whose totems symbolized the idea of organic unity between humankind and wild nature, and idea that the author believes is essential to any attempt to define human potential. He next traces how the transformation of these hunter-gatherers into farmers led to a new awareness of distinctions between humankind and nature, and how Hellenism and Judeo-Christianity later introduced the unprecedented concept that nature was valueless until humanized. Oelschlaeger discusses the concept of wilderness in relation to the rise of classical science and modernism, and shows that opposition to "modernism" arose almost immediately from scientific, literary, and philosophical communities. He provides new and, in some cases, revisionist studies of the seminal American figures Thoreau, Muir, and Leopold, and he gives fresh readings of America's two prodigious wilderness poets Robinson Jeffers and Gary Snyder. He concludes with a searching look at the relationship of evolutionary thought to our postmodern effort to reconceptualize ourselves as civilized beings who remain, in some ways, natural animals.

    • Philosophy

Conjectures and Refutations

The Growth of Scientific Knowledge
Author: Karl Popper
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135971374
Category: Philosophy
Page: 608
View: 1861
Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.

    • Political Science

The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt


Author: Seyla Benhabib
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742521513
Category: Political Science
Page: 261
View: 1212
The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt rereads Arendt's political philosophy in light of newly gained insights into the historico-cultural background of her work. Visit our website for sample chapters!

    • Literary Criticism

Thoreau’s Democratic Withdrawal

Alienation, Participation, and Modernity
Author: Shannon L. Mariotti
Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 0299233936
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 222
View: 8948
Best known for his two-year sojourn at Walden Pond in Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau is often considered a recluse who emerged from solitude only occasionally to take a stand on the issues of his day. In Thoreau’s Democratic Withdrawal, Shannon L. Mariotti explores Thoreau’s nature writings to offer a new way of understanding the unique politics of the so-called hermit of Walden Pond. Drawing imaginatively from the twentieth-century German social theorist Theodor W. Adorno, she shows how withdrawal from the public sphere can paradoxically be a valuable part of democratic politics. Separated by time, space, and context, Thoreau and Adorno share a common belief that critical inquiry is essential to democracy but threatened by modern society. While walking, huckleberrying, and picking wild apples, Thoreau tries to recover the capacities for independent perception and thought that are blunted by “Main Street,” conventional society, and the rapidly industrializing world that surrounded him. Adorno’s thoughts on particularity and the microscopic gaze he employs to work against the alienated experience of modernity help us better understand the value of Thoreau’s excursions into nature. Reading Thoreau with Adorno, we see how periodic withdrawals from public spaces are not necessarily apolitical or apathetic but can revitalize our capacity for the critical thought that truly defines democracy. In graceful, readable prose, Mariotti reintroduces us to a celebrated American thinker, offers new insights on Adorno, and highlights the striking common ground they share. Their provocative and challenging ideas, she shows, still hold lessons on how we can be responsible citizens in a society that often discourages original, critical analysis of public issues.

    • Philosophy

Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists


Author: Gary Browning,Raia Prokhovnik,Maria Dimova-Cookson
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 0230303056
Category: Philosophy
Page: 225
View: 9551
Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists consists of a series of dialogues with pre-eminent contemporary political theorists that are undertaken by political theorists, who are currently interested in and engaged by their work. The dialogues deal with the influences upon and significant works of these major theorists as well as their views on the current state of political theory and the significant issues of contemporary politics. The political theorists who are the focus of these dialogues represent all major aspects of contemporary political theory, and are drawn from several areas of the globe. What they have in common and reveal in these interviews are fascinating backgrounds and influences and highly individual perspectives on theory and politics. The upshot is a multi-faceted introduction to political theory today.

