Wretched Aristotle: Using the Past to Rescue the Future

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9780739140062: Wretched Aristotle: Using the Past to Rescue the Future

About eighty-five years ago, philosophers and literary intellectuals as diverse as Edmund Husserl, George Santayana, and Paul Valéry, aware of the declining influence of Christianity, spoke of "the crisis of Western civilization." In Wretched Aristotle: Using the Past to Rescue the Future, Jude P. Dougherty offers an intriguing reexamination of this crisis in contemporary times. Situating his argument in the context of ongoing debate concerning the nature of the public philosophy that underpins ideas of freedom, Dougherty identifies the essential features of Western culture through a series of interrelated essays. Each essay reinforces the idea that modernity cannot be understood apart from its break with classical antiquity. Wretched Aristotle offers a refreshing historical approach to this issue that will make it appealing to those interested in the mutual influence of science and culture and the role of religion in culture.

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About the Author:

Jude P. Dougherty is dean emeritus and professor emeritus of philosophy at The Catholic University of America and editor ofThe Review of Metaphysics.

Review:

The work is grand in scope and vision while rich in details and particulars. It is popular without being simple, wide-ranging without being superficial, topical without being ephemeral. (Peter Simpson, City University of New York)

This copious book defends the timeless wisdom of the perennial philosophy and the classical-Christian heritage. It exposes the fallacies and shortcomings of doctrines and ideologies that renounce this ancient heritage of Western civilization in the name of science, multiculturalism, globalization, and secularism-all of which fall short in guiding modernity in the pursuit of happiness . . . To read this book from essay to essay is to learn the history of philosophy from its classical beginnings to its modern developments and to gain a greater appreciation for the moral wisdom and rational mind that distinguish Western civilization. This book is a compelling apologia that demonstrates the practical and moral consequences of upholding the venerable perennial philosophy as a great source of human and divine wisdom-a luminous source of truth based on reason and faith that respects the nature of things. This fullness of truth that embodies the noble, the heroic, and the divine makes modern ideologies and materialistic philosophies look like versions of Procrustes' bed-attempts to twist reality by stretching, cutting off, and torturing the legs to fit the ill-contrived bed rather than adapting ideas that conform to reality and making a bed that fits (The Wanderer Newsletter, November/December 2009)

A salutary reminder of Western culture's enormous debt to its religious and Hellenic roots, Wretched Aristotle also presents a resounding challenge to dismissals and neglect of their persisting importance to contemporary life and thought. On display in these essays are all the erudition and realism, lucidity and common sense characteristic of the best traditions of an American Catholic philosopher. Dougherty does not flinch from engaging many troubling theoretical, social, moral, and political issues of our day. His work has the great virtue of framing those issues against the rich backdrop of philosophy's complex history and within a sustained, passionate reflection on the divinely ordered place of human beings in nature. (Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Boston University)

This copious book defends the timeless wisdom of the perennial philosophy and the classical-Christian heritage. It exposes the fallacies and shortcomings of doctrines and ideologies that renounce this ancient heritage of Western civilization in the name of science, multiculturalism, globalization, and secularism-all of which fall short in guiding modernity in the pursuit of happiness . . . To read this book from essay to essay is to learn the history of philosophy from its classical beginnings to its modern developments and to gain a greater appreciation for the moral wisdom and rational mind that distinguish Western civilization. This book is a compelling apologia that demonstrates the practical and moral consequences of upholding the venerable perennial philosophy as a great source of human and divine wisdom-a luminous source of truth based on reason and faith that respects the nature of things. This fullness of truth that embodies the noble, the heroic, and the divine makes modern ideologies and materialistic philosophies look like versions of Procrustes' bed-attempts to twist reality by stretching, cutting off, and torturing the legs to fit the ill-contrived bed rather than adapting ideas that conform to reality and making a bed that fits the actual bodies of human beings. (The Wanderer Newsletter, November/December 2009)

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