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81. A Path with Heart : A Guide Through
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82. The Places that Scare You : A
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83. Business Ethics: Concepts and
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84. The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness
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85. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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86. History of Beauty
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87. Ethics: Theory and Practice, Eighth
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89. On Bullshit
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99. Socrates to Sartre and Beyond:
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100. Freethinkers : A History of American

81. A Path with Heart : A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
by JACK KORNFIELD
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
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Asin: 0553372114
Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 10843
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In undertaking a spiritual life, we must make certain that our path is connected with our heart, according to author and Buddhist monk Jack Kornfield. Since 1974 (long before it gained popularity in the 1990s), Kornfield has been teaching westerners how to integrate Eastern teaching into their daily lives. Through generous storytelling and unmitigated warmth, Kornfield offers this excellent guidebook on living with attentiveness, meditation, and full-tilt compassion.

Part of what makes this book so accessible is Kornfield's use of everyday metaphors to describe the elusive lessons of spiritual transformation. For example, he opens with "the one seat" lesson taught to him by his esteemed teacher. Literally it means sitting in the center of a room and not being swayed or moved by all the people and dramas happening around you. On a spiritual level it means sticking "with one practice and teacher among all of the possibilities," writes Kornfield; "inwardly it means having the determination to stick with that practice through whatever difficulties and doubts arise until you have come to true clarity and understanding." The same could be said for this "one book." Among all the spiritual self-help books, this is a classic worth sticking with and returning to--a highly approachable teacher that can only lead to greater clarity and understanding. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest. Truthful. Full of Heart.
I follow a pathway of self-teaching, formerly with a teacher, and now on my own. Kornfield's book was of immense importance to me in making my decision to stay or leave a particular metaphysical church group following disclosure of the married teacher/minister's affair with a fellow student. He succinctly and with HEART put into words my emotional reaction, gut feelings and intellectual musings of the situation, resulting in my growth as a human being. I decided to leave the group because it was unable to maintain what I believed to be a minimal standard for behavior, and Kornfield was able to assist me in deciding what my boundaries would be. I have read the entire book many times since I first found it years ago and it remains fresh and applicable to whatever I might question. A PATH WITH HEART IS A MUST FOR ANY SPIRITUAL SEEKER.

5-0 out of 5 stars Personal and Universal
I read this book when it was first published and recognized immediately that Jack Kornfield's path was also 'my path'. It inspired a deepening of my spiritual practice and a truly happier and more peaceful life. I re-read it whenever I need a boost. This book is very personal, and also universal. Jack uses stories from his own experience to illuminate the path of a more general spiritual journey, and to entertain us.
It's a must for anyone seeking guidance for a spiritual journey or inspiration to begin one. A Path With Heart speaks to the heart, the mind, the body and the soul. It is accessible, it is not religious, it is not heavy duty philosophy. Read it.

2-0 out of 5 stars get the tapes instead
Jack Kornfield is responsible for inspiring me to start my daily practice 8 years ago. I got a set of tapes, I think it was _The Inner Art of Meditation_ from the library and found myself rushing home at the end of the day because I /got to/ listen to the tapes and meditate.

I've gone to sittings with J.K. at Spirit Rock in Woodacre, CA & have always come away inspired and with renewed commitment to my practice.

I'm afriad this book hasn't caught my attention. I've picked it up and put it down many times over the past year and a half, finding it dense and far from the esence I am seeking. I highly recommend the tapes, I highly recommend Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation (Shambhala Classics) (Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield). I also recommend _After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path_ (also J.K.)

J.K. is a great teacher. His other works have spoken to me much more clearly than this one.

May all beings everywhere know peace.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic, and rightfully so!
What would American Buddhism have done without Jack Kornfield? It wouldn't have come so far so fast, that's for sure. In A Path With Heart, Kornfield once again proves he is the master of gentle spiritual learning. It is a book for every person who wants to become enlightened, or even "just" a better person!

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for all spiritual seekers
This book is written in a clear flowing compassionate style that is easily accessible to all levels of seekers. While Kornfield is Buddhist, this book embraces all wisdom traditions. For those new to the path, no matter what tradition, this book presents invaluable information on how to walk the path and avoid the costly detours and potholes. He deals sensitively and expertly with issues such as finding a teacher, how teachers go astray, how to deal with problems and complications that arise on the path and how to avoid them in the first place. The Bible says "Straight is the path, narrow is the gate, few find it." Kornfield's book enables many more to find it.

I found this book after many years of spiritual study and meditation. I wish it had been available earlier. I recommend it to all my beginning students. ... Read more


82. The Places that Scare You : A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)
by PEMA CHODRON
list price: $12.95
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Asin: 1570629218
Catlog: Book (2002-08-13)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 2245
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

We always have a choice, Pema Chodron teaches: We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. In The Places That Scare You, this beloved Tibetan Buddhist nun and bestselling author provides the tools to deal with them – the practical means to cultivate an awakened, compassionate ability to open our hearts and minds to our own suffering and that of others. Shambhala Lion Editions. Unabridged book on tape read by Tami Simon. ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Facing the Places That Scare Us
Pema Chodron's latest book, "The Places That Scare You," was released just before the world experienced the embodiment of all the places that scare us: the inconceivable catastrophic events of September 11 and their aftermath. Of course, we must not pass over the monumental suffering cause by these events. However, the real message of September 11 is to point out the insecurity that constantly lies beneath the surface of our existence, the groundlessness that we fear and either try to ignore or to flee. Fear ordinarily shuts down our hearts and minds; it makes our world smaller. But when we begin to relate to our fear fully and properly, the vulnerability that we ourselves experience is transformed into genuine caring for others and for our world. In her book, Pema presents various tools for facing up to fear as a springboard for giving birth to bodhichitta, the awakened heart of love and compassion. These include mindfulness meditation, training in the four limitless ones (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity), and the practice of tonglen (exchanging ourselves for others). For people interested in learning more about tonglen, Pema has written another book called "Tonglen: The Path of Transformation," which is available from Vajradhatu Publications.

5-0 out of 5 stars OPEN YOUR HEART AND YOU RELEASE SUFFERING!
Pema Chodron, a Tibetan Buddhis nun, is the one inspirational person you would choose to have with you when your world falls apart. Being a follower of Buddhist Philosophies for many years, I have found inner peace, strength, love and fulfillment through my beliefs. Each one of us must find "enlightenment" from whatever source we alone believe in, but for me, personally, Buddhism has been the answer. As the author reminds us, "Loving kindness comes from opening ourselves to vulnerability."

Meditation, mindfulness and practices such as "tonglen" (taking in the pain and suffering of others while sending out happiness) can be key tools in ridding ourselves of negativity, anxiety and fear. Each of us has within us the power to overcome that which causes us fear. Chodron explains how we can use these tools to overcome almost any obstacle or challenge.

Another book by the same author which is highly recommended is "When Things Fall Apart." Both offer excellent words of wisdom and advice and both are deserving of a five-star rating. Chodron is a teacher, a sage, an inspirationalist, a mentor and a prime example of one who is good, compassionate, understanding, kind and loving.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lot more to this than meets the eye
Pema Chodron seems to get mostly favorable reactions from reviewers, although a few are turned off by what they see as her complacency and hard-edged analysis. To the latter, I suggest reading "traditional" self-help books (there are plenty out there) that are either squishy (John Bradshaw and Wayne Dwyer come to mind) or tell you to "Just Do It" (Eat That Frog, Who Moved My Cheese).

I like Chodron and this book because I think she takes a middle path between compassion and "tough love". So many books tell us to be in the moment and experience life just as it is, warts and all. I think this book goes into a little more depth regarding the many aspects of awareness and the mind-games we play with ourselves. I also get a sense that Ms. Chodron has been through a lot in life, from both a personal and a spiritual perspective. That makes her writing a little more down to earth than, say, Deepak Chopra (many of you will cringe that I even mentioned his name in this review).

An interesting insight that I got from this book is the concept of groundlessness. In 12-step programs and some Christian circles they talk about being "spiritually grounded", which means to have beliefs that are not whimsical or based on hunches, but are well-established principles espoused by your program/religion. Chodron would appear to disagree with this description somewhat, and I'm on her side, in that you should always question what the truth is, even the Buddha's teachings. Even enlightenment is not the end, she says, but really is just the start of truly living. Groundlessness, then, is being able to be in the moment with no pre-conceived ideas or desires for a particular outcome. It could also be called egolessness.

Where this book comes up short is that it is highly repetitive, especially in the middle chapters. She basically repeats the same exercise for practicing lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. I didn't get as much as I would like out of those sections; I think they're more for someone who's in a heavy-duty meditation practice.