    • Biography & Autobiography

Henry David Thoreau

A Life
Author: Laura Dassow Walls
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022634472X
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 640
View: 3036
“Walden. Yesterday I came here to live.” That entry from the journal of Henry David Thoreau, and the intellectual journey it began, would by themselves be enough to place Thoreau in the American pantheon. His attempt to “live deliberately” in a small woods at the edge of his hometown of Concord has been a touchstone for individualists and seekers since the publication of Walden in 1854. But there was much more to Thoreau than his brief experiment in living at Walden Pond. A member of the vibrant intellectual circle centered on his neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson, he was also an ardent naturalist, a manual laborer and inventor, a radical political activist, and more. Many books have taken up various aspects of Thoreau’s character and achievements, but, as Laura Dassow Walls writes, “Thoreau has never been captured between covers; he was too quixotic, mischievous, many-sided.” Two hundred years after his birth, and two generations after the last full-scale biography, Walls restores Henry David Thoreau to us in all his profound, inspiring complexity. Walls traces the full arc of Thoreau’s life, from his early days in the intellectual hothouse of Concord, when the American experiment still felt fresh and precarious, and “America was a family affair, earned by one generation and about to pass to the next.” By the time he died in 1862, at only forty-four years of age, Thoreau had witnessed the transformation of his world from a community of farmers and artisans into a bustling, interconnected commercial nation. What did that portend for the contemplative individual and abundant, wild nature that Thoreau celebrated? Drawing on Thoreau’s copious writings, published and unpublished, Walls presents a Thoreau vigorously alive in all his quirks and contradictions: the young man shattered by the sudden death of his brother; the ambitious Harvard College student; the ecstatic visionary who closed Walden with an account of the regenerative power of the Cosmos. We meet the man whose belief in human freedom and the value of labor made him an uncompromising abolitionist; the solitary walker who found society in nature, but also found his own nature in the society of which he was a deeply interwoven part. And, running through it all, Thoreau the passionate naturalist, who, long before the age of environmentalism, saw tragedy for future generations in the human heedlessness around him. “The Thoreau I sought was not in any book, so I wrote this one,” says Walls. The result is a Thoreau unlike any seen since he walked the streets of Concord, a Thoreau for our time and all time.

    • Nature

Silent Spring


Author: Rachel Carson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780618249060
Category: Nature
Page: 378
View: 3005
Discusses the reckless annihilation of fish and birds by the use of pesticides and warns of the possible genetic effects on humans.

    • History

The Soul of America

The Battle for Our Better Angels
Author: Jon Meacham
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 039958983X
Category: History
Page: 416
View: 4972
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear. Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King, Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women’s rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson’s crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear—a struggle that continues even now. While the American story has not always—or even often—been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before”—as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail. Praise for The Soul of America “Appalled by the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump, and shaken by the deadly white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville in 2017, Meacham returns to other moments in our history when fear and division seemed rampant. He wants to remind us that the current political turmoil is not unprecedented, that as a nation we have survived times worse than this. . . . Meacham tries to summon the better angels by looking back at when America truly has been great. He is effective as ever at writing history for a broad readership.”—The New York Times Book Review “This is a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book.”—Walter Isaacson

    • Law

Aquinas and modernity

the lost promise of natural law
Author: Shadia B. Drury
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN: 9780742522572
Category: Law
Page: 209
View: 3920
In this startling book, Drury overturns the long-standing reputation of Thomas Aquinas as the most moderate and rational exponent of the Christian faith. She reveals Aquinas to be one of the most zealous Dominicans (Domini Canes) or Hounds of the Lord--an ardent defender of papal supremacy, the Inquisition, and the persecution of Jews. Despite her unstinting criticism, Drury sets out to retrieve the rationalism and naturalism that Aquinas failed to reconcile with his faith.

    • Social Science

Animals and Modern Cultures

A Sociology of Human-Animal Relations in Modernity
Author: Adrian Franklin
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 9780761956235
Category: Social Science
Page: 213
View: 3765
The dramatic transformation of relationships between humans and animals in the 20th century are investigated in this fascinating and accessible book. At the beginning of this century these relationships were dominated by human needs and interests, modernization was a project which was attached to the goal of progress and animals were merely resources to be used on the path towards human fulfilment. As the century comes to an end these relationships are increasingly being subjected to criticism. We are now urged to be more sensitive and compassionate to animal needs and interests. This book focuses on social change and animals, it is concerned with how humans relate to animals and how this has changed and why. Moreover, it highlights

    • Fiction

Walden and Other Writings


Author: Henry David Thoreau
Publisher: Bantam Classics
ISBN: 0553900773
Category: Fiction
Page: 464
View: 8633
With their call for "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”, for self-honesty, and for harmony with nature, the writings of Henry David Thoreau are perhaps the most influential philosophical works in all American literature. The selections in this volume represent Thoreau at his best. Included in their entirety are Walden, his indisputable masterpiece, and his two great arguments for nonconformity, Civil Disobedience and Life Without Principle. A lifetime of brilliant observation of nature--and of himself--is recorded in selections from A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, The Maine Woods and The Journal. From the Paperback edition.