Five Moral Pieces


Umberto Eco - 1997
    What good does war do in a world where the flow of goods, services, and information is unstoppable, and the enemy is always behind the lines? In the most personal of the essays, Eco recalls experiencing liberation from fascism in Italy as a boy, and examines the various historical forms of fascism, always with an eye toward such ugly manifestations today. And finally, in an intensely personal open letter to an Italian cardinal, Eco reflects on a question underlying all the reflections in the book--what does it mean to be moral or ethical when one doesn't believe in God?

One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society


Herbert Marcuse - 1964
    This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity


Richard Rorty - 1989
    This ironic perspective on the human condition is valuable but it cannot advance liberalism's social and political goals. In fact, Rorty believes that it is literature and not philosophy that can do this, by promoting a genuine sense of human solidarity. Specifically, it is novelists such as Orwell and Nabokov who succeed in awakening us to the cruelty of particular social practices and individual attitudes. Thus, a truly liberal culture would fuse the private, individual freedom of the ironic, philosophical perspective with the public project of human solidarity as it is engendered through the insights and sensibilities of great writers. Rorty uses a wide range of references--from philosophy to social theory to literary criticism--to elucidate his beliefs.

On Liberty


John Stuart Mill - 1859
    Mill's passionate advocacy of spontaneity, individuality, and diversity, along with his contempt for compulsory uniformity and the despotism of popular opinion, has attracted both admiration and condemnation.

To Have or to Be? The Nature of the Psyche


Erich Fromm - 1976
    Nothing less than a manifesto for a new social and psychological revolution to save our threatened planet, this book is a summary of the penetrating thought of Eric Fromm. His thesis is that two modes of existence struggle for the spirit of humankind: the having mode, which concentrates on material possessions, power, and aggression, and is the basis of the universal evils of greed, envy, and violence; and the being mode, which is based on love, the pleasure of sharing, and in productive activity. To Have Or to Be? is a brilliant program for socioeconomic change.>

Spinoza: Practical Philosophy


Gilles Deleuze - 1970
    This book, which presents Spinoza's main ideas in dictionary form, has as its subject the opposition between ethics and morality, and the link between ethical and ontological propositions. His ethics is an ethology, rather than a moral science. Attention has been drawn to Spinoza by deep ecologists such as Arne Naess, the Norwegian philosopher; and this reading of Spinoza by Deleuze lends itself to a radical ecological ethic. As Robert Hurley says in his introduction, "Deleuze opens us to the idea that the elements of the different individuals we compose may be nonhuman within us. One wonders, finally, whether Man might be defined as a territory, a set of boundaries, a limit on existence."Gilles Deleuze, known for his inquiries into desire, language, politics, and power, finds a kinship between Spinoza and Nietzsche. He writes, "Spinoza did not believe in hope or even in courage; he believed only in joy and in vision . . . he more than any other gave me the feeling of a gust of air from behind each time I read him, of a witch's broom that he makes one mount."Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) was a French philosopher whose writings influenced many philosophical disciplines such as literary theory, post-structuralism, and postmodernism. He also taught philosophy at the University of Paris at Vicennes.Robert Hurley was a translator for many French philosophers including Michael Foucault (History of Sexuality), Gilles Deleuze, and George Bataille (Theory of Religion).

Philosophical Dictionary


Voltaire - 1764
    The subjects treated include Abraham, Angel and Anthropophages; Baptism, Beauty and Beasts; Fables, Fraud and Fanaticism; Metempsychosis, Miracles and Moses; all of them exposed to Voltaire's lucid scrutiny, his elegant irony and his passionate love of reason and justice.

Elements of the Philosophy of Right


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - 1821
    Hegel's last major published work, is an attempt to systematize ethical theory, natural right, the philosophy of law, political theory and the sociology of the modern state into the framework of Hegel's philosophy of history. Hegel's work has been interpreted in radically different ways, influencing many political movements from far right to far left, and is widely perceived as central to the communication tradition in modern ethical, social and political thought. This edition includes extensive editorial material informing the reader of the historical background of Hegel's text, and explaining his allusions to Roman law and other sources, making use of lecture materials which have only recently become available. The new translation is literal, readable and consistent, and will be informative and scholarly enough to serve the needs of students and specialists alike.

Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits


Friedrich Nietzsche - 1878
    J. Hollingdale's distinguished translation, together with a new historical introduction by Richard Schacht. Subtitled "A Book for Free Spirits," Human, All Too Human marked for Nietzsche a new "positivism" and skepticism with which he challenged his previous metaphysical and psychological assumptions. Nearly all the themes of his later work are displayed here with characteristic perceptiveness and honesty--not to say suspicion and irony--in language of great brio. It remains one of the fundamental works for an understanding of his thought.

What's Wrong with the World


G.K. Chesterton - 1910
    A steadfast champion of the working man, family, and faith, Chesterton eloquently opposed materialism, snobbery, hypocrisy, and any adversary of freedom and simplicity in modern society.Culled from the thousands of essays he contributed to newspapers and periodicals over his lifetime, the critical works collected for this edition pulse with the author's unique brand of clever commentary. As readable and rewarding today as when they were written over a century ago, these pieces offer Chesterton's unparalleled analysis of contemporary ideals, his incisive critique of modern efficiency, and his humorous but heartfelt defense of the common man against trendsetting social assaults.

A Letter Concerning Toleration


John Locke - 1689
    John Locke's subtle and influential defense of religious toleration as argued in his seminal Letter Concerning Toleration (1685) appears in this edition as introduced by one of our most distinguished political theorists and historians of political thought.

A Theory of Justice


John Rawls - 1971
    The author has now revised the original edition to clear up a number of difficulties he and others have found in the original book.Rawls aims to express an essential part of the common core of the democratic tradition - justice as fairness - and to provide an alternative to utilitarianism, which had dominated the Anglo-Saxon tradition of political thought since the nineteenth century. Rawls substitutes the ideal of the social contract as a more satisfactory account of the basic rights and liberties of citizens as free and equal persons. "Each person," writes Rawls, "possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override." Advancing the ideas of Rousseau, Kant, Emerson, and Lincoln, Rawls's theory is as powerful today as it was when first published.

The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude


√Čtienne de La Bo√©tie
    This classic work of the sixteenth century political philosopher, in reply to Machiavelli's The Prince, seeks to answer the question of why people submit to the tyranny of government, and as such, has exerted an important influence on the traditions of dissidence from Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, to Tolstoy, to Gandhi.

Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human Bonds


Zygmunt Bauman - 2003
    Having no permanent bonds, the denizen of our liquid modern society must tie whatever bonds they can to engage with others, using their own wits, skill and dedication. But none of these bonds are guaranteed to last. Moreover, they must be tied loosely so that they can be untied again, quickly and as effortlessly as possible, when circumstances change - as they surely will in our liquid modern society, over and over again. The uncanny frailty of human bonds, the feeling of insecurity that frailty inspires, and the conflicting desires to tighten the bonds yet keep them loose, are the principal themes of this important new book by Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most original and influential social thinkers of our time. It will be of great interest to students and scholars in sociology and in the social sciences and humanities generally, and it will appeal to anyone interested in the changing nature of human relationships.

On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History


Thomas Carlyle - 1841