I think this book could be easily misinterpreted by someone who picks it at random from a library or bookstore. The stuff that's talked about in here may seem simple or even counter-intuitive, but I believe it's the result of the author's long spiritual journey. Many self-help books and religions advertise that they can cure whatever your problem was in X easy steps (and have testimonials to prove it). The Places That Scare You says that there is relief from suffering, but finding relief is just the beginning.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sound Advice
Pema Chodron teaches us here that indeed, we always have a choice: We can let conditions in our lives make us more fearful, anxious and ever more bitter, or we can allow them to diminish and thus make us kinder. The choice truly is our own, whether we always care to admit this or not. Here she provides us with the tools necessary to deal with the challenges we face in our lives, to open our hearts and above else our minds to the suffering of ourselves and ultimately others; tools which helps us move beyond apprehension which is always preventing us from being honest and loving towards one another.

"So beautifully written that the reading is a pleasure-speaks to people of all religious persuasions." - The Los Angeles Times.

This was a brilliant book, I cannot recommend it enough to any of you.

5-0 out of 5 stars All her books are wonderful..........
This is the second copy of this book I have bought, since I gave one copy to the local library because it is so wonderful. The whole book is overflowing with wise, gentle advise or wisdom as I prefer to call it. So many of the Chapters have added value to my life. Especially The Facts of Life which reminds us that life is fluid and never static so learn how to go with the flow and not have you canoe capsize. Or Learning to Stay when one is more apt to want to run away from a challenge. Finding the Ability to Rejoice was an excellent chapter because we humans, especially we Americans are all to apt to be self-centered and looking for what we think we want that we fail to see just how blessed and happy we really are.

The Chapter on the Three Kinds Of Laziness is one most Americans need to read. The first kind of laziness the author shares is based on our tendency to want to avoid inconveniences. Second kind is loss of the heart, or the "poor me" habit. The third kind is the "couldn't care less" type which is often related to resentment. Or giving the world the obscene finger gesture. It's either the world owes me something and I'm not getting it or the idea that because we aren't getting what we think we want we get mad and basically say screw the world and we shut ourselves off from others.

When the Going Gets Rough is also a great chapter because its a good kick in the pants reminder that life is both glorious high peaks where we can savour everything we see, as well as valleys with bogs and tough terrain, which if we would just stop complaining and instead become more observant, could provide wonderful life changing experiences just as great as the mountain top.

In fact I am reminded of how the most successful and happy people often love the process of getting the success more than the success and in fact once they obtain success in something they aren't prone to sit on their buttocks but are quick to seek a new challenge that will provide more life changing and positive lessons. ... Read more


83. Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases (5th Edition)
by Manuel G. Velasquez
list price: $69.33
our price: $69.33
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Asin: 0130938211
Catlog: Book (2001-06-27)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 37254
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book provides readers with a clear, straightforward writing style, an abundance of examples, detailed real-life cases, and current data and statistics. It aims to 1) introduce ethical concepts that are relevant to resolving moral issues in business, 2) develop the reasoning and analytical skills needed to apply ethical concepts to business decisions, 3) identify the moral issues involved in the management of specific problem areas in business, and 4) examine the social and natural environments within which moral issues in business arise.Chapter topics cover ethics and business, ethical principles in business, the business system, ethics in the marketplace, ethics and the environment, the ethics of consumer production and marketing, the ethics of job discrimination, and the individual in the organization.For anyone in business. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars The book with show the ethical in doing business
This book will provide you with the ethic activities when doing business. You can learn from the various cases in this book that show you how good & bad to doing you business. Ethic its about do right or wrong that much depend from the social standard. From this book we can learn much enough how to threat your customers in the ethic way. In much case in this book will show you the unethical activities that doing by the company finally they have to face the lawsuit or crash down. Just read this book first before you serve your customer in ethic way.

3-0 out of 5 stars Up to Date Ethical Situations
This book is very up to date on the ethics surounding business today. It thougholy explains the different theories and concepts of business ethics. I rate this book high on content, but low on context. This is a good book but is long and dry, this author repeats himself and does not always get to the point directly.

4-0 out of 5 stars Concise and well-written, although not perfect
I read this book as part of the first year of my MBA program and, in general, would recommend it to others with questions about business ethics. The book is quite well-written and a worthwhile read, although I would argue with some of Mr. Velasquez's conclusions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent text book
This book is our text book for the first year of MBA program. The author discusses the nature and significance of ethical standards and identifies four kinds of moral principles for resolving ethical dilemmas in business. We all learn a lot from this book. ... Read more


84. The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World
by Maggie Goswami, Richard E. Reed, Amit Goswami
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0874777984
Catlog: Book (1995-03-01)
Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
Sales Rank: 2116
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars Monistic Idealism Creates Confidence In Your Consciousness
I've recently returned from a journey to the rain country of western Oregon where I discovered "monistic idealism." It's about to become a philosophy of choice in the consciousness revolution.

I gathered this intelligence at the Eugene home of Amit Goswami, Professor of Physics at the Institute of Theoretical Studies at the University of Oregon. I arranged this special interview because of Goswami's new book, The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World. (Tarcher/Putnam). I wanted to meet the person who authored such a book and to make sure I was correctly understanding its many profundities.

At first glance, the book appears to be one of those "new science" books that have become so popular. It does describe quite well the basic experiments of quantum physics, the ones that produce such paradoxes as the dual identity (wave and particle) of electrons and their ability to communicate at a distance with each other instantaneously (non-locality). But rather than simply leaving us with a "Gee, whiz, isn't this incredible?" impression that the real world isn't as we assumed, Goswami boldly, yet very thoughtfully, introduces us to monistic idealism and suggests we accept it as a foundation for a new, and quite compelling, worldview.

Monistic idealism is the academically correct name given to a philosophical position that once was considered pre-scientific. It existed before the advent of what philosophers today label as materialistic dualism,. or what we might call the current official scientific world view. Materialistic dualism is the assumption that physical matter is the primary reality and that mind is separate from, but dependent upon, matter. In this view, mind is a secondary phenomena, or, to use the favored term, is an "epiphenomenon," meaning that it is some kind of separate, extra stuff that bubbles harmlessly out of brains. Monistic idealism, however, turns things around. In this position (dating back to Plato in the West, to Hinduism and Buddhism in the East), there is but one mind and it is the primary reality. Matter is an expression of mind, not separate from mind, but mind manifested materially. The worldview expressed in Edgar Cayce's psychic readings is a perfect example of monistic idealism. Cayce's formula, "Spirit is the Life, Mind is the Builder, the Material is the Result," for example, gives consciousness a very creative role in manifesting the material world.

Goswami's book basically says, "Look, if you'll adopt the viewpoint of monistic idealism, then everything--the paradoxes of quantum physics, the puzzle of individual consciousnesss and free will, the enigma of psychic abilities, the universals in spiritual teachings--everything falls into place!" His book is a journey of creative thinking, providing the most credible and complete tour of the worldview we call "The New Paradigm" that I've yet read.

One of the early warning signs of this new paradigm, which Goswami refers to as the "consciousness revolution," was Heisenberg's uncertainty principle: The observer affects the observed. The scientist looks into the microscope at nature to find nature responding to the observation. How did nature know there was a scientist looking? It takes an electron, it turns out, to know an electron. When the scientist flashes a light on atomic structures, the photons of light disrupt the atoms observed. This simplistic explanation, however, is misleading because it hides the greater truth. Goswami points out that we habitually use materialism to assume that there is a fixed material reality--independent of the observer--one that is simply rebuffed by our gaze. Reality is not fixed, however, and that is where the observing consciousness makes a difference. There is literally a quantum leap of creativity that comes into play as the observer, searching for the material electron "thing" within the etheric electronic wave activity, forces the many possibilities into a single, manifested actuality by the very act of observation The quantum leap is, according to Goswami, like an act of grace--creative, unpredictable, synchronistic and "non-local" (psychic). In talking with him, I realized that it took a quantum leap in my own imagination to fully digest all the implications of monistic idealism. It was easy to understand the ethical implication that we each have to take responsibility for our choices. Goswami emphasizes that it make a difference which ideals we live by, because they determine which potentialities in the unmanifest, quantum mind will materialize through the channel of our individual lives.

Individuality, by the way, especially in the context of a universal consciousness, becomes an intriguing question. Edgar Cayce once had a dream envisioning the mind as being like a single star with spokes radiating out to form individually functioning conscious minds. This model expresses exactly the transcendent, unitary mind assumed by monistic idealism. The spokes even anticipate Goswami's formulation as to how and why the unitary mind creates the impression of separate individual minds.

Why, if consciousness is truly unitive and singular, do we have the experience of separate minds? The brain, according to Goswami, is a measuring instrument. It collapses the non-local (a.k.a., infinite and eternal) quantum mind into concreteness and specificity as manifested through individual experience. Our individual "minds" are necessary to "realize" (make real) the material world. We are co-creators of reality, yet created ourselves to help reality become aware of itself. Goswami refers to the theory of &quot

5-0 out of 5 stars Great re-thinking of the implications of quantum physics!

