The Experience of Nothingness

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9780060902391: The Experience of Nothingness

In The Experience of Nothingness, Michael Novak has two objectives. First, he shows the paths by which the experience of nothingness is becoming common among all those who live in free societies. Second, he details the various experiences that lead to the nothingness point of view. Most discussions of these matters have been so implicated in the European experience that the term "nihilism" has a European ring. Novak, however, articulates this experience of formlessness in an American context.

In his new introduction, the author lists four requirements that must be met by an individual in order for the experience of nothingness to emerge: a commitment to honesty, a commitment to courage, recognition of how widespread the experience of nothingness is, and a virtue of will. Novak writes that these principles are what guide self-described philosophical nihilists. But many people simply borrow the nihilistic conclusions without observing the moral commitments to them. For this reason Novak believes that nihilism is fraudulent as a theory intended to explain the experience of nothingness. Nihilism in practice, he maintains, often results in a form of intolerance. The Experience of Nothingness is a work that will cause many scholars to rethink their beliefs. It should be read by philosophers, theologians, sociologists, political theorists, and cultural historians.

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About the Author:

Michael Novak is George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He has twice been the US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission and is a member of the National Endowment for Democracy board. He is the author of over two dozen books and numerous scholarly articles which have appeared in First Things, The Weekly Standard, and National Review Online. He is the winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.



Michael Novak is George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He has twice been the US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission and is a member of the National Endowment for Democracy board. He is the author of over two dozen books and numerous scholarly articles which have appeared in First Things, The Weekly Standard, and National Review Online. He is the winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

Review:

"Michael Novak is a truly creative thinker at a time when American religious thought is dominated by fads.... His book bears rare fruit for the contemporary student of man."

The Nation

"A vigorously written book by a philosopher of the rising generation which makes the effort to explore the current mood of alienation and disorientation, to speak for that mood, and to go beyond it to the expression of an ideal which might turn this mood from a purely negative one into an affirmative program."

—Charles Frankel, Book World

“Novak has presented us with an important reflection on a timely subject. Here, philosopher Novak waxes on humankind’s ‘growing awareness of inner emptiness’ and our ability nonetheless to carry ourselves beyond despair."

Library Journal

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Novak, Michael
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Novak, Michael
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