Overcoming Cynicism: William James and the Metaphysics of Engagement (Hardback)Megan Mustain (author)
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Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Number of pages: 196
Weight: 460 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
"Overcoming Cynicism is a bold and originating diagnosis of an ancient contention, which flails us to this very day. If ultimate certitude is beyond our reach, what then is the possibility of possibility, the meaning and presence of hope and the actuality of human growth? Megan Mustain takes on this central human conflict with high intelligence, rhetorical verve and informed philosophical acuity. I welcome Megan Mustain to the newest generation of creative and wise interpreters of our rich intellectual tradition as rooted in Classical American Philosophy." John J. McDermott, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Texas A&M University, USA.
"Megan Mustain has put the ideas of William James to work in the twenty-first century. She offers a diagnosis of our present and ongoing inabilities to deal with our existential instabilities by way of the history and presence of cynicism. The cynics of disjunction Diogenes and contemporary scientism fail to see the importance of conjunctive relations and thus are blind to possibility and the human ability to create meaning. The cynics of conjunction Victorian colonialism and contemporary religious fundamentalism try to ignore in ostrich-like fashion our existential disconnectedness offering instead a blind faith in an as yet incompleted ontological whole. Drawing on James's radical empiricism, Mustain suggests we recognize the importance of both sorts of relations and engage our existential situation with hope not certainty, with possibility not necessity. Though philosophical in temper, this book reaches into our dealings with the everyday world and asks us to acknowledge the risks and to create meaning whenever possible for Mustain, as for Aristotle, Margaret Fuller, and William James, life is more than surviving and less than becoming divine. Overcoming cynicism is not achieved by way of a universal game plan but through our individual and communal dealings with the problems of material and spirit that are at hand for us." - Douglas Anderson, Professor of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University, USA.
This book is valuable for its perspicuity of human character through a range of philosophical and cultural movements, from ancient to contemporary, and for its courage in suggesting practical solutions. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers.--Sanford Lakoff
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