Most books that explore the intersection between science and spirituality seem to be written by non-scientists who explain some basic scientific principles and then extrapolate wildly to support their spiritual viewpoint.

Goswami, a physics professor, approaches it from the other direction. He carefully lays out a scientific theory - essentially that matter is a phenomina of consciousness rather than vice versa.

In the process he navigates through various topics in physics, mathematics, religion, and philosophy in order to provide the necessary components for us to get a grip on his theory of "monistic idealism" which he proposes as an alternative to the current "material realism" (matter is all that is real) which pervades scientific thought today.

I don't want to imply that I'm stupid, but the only fault I found with the book was that much of his jargon and scientific references went right over my head - so I came away with a good understanding of his theory, but also with the impression that much of it's depth and subtlties were lost on me.

I'm not sure how this book was received by the author's peers (if at all) but he impressed me as a "blow-the-lid-off-the-subject" type of scientist who is willing to ruffle feathers and push beyond the traditional limitations of his field to integrate various disciplines in a search for a truth that doesn't just look right on paper but also jives with human experience and the soul.

Well worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spirituality from the perspective of physics.... amazing!
It has been a long time since I was so happy reading a book.

I grew up in Christian Science. As a Christian Scientist I would not normally approach the subject of spirituality from the perspective of physics. However, even though Goswami doesn't OVERTLY talk about spirituality per se, I was amazed at how you can get to virtually the same conclusions on God, Life, and universal consciousness as Mary Baker Eddy taught and wrote about in "Science and Health" about 130 years ago.

I hope that "The Self-Aware Universe" and Dr. Goswami don't get burdened with erroneous labels of "cultism". Maybe the Science will be a little more accepted in this day and age.

4-0 out of 5 stars Accepting new concepts of reality
I thought that this book was very interesting. I would also recommend "The Science of G-d" by Israeli physicist Gerrard Shroeder. I am constantly surprised by the number of individuals that seem threatened by different concepts of reality. I am an environmental scientist and not a physicist, but I keep up with many of the current trends in physics. Considering the fact that it has been proven multiple times in reputable physics labs that reality can be affected by consciousness. I didn't feel this book was a big leap. Anyone that studies up on laboratory experiments involving photons and observation would be doing a disservice to science by not at least acknowledging that the mind can exist on levels beyond physical synapses.

How else could physical observation by an intelligent mind effect the ultimate outcome of any individual photon?

4-0 out of 5 stars Ignore much of the negative reviews
Really good books always challenge you, and the response to the challenge can be quite varied.

Some people respond with a wary eye but an open mind.

Others don't care.

Still others enthusiastically embrace any challenge and work with it to see where they get to in the end.

Then there are the people who just as enthusiastically resist any open challenge to an established, "gut" idea. These people respond irrationally, with fear and excessive caution. Many of the reviews of this book fall into the latter category.

Yes, Goswami's interpretation of quantum mechanics has been disputed. What this has to do with anything is rather irrelevent. To the gentleman who named Polkinghorne by name, Polkinghorne's interpretation of physics has been challenged numerous times as well. There is no one interpretation physicists agree on. Look at the results and you can even see that not all of them agree the Earth exists!

Further, this gentleman points out that the reformulation of Descartes' Cogito argument could well be "God chooses, therefore I am". How silly this is supposed to be a criticism. Anyone who understands the book knows that Goswami is talking about a transcendent mind, not a personal one. He IS talking about God.

It is true that Goswami does not hold up every so-called "paranormal" event as evidence of his idealist philosophy. Again, this is irrelevent. Science always progresses this way--a new model appears and allows us to explain something we previously though impossible, but it does not logically follow that everything we thought impossible is now explainable by the model, now does it?

I was ready to blast Goswami's point about the OBE (Out-of-body-experience) because I read the Amazon.com review that declares Goswami debunks the OBE because it suggests dualism (which it does not, at least necessarily). This is not at all what Goswami does--what he says in the book is that the appearance that the mind has escaped the body is false, but the event is not. Goswami basically points out that if all that exists is (fundamentally) mind, then the OBE is merely a "shift of perception" if you will in the universal Mind. If I sit across from my friend, there is no difference between perceiving my body through her mind or through my own, because our minds are really the same since both derive from and reside within the transcendent mind--it is the assumption that they are not which leads to the mistaken belief the mind has somehow "left" the body.

Goswami makes a fine argument for demolishing material realism. It's not that hard, to be honest, because you have to be a blockhead to be a materialist (pun intended). Goswami's monistic idealism is certainly not the only possible scientific viewpoint (there are dozens of contenders) but so far this is the only view that bridges a gap between science and religion so well. ... Read more


85. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (10 Volume, Printed Boxed Set)
by Edward Craig, Luciano Floridi, Routledge
list price: $3,775.00
our price: $3,775.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415073103
Catlog: Book (1998-05)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 511755
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In this 10-volume set, we have a truly global encyclopedia of metaphysical thought--not just philosophy, but theology as well. Although it has noticeable British and American sensibilities, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a multicultural affair with over 2,000 individual articles, including entries for Cheng Hao and Baal Shem Tov along with René Descartes and Immanuel Kant, and it discusses Mahayana Buddhism as ably as it discusses deconstruction theory. Admirable efforts have been made by the individual contributors (all 1,300-plus of them) to maintain such clarity of presentation as to provide a sophisticated yet accessible intellectual primer that requires only a willingness to learn. This is the philosophic equivalent of the Oxford English Dictionary, doubling as an indispensable reference and a marvelously indulgent splurge. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Essential, but ...
It is the best encyclopedia of philosophy available in English,
and as comprehensive as one could reasonably want on the
Anglo-American analytic tradition. However, it is still inferior
to the magisterial Historisches Woerterbuch der Philosophie, ed.
Joachim Ritter (12 vols., of which 11 have thus far been
published) - the one true indispensable philosophical reference
work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource
This collection, especially the CD-ROM version is a very useful resource. It is easy to use and very consice, full of information. This encyclopedic collection contains all themes in philosophy and some in religion, which makes it useful when someone is trying to make connections to other fields. Individual philosophers and a general overview of their life works and projects, different idealogies and terms are all explained in full extent in this simple to use encyclopedia.

It is so exciting to be able to use this resource. It is a recent acquisition at the college's library, and since I have discovered it I haven't been able to put it down. I give it 5 stars, and although I haven't read it entirely (for obvious reasons), I think it will be a resource I will be using for the rest of my life.

Check it out and see for yourself!?!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply indispensable
We bought this encyclopedia set to the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen (both the 10 vol. hardbound and the cd-rom version). I simply find it indispensable and so do many of my colleagues and students. My experience is that this effect comes from the first glance in this work. We are not using this work as professional philosophers but as library and information scientists who needs a broad orientation about fundamental problems related to knowledge, its production, dissemination and use. In my opinion there is a general trend in many of the social sciences towards more theoretical and philosophical foundations. In this process it is extremely important that you have works that bring concise introductions to various traditions in thinking and scientific methodology. The importance of this work is in my view, that it allows researchers and students in social sciences and other fields to have a central reference point when we put forward our arguments.

This work is useful along several dimensions. In this review I shall only mention epistemology and the philosophy of science. We have in all the sciences (especially in the social sciences, psychology, media and information sciences) many approaches or "paradigms", for example: (social) constructivism, critical realism, empiricism, feminist epistemology, hermeneutics, historicism, paradigm theory (Thomas Kuhn), Marxist philosophy of science, critical rationalism (Karl Popper), positivism and logical positivism, postmodernism and poststructuralism, pragmatism, rationalism, and realism (with scientific realism and antirealism). One simply need to be informed about the basic principles behind such approaches, and the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the only place where you can get a reasonable detailed and comprehensive overview. Add to this that every article starts with a summary, and ends with references and reading lists (often annotated). This is simply a very user friendly design. Of course no work can answer all questions, and of course serious students need much more than this (and of course a few articles is a little disappointing). This work is, however, an important tool, that in my view cannot be overestimated. Its real importance is, I think, that it can strengthen the theoretical approaches in many sciences because it provides us with a common overview and reference point. When I am introducing or discussing Library and Information Science, I am trying to connect the different approaches or paradigms in this field to basic philosophical questions (se my article "Library and information science: practice, theory, and philosophical basis in the journal Information Processing and Management, vol. 36(3), 2000, pp. 501-531). In this way I hope to be able to contribute to the development of this field. In my opinion all other fields should benefit in a similar way. Why is philosophy important for most fields? Because the empiricist and positivist view is simply wrong. You cannot produce knowledge from observations alone. You simply have to consider many theoretical issues which have been clarified through accumulated experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fabulous resource
This is the best Encyclopedia of Philosophy I have ever used. So thorough and well cross-referenced! I would love to be able to purchase this series one volume at a time for my own use. THIS is the series of books I would want to have were I stranded on a desert island.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource, both to dip into and to study.
This is undoubtably the best recent acquisition that has been made by the Philosophy Faculty library in the University of Cambridge, U.K.. The contributors have been well-chosen and the entries both engage fully with the subject-matter yet retain clarity and accessibility. The indexing and cross-referencing are thorough and easy to use, and it is incredible how much this publication covers. I very much enjoy delving into unknown topics in this encyclopoedia; I am also relying on it to get me through my degree! ... Read more


86. History of Beauty
by Umberto Eco
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
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Asin: 0847826465
Catlog: Book (2004-11-20)
Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications
Sales Rank: 857
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it also has a lot to do with the beholder's cultural standards. In History of Beauty, renowned author Umberto Eco sets out to demonstrate how every historical era has had its own ideas about eye-appeal. Pages of charts that track archetypes of beauty through the ages ("nude Venus," "nude Adonis," and so forth) may suggest that this book is a historical survey of beautiful people portrayed in art. But History of Beauty is really about the history of philosophical and perceptual notions of perfection and how they have been applied to ideas and objects, as well as to the human body. This survey ranges over such themes as the mathematics of ideal proportions, the problem of representing ugliness, the fascination of the exotic and art for art's sake. Along the way, the text examines the intersection of standards of beauty with Christian belief, notions of the Sublime, the philosophies of Kant and Hegel, and bourgeois culture. More than 300 illustrations trace the history of Western art as it relates, in the broadest sense, to the topic of beauty.

Yet despite its wealth of information, History of Beauty is an odd and unsatisfying book. Beginning with ancient Greece and ending with a too-brief chapter on "The Beauty of the Media," the text focuses exclusively (and unapologetically) on the Western world. Ultimately, it seems that "beauty" serves simply as a sexy peg on which to hang an abbreviated history of Western culture. Readers expecting a sophisticated treatment of the subject will be surprised at the textbook-like design, with numbered sections and boldfaced words keyed to small-type excerpts from writings by thinkers ranging from Boethius to Barthes. The main narrative (or perhaps the translation from the Italian?) can be ponderous and awkward. Only nine of the 17 chapters were written by Eco; the remainder are by lesser-known Italian novelist Girolamo de Michele. All in all, it looks as though someone had the bright idea of translating a textbook for Italian students into English, hoping to coast on the fame of Eco's name. --Cathy Curtis ... Read more

87. Ethics: Theory and Practice, Eighth Edition
by Jacques P. Thiroux
list price: $56.00
our price: $56.00
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Asin: 0131830023
Catlog: Book (2003-07-15)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 211638
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Well renowned and highly acclaimed, Ethics: Theory and Practice introduces readers with little or no background in philosophy or ethics to traditional and contemporary ethical theory using a clear, jargon-free style and a flexible organization.Discussing theories that readers can relate to their own life experiences, this Eighth Edition applies its material to various fields in the real world such as business, medicine, the environment, and the media. A host of examples and case studies illustrates for readers how to set up their own systematic, rational ethics and how to apply ethical theories to traditional and contemporary moral issues.For professionals with a career or interest in philosophy, ethics, psychology, and education. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good textbook for Introductory Ethics
I have used this textbook in my Intro to Ethics class... for three years. I would highly recommend it; it presents ethical theory in a concise and interesting fashion appropriate for a undergraduate level introduction to ethics. I especially like applied ethics aspects of the book. Thiroux presents compelling and controversial case studies in which students can apply the theory that they have learned in the first 4-5 chapters.

A few problems with the text:

(1) I'm not a big fan of Thiroux's personal ethical position -- this position is far too prominent in the text.

(2) Related to (1), I don't like the inclusion of the Appendices. In them, Thiroux further expounds on his position of Humanitarian Ethics and applies the position to most of the case studies that he presented the student with in the book. In my experience, I have found that once students find this section of the book, they use it almost as an answer key.

Overall, this is a good introductory text with far more plusses than minuses. ... Read more


88. Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems : Networks of Plausible Inference
by Judea Pearl
list price: $77.95
our price: $77.95
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Asin: 1558604790
Catlog: Book (1988-09-01)
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Sales Rank: 267703
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems is a complete and accessible account of the theoretical foundations and computational methods that underlie plausible reasoning under uncertainty.The author provides a coherent explication of probability as a language for reasoning with partial belief and offers a unifying perspective on other AI approaches to uncertainty, such as the Dempster-Shafer formalism, truth maintenance systems, and nonmonotonic logic.

The author distinguishes syntactic and semantic approaches to uncertainty--and offers techniques, based on belief networks, that provide a mechanism for making semantics-based systems operational.Specifically, network-propagation techniques serve as a mechanism for combining the theoretical coherence of probability theory with modern demands of reasoning-systems technology: modular declarative inputs, conceptually meaningful inferences, and parallel distributed computation.Application areas include diagnosis, forecasting, image interpretation, multi-sensor fusion, decision support systems, plan recognition, planning, speech recognition--in short, almost every task requiring that conclusions be drawn from uncertain clues and incomplete information.


Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems will be of special interest to scholars and researchers in AI, decision theory, statistics, logic, philosophy, cognitive psychology, and the management sciences.Professionals in the areas of knowledge-based systems, operations research, engineering, and statistics will find theoretical and computational tools of immediate practical use.The book can also be used as an excellent text for graduate-level courses in AI, operations research, or applied probability.

... Read more

Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not so much
I used this text in addtition to a few others for a course in probablistic reasoning (Bayes nets, etc.) and found that it was very unhelpful. The explanations were very poor and many parts were difficult to read. Also, there weren't very many examples and those that were provided were not very detailed. If you're looking for a text to learn probabilistic reasoning I would suggest trying a different book. Pearl's book could be useful as a 2nd or 3rd reference but not for the primary text. 2 thumbs down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!!
This book is an absolutely essential book for AI programming. I've found no better book for explaining the recent advances in probability theory and its relevance to real-life, practical artificial intelligence development. It's written in a very down-to-earth and highly entertaining style with plenty of examples.

I've been looking for a good introduction to Bayes nets for a long time, and this one is by far the best and most comprehensive.

Probability is increasingly becoming one of the major foundations of effective artificial intelligence, and I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in AI or probability theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars A seminal work
One of the best references on probability theory and uncertain reasoning, this book is one of my most prized. It's lucid enough to be an excellent textbook for the novice, and thorough enough to be a valuable reference for the experienced. It's a book that will always remind me (lest I forget) of the importance of probabilistic reasoning in AI. ... Read more


89. On Bullshit
by Harry G. Frankfurt
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
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Asin: 1419348876
Catlog: Book (2005-05)
Publisher: Recorded Books
Sales Rank: 2891
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit," Harry G. Frankfurt writes, in what must surely be the most eyebrow-raising opener in modern philosophical prose. "Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted." This compact little book, as pungent as the phenomenon it explores, attempts to articulate a theory of this contemporary scourge--what it is, what it does, and why there's so much of it. The result is entertaining and enlightening in almost equal measure. It can't be denied; part of the book's charm is the puerile pleasure of reading classic academic discourse punctuated at regular intervals by the word "bullshit." More pertinent is Frankfurt's focus on intentions--the practice of bullshit, rather than its end result. Bullshitting, as he notes, is not exactly lying, and bullshit remains bullshit whether it's true or false. The difference lies in the bullshitter's complete disregard for whether what he's saying corresponds to facts in the physical world: he "does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."

This may sound all too familiar to those of use who still live in the "reality-based community" and must deal with a world convulsed by those who do not. But Frankfurt leaves such political implications to his readers. Instead, he points to one source of bullshit's unprecedented expansion in recent years, the postmodern skepticism of objective truth in favor of sincerity, or as he defines it, staying true to subjective experience. But what makes us think that anything in our nature is more stable or inherent than what lies outside it? Thus, Frankfurt concludes, with an observation as tiny and perfect as the rest of this exquisite book, "sincerity itself is bullshit." --Mary Park ... Read more

Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars Isn't it ironic?
I read this interesting little booklet - if you will - while sipping coffee in a Barnes and Noble and taking a break from browsing other, heavier, works.It took about 35 minutes, including breaks for guffaws and note taking.And I enjoyed it.Few of us spend the intellectual capital to delineate BS from lies - but I think its worth the effort and Frankfurt has done most of the heavy lifting for us.

Isn't it ironic, however, that this little book arguably got most of its publicity from a Comedy Central show (The Daily Show with J. Stewart) which is itself an almost perfect definition of the term BS?A fake-news show that walks the line between social commentary and information service on one hand and comic hyperbole and exaggeration on the other?And doesn't care what the truth really is - just that you keep listening to what they have to say?

Bottom line - worth reading, but I'm not sure I'd spend $8 on it when I can read it in the time it takes to drink a Venti coffee.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pricey but interesting
It is a quick, interesting read. The book is not only insightful, but I also like the writing style. Yes, we are surrounded with BS, and I agree with the author that BS is probably bigger enemy of the truth than outright lies. At the same time, BS is so prevalent in our society nowadays that it is almost impossible to escape it, no matter where you go...

This is why I was very glad to find a book by an unknown author that writes in a very down-to-earth manner about so "over-BS-ed" topics as weight loss, health, and longevity. The book title is "Can We Live 150 Years?" and I do encourage anyone to compare it with many other titles in this genre (health, longevity) by all kind of well known BS-ers.

Back to Frankfurt. I think that the price of almost $10 (or $6 plus shipping at Amazon) is a little high to pay for 80 pages. But, on the other hand, it is comparable to the cost of coffee and a snack in an average cafeteria, so it is worth the fun...

4-0 out of 5 stars Informative, but can be hard to follow
Of all the books I have read, none have forced me to sit down and deconstruct each line as much as this book. Truly, this book is not for the simple-minded. There are a few small errors, but it is well-written overall.

I gave it four stars because Frankfurt gives plenty of sources and evidence, complete with lengthy quotes and footnotes. But best of all, his analytical thinking is superb. No one I know makes as well-reasoned conclusions as Harry does.

The only reason I'm not giving the book five stars is because it reads like a thesis, and I got lost sometimes.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfactory Exegesis (maybe 2.5*s)
It is doubtful that many readers could find this magazine-article sized book very helpful or useful in describing a vague speech phenomenon known as "bulls...". The author admits that it is a loose concept with any possible analysis being unavoidably "procrustean." His primary technique of getting at the essence of bulls... is by comparison to terms like "humbug", "bull", and "hot air", as well as to good old-fashioned lying. Most will find that the author's commentary is the typical philosophical dancing on the head of a pin: many words - no real clarity or closure.

A main point that can be discerned is that bulls... falls short of direct lying on the truth continuum. That revolves around the speaker's knowledge of the truth and intent to distort the truth. In the author's view, to a bulls...(er) the truth is almost an irrelevancy. Furthermore, it all seems rather benign in his construction.

It seems that a mighty wide net is being cast to locate bulls... . One example given, is that statements such as "I feel like I have been run over by a dog" by a sick person is a form of bulls... . This is an obviously nonsensical statement, issued more for colorful depiction, clear to all - both the speaker and listener. This is not bulls... . Modern advertising is also depicted as a more "careful" form of bulls... . But that invites the question: Is all propaganda bulls... ?

Perhaps nonsensical, empty, or flamboyant speech is one side of the bulls... speech phenomenon. But the author does not address a more pernicious view of bulls... . Bulls... is often regarded as a situation or interpretation created through misrepresentations that is harmful, obnoxious, etc - not benign. For example, the arbitrary (though elaborately or legalistically justified) imposition of a set of onerous rules. Or the mounting of plausible, but phony, evidence to justify an action. The justification for the Iraqi invasion comes to mind - surely an example of bulls... or worse.

It took a lot of nerve to publish the musings of a magazine article as a book. The book isfood for thought mostly because it is very incomplete and vague. Admittedly, the title was catchy. Most probably intuitively know more about bulls... than is located in these pages.

2-0 out of 5 stars Drop "On" from the title
I'm sorry to leave a poor review, under the pretext of; "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
I felt this book was a show of Mr. Frankfurt's own intelligence. He is truly a wise man, however, skirts the topic of his book and never really points to the 'Bullsh*t'. I find that at the end of the book, the reader is just made aware of the abundance of BS in the world, and is not left with any means to regard it.

Basically; this is book is so short because it doesn't cover anything. ... Read more


90. Business Ethics (with InfoTrac)
by William H. Shaw
list price: $76.95
our price: $76.95
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Asin: 053461972X
Catlog: Book (2004-04-09)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 112886
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Combining text and stimulating case studies, BUSINESS ETHICS provides a comprehensive, intellectually solid survey of business ethics, suitable for undergraduates at all levels with little or no philosophical background. Rich with examples and introductions, it introduces students to important philosophical concepts and principles via a range of perspectives: social, historical, philosophical, and personal. It encourages students to grapple with a range of compelling theoretical and practical issues in the evolving commercial landscape. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A little dry, but very current and interesting case studies.
The actual chapter text is a little dry and sometimes confusing, but the layout is good and the case studies at the end of the chapters are VERY interesting and thought-provoking.I may not have gotten through the class with an A if not for the way the book is so well organized and clear. ... Read more


91. Tao Te Ching : 25th-Anniversary Edition
by Lao Tsu
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0679776192
Catlog: Book (1997-03-04)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 3279
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Scholars say that the original Tao Te Ching is a poem. Like a poem, this version of the Tao Te Ching is not meant to be read in one breath from front to back, but is to be at intervals internalized and contemplated. Jane English's haunting black-and-white photos that undulate in and out on every page act as glycerin elixirs, helping the words slide into our souls for patient digestion. The photographs--of a glistening spider web, cloud-enveloped mountain tops, reflections on water, leaves in the sunlight--are as serenely lyrical as the ancient text, itself. ... Read more

Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Scholarly--Experiential!
"The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao."

So begins this version of the Tao Te Ching. This book provides an experience of the Tao like few others. First, there is the blank page. Lots of white space. The absence, the void.

"The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled."

"Profit comes from what is there, / Usefulness from what is not there."

Emptiness is the vessel which contains the words and images of this experience. Each chapter is written in both English and Chinese. I don't even pretend read Chinese, but the characters evoke a sense of something beyond ...

"The form of the formless / the image of the imageless / it is called indefinable and beyond imagination."

The English translation reads smoothly. This is not the awkward prose frequently stumbled over when a scholar attempts to reproduce the ambiguities of the original in a foreign tongue. These words play smoothly together. The text does

"not tinkle like jade / or clatter like stone chimes."

The final element in this alchemy is the photographs:

"Less and less is done / until non-action is achieved. / When nothing is done, nothing is left undone."

Absent in this volume are the reams of footnotes which clutter most Taos I've read. Absent, too, are chapters on historical background and the relationship to Confucianism. If you seek these things, seek elsewhere.

For me, this book has opened a way to the Tao.


5-0 out of 5 stars 'This is called "following the light."'
It is hardly difficult to understand the enduring quality of the Tao Te Ching. Written by Lao Tsu in the sixth century BC is a simple, quiet book that reflects upon our true nature and our behavior. Broken up into 81 'chapters' or short poems, it comprises a mere 5,000 words. Every other sentence is a memorable quote, and one can read it in an hour and study it for a lifetime.

What I do find remarkable is the durability of this particular edition. My copy is ancient, dating back to my college days. At frequent intervals it seems to come to hand and I will peruse it again and enjoy the clarity of this translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. They have carefully chosen a simple, accessible style which I feel completely captures the nature of the Tao. "What is a good man? A teacher of a bad man.

What is a bad man? A good man's charge."

Accompanying the text are many fine examples of Gia-Fu Feng's calligraphy and Jane English's photographs. While I like Chinese calligraphy, I lack the understanding to make any judgement. I can only report that it shows flow and grace, and works perfectly with English's photographs. These latter capture, most often with natural images, a play of contrast which often is as calligraphic as the accompanying handwriting. Thus, the book itself is a careful balance between content and form.

At the end of the day, or in an otherwise tense moment, this volume has often been the source of the tiny bit of sanity that makes the next day possible. There is much to meditate on here and this edition is a precious resource for the seeking mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple wisdom for eternity
This was the only personal book I had in my possession during my junior year of highschool when I was living with my paternal grandparents (most of the rest of my family's possessions were in storage in my other grandparents' house; long story). Since I discovered it on my parents' bookshelves in January of 1995, I have read it many times and never fail to experience the same sense of awe and agreement as I did the very first time. The ancient and beautiful words of Lao-Tzu helped to get me through a very tough year, and the description of the Tao as one, eternal, forever unchanging, the mother of the ten thousand things, unfathomable, unable to be truly grasped, nameless, elusive and intangible, and hidden deep yet ever present, strikes me as very similar to the Jewish belief in one God, one Divine Force which never changes and is unable to be fully grasped either. There are so many beautiful lines in here, so many true observations about human character, the Tao (or God, the Divine, Vishnu, Goddess, Great Spirit, however you call it), virtue, human nature, the nature of things. So many times Lao-Tzu points out that we cannot know something (like beauty, good, high, low, short, long, harmony, or softness) without experiencing its opposite. We are only able to see good as good because there is Evil in the world too, and beauty as beauty because there is ugliness. He also often mentions how these opposites can contrast and complement one another, follow one another, and overcome one another. One such example is that a small country can overcome a large nation which conquers it by submitting to it. I also love Chapter 31, which states that "[g]ood weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them," going on to say that a wise man (or woman) only uses weapons when one has no choice, and that "war is conducted like a funeral."

This is one of the most famous and important holy books in world religion, yet unlike the longer and more complex works such as the Bible, Koran, and Vedas, this is amazingly simple, easy to interpret, not hard to read or to study, and easy to sum up: "Simply be."

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless Wisdom For Eternal Application. 10 Stars!
Written centuries ago, the Tao Te Ching, written by Lao Tsu, brings humanity profoundly enlightened wisdom that when applied, will lift you into BEING, and free you from the pain of seeking.

This 25th anniversary edition is beautiful, with illustrations, calligraphy, and breathtaking quotes that you can share with others to uplift their lives. A GREAT book to bring with you and look through whether you are waiting in an office for an appointment, in stand-still traffic, or especially if you are out in nature, and want to inhale the wisdom that best accompanies a natural environment.

The words are timeless and priceless because of the profound truth they bring.
You will learn much, and gain a great deal from the wisdom in this book.
Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English did an outstanding job in translation. Highly Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Gate to all Mystery
I first encountered this translation in college as part of a comparative Chinese/Western philosophy course. At the time it went completely over my head; I preffered Confucius' "Anelects" and "Mencius." While I would highly recomend both of those to anyone interested in Eastern philosophy, it's impossible for me to describe the profound effect that the Tao Te Ching has has on my life. When I picked up this book again a few years after college I was stunned by it's simple beauty and staggering relevance and depth. A rare and priceless book, it touches on all aspectes of human existence- from metaphysics, to ethics, to the completely mundane.

I've had the chance to check out a few different translations but this one is by far the most effortles and poetic. Not wordy or didactic It allows the reader to "experience" Lao Tsu's words and to draw their own conclusions. (along with some helpful notes by the translator) This is essential in conveying the words of a thinker who "Teaches without teaching" and, in itself, is more true to the elusive "Tao" than versions that attempt to explain Lao Tsu's words. At the same time this ellegant translation is both clear and accesible.

The bottom line is that anyone interested in this work, whether they are aproaching it from a scholarly, aesthetic, religious, philisophical, or purely personal perspective, whether they are new to these words or not, will find far more than they expect in these pages. ... Read more


92. Dr. Quantum Presents: A User's Guide To Your Universe
by Fred Alan, Ph.D. Wolf
list price: $69.95
our price: $44.07
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Asin: 1591793483
Catlog: Book (2005-06-30)
Publisher: Sounds True
Sales Rank: 24078
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Book Description

In this Audio Learning Set, Dr. Fred Alan Wolf takes the listener on a stirring intellectual ride through the realms of human consciousness and its relationship to quantum physics. He espouses his theories on the universe, relativity, quantum mechanics, and much more. ... Read more


93. If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path
by Charlotte Sophia, Phd. Kasl
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.60
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Asin: 0140195831
Catlog: Book (1999-02-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 8960
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this practical, playful, yet spiritual guide, Charlotte Kasl, author of the highly successful Finding Joy: 101 Ways to Free Your Spirit and Dance with Life, shows you what it would be like to have the ancient wisdom of the Buddha to guide you through the dating process.

Kasl brings a compassionate understanding to the anxiety and uneasiness of new love, and helps readers discover their potential for vibrant human connection based on awareness, kindness, and honesty. She approaches the dating process as a means for awakening, reminding us that when we live by spiritual rules, we bring curiosity and a light heart to the romantic journey.

Filled with quotations from Zen, Sufi, and other wisdom traditions, and informed by the experiences of people from all walks of life, here is a relationship book that will appeal to readers looking for more than a Venus-meets-Mars solution to the complex affairs of the heart. ... Read more

Reviews (37)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
One nice thing about this book is that it doesn't get caught up in the whole male/female dating trap rules muck that clog the market. It asks you to be honest with yourself and others and to treat others with genuine love and compassion, which is something that is needed when it comes to male/female, straight/gay relations or any human relations. On the down side, it's mostly just a collection of common sense - there's nothing really unique in this book. Plus, as anyone who knows anything about Buddhism knows, the Buddha said nothing about romantic love. So, the book's premise itself is a little tenuous. I prefer "Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Little Book of Eastern Wisdom" by Taro Gold, which has taught me a great deal about the Buddhist view of life and has indirectly helped my relationships enormously.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best relationship book ever
If the Buddha Dated is the best guide to healthy relationships I've ever found. I recommend it all the time to anyone with relationship problems, or a tendency to have less than desirable results with others (friends included). No quick fix, but realistic spiritual-based advice that will help.

I also highly recommend "If the Buddha Were In Love" by Kasl, which is an audiocassette series that will absolutely change the way you view love and relationships. But in a wonderful way.

The books and tape series do not try to convert people into Buddhism (she incorporates all spiritualities, by the way), but I have found some people are put off by the mention of Buddhism. I wish they wouldn't and that they'd give it a chance.

4-0 out of 5 stars nice
Good book - most of it is common sense in the day to day dealing with folk in general. But then, common sense tends to be the kind easiest forgotten, so its a nice little reminder.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm finding one for each of those that are dearest to me.
And this showed in _perfect_ condition! Thank you for aiding in my quest to bring this little guide to life to my dearest friends. I am happy to give this as a gift in the condition it is in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect purchase of a perfect little guide to yourself...
The transaction couldn't have gone better. The book looks as if you just removed the shrink wrap and sent it. Perfect!
Thank you *bow* ... Read more


94. Philosophy: The Quest for Truth
list price: $70.00
our price: $70.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195156242
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 12881
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Praised for its accessibility and comprehensiveness, Philosophy: The Quest for Truth provides an excellent selection of classical and contemporary readings on nineteen key problems in philosophy. Louis Pojman has carefully organized the essays in each section so that they present pro/con dialogues that allow students to compare and contrast the philosophers' positions. Topics covered include the nature of philosophy, the existence of God, immortality, knowledge, the mind-body question, personal identity, free will and determinism, ethics, political philosophy, and the meaning of life. The fifth edition offers selections from Plato, Rene Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, William James, Bertrand Russell, John Hick, John Hospers, and James Rachels--as well as essays by Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, Thomas Hobbes, George Berkeley, Immanuel Kant, Gilbert Ryle, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, Alvin Plantinga, and many others. In Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, 5th edition, Pojman offers substantial introductions to each of the nineteen philosophical problems. In addition, each of the seventy-three readings is accompanied by an individual introduction with a biographical sketch of the philosopher, study questions, and reflective questions that challenge students to analyze and critique the material. Short bibliographies following each major section, an appendix on how to read and write philosophy papers, and a detailed glossary further enhance the text's pedagogical value. Invaluable for introductory courses in philosophy, this highly acclaimed text inspires and guides students' quest for wisdom. The fifth edition adds new study questions and nine new articles:* Father F. C. Copleston and Bertrand Russell: "A Debate on the Argument from Contingency"* Corliss Lamont: "Freedom of the Will and Human Responsibility"* Richard Taylor: "Fate"* Louis Pojman: "A Critique of Ethical Egoism"* Robert Paul Wolff: "In Defense of Anarchism"* Brian Barry: "A Cosmopolitan Theory of International Society"* Thomas Nagel: "The Absurd"* Thurgood Marshall: "The Death Penalty Is a Denial of Human Dignity"* Burton Leiser: "The Death Penalty Is Permissible" ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Solid Intro to Philosophy
I have used this test as a college philosophy instructor. Overall, I think it is one of the better introductory philosophy anthologies available. With a few exceptions (some noted below), the readings are well-chosen and reflect a balanced approach to controversial issues. The section introductions, reading summaries, and study questions for each of the readings are generally quite good.

My only substantive complaint, and it is one that applies to every other introductory philosophy anthology I have looked at, is that the selection of readings could in a few cases have been better. The essay on libertarian free will by Corliss Lamont is particularly weak and would be better replaced with a classic essay by Chisholm or a selection from Van Inwagen. Also, there are some significant lacunae in the philosophy of religion section. For example, there is no mention of the distinction between the deductive and the evidential problems of evil. Nor is there any treatment of important post-Paley theistic arguments such as the kalam cosmological argument and the cosmic fine-tuning version of the design argument.

On a positive note, I am pleased that Pojman included a recent defense of substance dualism by J.P.Moreland. Most anthologies only give a selection from Descartes' Meditations. Moreland's case is better than Descartes and sets up a good discussion of mind-body issues vis-a-vis the selection from materialist Paul Churchland.

5-0 out of 5 stars The search for knowledge
Iam a student at west los angeles collegeandI will be using this textbook for a begining Philosophy1 class. the only thing Ithat does need inprovment:there should be more words in the glossary. and a study guide to go along with this book. ... Read more


95. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
by Gary Gach
list price: $18.95
our price: $17.05
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Asin: 0028641701
Catlog: Book (2001-08-07)
Publisher: Alpha Books
Sales Rank: 42774
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Gary Gach is like that teacher you always wanted--easygoing, full of information, able to communicate in humorous and meaningful ways, and a little bit wacky. So he's the perfect author for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism. In this trademark easy-to-read format, Gach introduces us to a very human Buddha, along with the rules for living that make a Buddhist a Buddhist. In addition to the various kinds of meditation, he shows us how to meditate at meals and be aware of the interconnections in life. We learn about popular branches of Buddhism, like Zen and Tibetan, with an emphasis on practicing here and now. There is the theoretical: emptiness, nothingness, impermanence, as well as a very strong dose of the practical: Buddha at work, Buddhist films, environmental concerns, Buddhist celebrations, etc. Gach brings it all together with a light touch and an enthusiasm that makes you want to get up and do something Buddhist. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (21)

2-0 out of 5 stars Avoid this book...
This book is just plain poor. I purchased the Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism because I had previously read the Understanding Hinduism and Understanding Islam book of the same series. I enjoyed those books and felt they were well done. This book fails to live up the other two.

As one of the reviewers below notes, right from the beginning you get a taste of what is to come when the author describes the first Noble Truth as "Life involves dissatisfaction". Please.

I have read several other introduction-to-Buddhism type books and they were all better than this. In fact, I think if one did not already have a basic understanding of the concepts of Buddhism they would not be able to understand anything in this book. Perhaps the author tires to do too much and as a result I felt the book lacks focus.

The 'humor' is kind of annoying but that is something I have come to expect in the Idiot's series. What I think is more annoying is the way the author dumbs down the subject matter and jumps around from topic to topic. Also, the author seems to focus more on Buddhist culture than the core Buddhist beliefs and the practice of Buddhism itself. For example, there are chapters on Buddhism and Fine Arts, Buddhism and the Sciences, Buddhism and Popular Culture and so on. All these topics are mentioned but none of them are addressed in any detail. The author barely scratches the surface then moves on.

The book is 409 pages long and only sixteen of them are spent talking about the core principals of the Three Jewels and Four Noble Truths. The Eight Fold Path gets twelve pages. Further, the book does a terrible job of describing the different schools of Buddhism (Mahayana, Theravada, etc.) and explaining their differences.

If you are looking to read an introduction-to-Buddhism type book, I would recommend "Buddhism" from the Teach Yourself series.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview for the beginner, or for a refresher
Initially, I had great skepticism - c'mon a "Complete Idiots" book to get me started down the Buddhist path? Really? It just seemed so...so...*American*. But, I had to start somewhere, and my good friend Ben recommended it to me, so I gave it a shot. Now, having finished the book, I realize I owe both my friend and Gary Gach an immense debt of gratitude - this book is really amazing.

One problem I (and many others) have had with other beginning Buddhism books is that the format isn't one that's easy to soak up; the flow isn't as logical as this one's, or not enough detail or context is given to drive points home to a more understandable place. Gach has done a phenomenal job of keeping things simple enough not to overwhelm a newcomer, yet goes into enough detail to keep things interesting and real.

Gach goes beyond teaching the basic belief system into giving examples of how to apply what we've learned in real life, and where else to look for more information. He offers dozens of anecdotes, many koans, a plethora of historical tales and data points, a glossary, and a multitude of other items. One small criticism I have of this book is that he very often doesn't cite his sources when giving statistics.

Throughout the book, Gach returns to important concepts, but not in a manner which I found to be condescending at all - it was merely helpful to be reminded of X, Y, and Z at certain points throughout the book, because they were important to the current subject. The author gives the reader a very solid foundation to build his or her beliefs upon, should the reader desire, including a rich and detailed historical background of Buddhism throughout the world.

I will be unreservedly suggesting this book to anyone who expresses an interest in this spiritual path.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time On This Book !
I can't comment on the whole book, because I only got a few chapters into it. I have read a few other books on Buddhism, so I know a little about the subject. This book is hard to follow, the stupid remarks are annoying, and I think I found some grammer errors.

4-0 out of 5 stars An good overview and a start on the White Path
First, one has to accept what this book's (almost all of the series)
purpose is: overview and a guide/introduction. Also you have to
consider the style of these Idiot books (informal; light; humorous) as well.

Yeah, that's Right View :-)

In that light, this book is a very good (and most of the time funny)
introduction to Buddhism. It covers the basics: 4 Noble Truths,
8fold Noble Path and covers the basics of the major sects. All in
a relatively easy to understand manner in a conversational tone.

Of course, one can quibble about the depth of detail (and I do),
but again, I don't think that was the purpose of the book.

Yes, the books does slow down and gets less
cohesive once the author gets into the impact on other disciplines
(and that's what makes me take one star off), but overall, I would recommend this to anyone curious about Buddhism overall.

My only major quibbles are that it would have been nice if the
author mentioned where to go for more information about the sect in the text.

In Gassho,

4-0 out of 5 stars It's Ok
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism by Gary Gach, Michael Wenger may work for some but for those people who want easy to read information, it is an often confusing book. Sorta scattered or all over the place for me. The orange coloured reference card in the front of the book is good and basic, but the "Hear and Now and the "Along The Path" and "This Is" bits and pieces on every few pages were a distraction and to cute for my tastes. This does not mean it isn't a book others may well find very useful.

So I will now check out Buddhism For Dummies by Jonathan Landaw, Stephan Bodian and see if it is any different. I am by the way a Buddhist and am always looking for good books to buy on the subject to donate to my local library. Thus the books by the Dalai Lama and Pema Chodron are ones I always recommend. Also Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen.

E-Mail me if you have good recommendations. ... Read more


96. A Gift of Fire
by Sara Baase
list price: $60.00
our price: $52.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0130082155
Catlog: Book (2002-07-15)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 111916
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book explores social, legal, philosophical, ethical, political, constitutional and economic implications of computing from a computer scientist's point of view. It covers the issues individuals face as members of a technological society and offers guidance for professionals in computer-related fields. One of the book's goals is to develop computer professionals who understand the implications of what they create and how it fits into society at large.Chapter topics cover privacy and personal information, encryption and interception of communications, freedom of speech in cyberspace, intellectual property, computer crime, computers and work, broader issues on the impact and control of computers, and professional ethics and responsibilities.For programmers and software engineers. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars very exciting and thought provoking
it's a great book to begin in-class discussions

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Accessible
Because the author's ethics class at SDSU uses this text as a primary source, I may be a bit biased in my judgment of this book. For the class, it was an excellent reference, bringing up interesting points for discussion and showcasing these points with anecdotes -- some humorous, some downright frightening. Baase's writing style is accessible to a wide audience, and even the parts that, by virtue of being part of a textbook, are dry and only mildly interesting are digestible.

If you're looking for a book that will give you a general overview of problems associated with computing, this book will hit the spot. Without any noticable bias, it provides information from different perspectives, and even gives fair treatment to Luddites.

A good, solid choice.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GIFT OF FIRE
IN GIFT OF FIRE SARA BAASE ATTEMPTS TO COVER THE FULL RANGE OF SOCIAL, LEGAL, AND ETHICAL ISSUES RAISED BY COMPUTING.

4-0 out of 5 stars Price
What's up with the price? It's cheaper at Barnes and Noble...by 7 buck ... Read more


97. Politics and Vision : Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought
by Sheldon S. Wolin
list price: $39.95
our price: $39.95
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Asin: 0691119775
Catlog: Book (2004-05-03)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 68304
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a significantly expanded edition of one of the greatest works of modern political theory. Sheldon Wolin's Politics and Vision inspired and instructed two generations of political theorists after its appearance in 1960. This new edition retains intact the original ten chapters about political thinkers from Plato to Mill, and adds seven chapters about theorists from Marx and Nietzsche to Rawls and the postmodernists. The new chapters, which show how thinkers have grappled with the immense possibilities and dangers of modern power, are themselves a major theoretical statement. They culminate in Wolin's remarkable argument that the United States has invented a new political form, "inverted totalitarianism," in which economic rather than political power is dangerously dominant. In this new edition, the book that helped to define political theory in the late twentieth century should energize, enlighten, and provoke generations of scholars to come.

Wolin originally wrote Politics and Vision to challenge the idea that political analysis should consist simply of the neutral observation of objective reality. He argues that political thinkers must also rely on creative vision. Wolin shows that great theorists have been driven to shape politics to some vision of the Good that lies outside the existing political order. As he tells it, the history of theory is thus, in part, the story of changing assumptions about the Good.

In the new chapters, Wolin displays all the energy and flair, the command of detail and of grand historical developments, that he brought to this story forty years ago. This is a work of immense talent and intense thought, an intellectual achievement that will endure.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Visionary
That there are people waiting to buy our used copies of this book is a testiment in itself: this is simply a classic of political thought, one which has enriched political theorizing and instructed many a pupil in our traditions over the years. However, Wolin is working on a new edition which will (according to him), "repair" an "error" in this text, whatever it is. ... Read more


98. The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy
by Norman Melchert
list price: $74.00
our price: $74.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195175107
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 104357
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Book Description

This best-selling introductory text presents philosophy as an ongoing conversation about humankind's deepest and most persistent concerns. The Great Conversation traces the exchange of ideas between history's key philosophers, demonstrating that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind.

The Great Conversation is available in two separate volumes:Volume I covers Hesiod through Descartes (Chapters 1-13); Volume II includes "Moving from Medieval to Modern" (Chapter 12), and coverage of Descartes through Derrida and Quine (Chapters 13-25). ... Read more


99. Socrates to Sartre and Beyond: A History of Philosophy
by Samuel Enoch Stumpf, James Fieser
list price: $80.25
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Asin: 0072560789
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Langua
Sales Rank: 381766
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This comprehensive, historically organized introduction to philosophy communicates the richness of the discipline and provides the student with a working knowledge of the development of Western philosophy.New co-author James Fieser has brought this classic text up-to-date both chronologically and stylistically while preserving the thoughtful, conceptual characteristics that have made it so successful.The text covers all periods of philosophy, lists philosophers alphabetically and chronologically on the end-papers, and features an exceptional glossary of key concepts. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Survey of Western Philosophical Thought
This book, now in its seventh edition, is one of the better histories of western philosophical thought and development.In this edition, Fieser takes the reins, building upon the work of the late Samuel Stumpf, respected philosopher at Vanderbilt.This is a book that is comprehensive, yet fairly accessible as well.The beginner to philosophy might have difficulty with sections dealing with the more elaborate thinkers like Hegel or even Heidegger, but on balance, I think even a beginner will be able to get a great deal out of this book.

Through careful study of this book, the reader will begin to see how western society has been thoroughly shaped by the philosophies described here.While philosophy is regularly dismissed as irrelevant theorizing that has no bearing on the real world (a criticism that is not altogether invalid), what can be seen from reading this book is that ideas matter, and they have consequences that thoroughly shape the 'real world'.

Stumpf/Feiser begin with the pre-Socratic philosophers, and then devote considerable time to analyzing Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.It is Plato and Aristotle that Western thought owes its inheritance, and this can be seen in the treatment of Augustine and Aquinas and the outworkings of their philosophies/theological approaches and necessities.

Modernist philosophy gets a hard look in this book as well, starting with Descartes and moving up through Kant.Existentialism, both Christian and atheist, are examined through Kierkegaard and Sartre/Camus, and the book also devotes a decent amount of attention to Nietzche and analytic philosophy, the forebears of postmodernism.

In each case, the analyses in this book are solid, and while the treatment is certainly not exhaustive, many of the major ideas of the philosophers mentioned are handled quite well and in mostly understandable and accessible ways.

I will register only 2 minor complaints.The book's citationing approach is not good at all.The book regularly quotes from the works of the philosophers in question, but does not have formal citations.This is very fixable and should be fixed in the next edition, there's no reason why the citations shouldn't be in here.Secondly, postmodernism itself is still not dealt with as comprehensively as it should be.While Rorty's thought is discussed, Foucault, Derrida, and others are not and they should be in order to present an adequate picture of contemporary philosophy.In addition, the work of Plantinga also deserves mention but is excluded.

But overall, this is a fine survey - more advanced than Grenz's survey 'Primer on Postmodernism' (which I would recommend for those wanting a survey treatment on Derrida and Foucault), but still accessible for most anyone interested in a substantive treatment of Western philosophy. ... Read more


100. Freethinkers : A History of American Secularism
by Susan Jacoby
list price: $27.50
our price: $17.32
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Asin: 0805074422
Catlog: Book (2004-04-05)
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Sales Rank: 1256
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An authoritative history of the vital role of secularist thinkers and activists in the United States, from a writer of “fierce intelligence and nimble, unfettered imagination” (The New York Times)

At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason.

In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby paints a striking portrait of more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century’s civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected accomplishments of secularists who, allied with liberal and tolerant religious believers, have stood at the forefront of the battle for reforms opposed by reactionary forces in the past and today.

Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Clarence Darrow—as well as once-famous secularists such as Robert Green Ingersoll, “the Great Agnostic”—Freethinkers restores to history generations of dedicated humanists. It is they, Jacoby shows, who have led the struggle to uphold the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system.
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Informative and gripping
This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how the First Amendment protections of and from religion came about and have been interpreted and enforced (or not enforced) over the course of our history.
Jacoby does an excellent job of documenting and explaining the development not just of the secular point of view, but of the religious opinions freethinkers were up against in their times, and what the stakes were (and are) at each point.
Jacoby does a good job of debunking the religious right's assertions that it was religion that inspired the abolition and civil rights movements, when in fact both were made up evenly of religious and non-religious people. She also documents the rifts that religious and non-religious members of the women's rights movement experienced that set the movement back, and documents how the women's rights movement not only increased women's participation in society, but also weakened religion's hold on women, and how this was and is essential in winning (and maintaining) women's key rights.
Jacoby also delves into the religious (or not, depending on your take of her analysis) views of American political heroes Jefferson, Madison, Paine, John F. Kennedy, and Lincoln. It's important to describe that some of our most famous leaders and founders were, at best, ambivalent about religion. Jefferson's and Madison's views are especially important as writers of our DOI and Constitution. Their private writings indicate that they did indeed desire a "wall" between church and state, and lobbied in support of it.
Jacoby's last great analysis is of how throughout American history, anyone expressing unorthodox religious or political beliefs was denounced in pulpits all over the country as a god-hater, and therefore an America-hater. Whether you believed government should not support religious schools, slaves should be set free, women should be allowed to vote, workers should be allowed to unionize, industries should be regulated, evolution should be taught to children, or that black people should be able to share public facilities with whites, there were always a majority of religious figures ready and willing to accuse you of destroying the country and its morals, and individuals usually had to dissent from their own congregations to support equality, free speech, scientific knowledge and social justice.
Overall, my only criticism is that Jacoby set herself such a task that she had to only scrape the tip of the iceberg for each of her analyses. Fortunately, she includes a bibliography for advanced study. This book is a breath of fresh air in a climate that has been oversaturated with books either overstating religion's role in good movements or completing forgetting religion's role in keeping people poor, ignorant, and oppressed. I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A History Needs to be Built. This is a Good Cornerstone
Susan Jacoby's book, "Freethinkers" is a superb cornerstone needed to build a better history of America's secular traditions and strengths. Jacoby traces the Freethinking movement (which to her consists of individuals who are generally not motivated by a deity in their personal and political decisionmaking and who work to maintain a government aloof from questions regarding religion) from the nation's founding up to modern times.

The author provides a link from our founders, including Thomas Paine, through Robert Ingersoll--one of the greatest spokesperson on living a life unfettered from dogma--to the modern era. There is much to commend in this book: she shows how Freethinkers were significant contributors to the anti-slavery and women's movements. Her sections on Ingersoll, the 20th century struggle for secular public schools, and the 60's civil rights movement are also excellent. Although Jacoby is, like this reader, a "godless infidel", I appreciated her determination to avoid polemics and to provide balance to her subjects. She also provides some criticisms of the tactics used by modern secularists who rely upon court decisions but tend to ignore the court of public opinion.

The contributors to our secular and democratic state, and the powerful history of Humanists, atheists and agnostics in our country, cannot be condensed into one book, and I hope Jacoby's efforts inspire others to take up her narrative. We need to learn more about the "forty-eighters" who came to America after the failed European 19th century revolutions, and who contributed to the Union army and to our society. And selfishly perhaps, I would have appreciated if Susan Jacoby's book had more about Felix Adler and the Ethical Culture Movement, a movement that blossomed in the era of Freethought and expanded to Austria and Germany. While Ethical Societies thrive to this day in the United States, they could not survive Nazi oppression in Europe. She also does not discuss the Humanist Manifesto or Freethought contribution to the Arts.

I recommend this book to all those interested in our history, and in the history of religion in the United States. I also hope many will be inspired to write more on our missing history, so that all may learn of these nearly forgotten heroes.

4-0 out of 5 stars A missing piece of history!
This book is one that tries to fill in a bit of missing history - missing, that is, in our highly charged and politicized culture. Contra those whos would have us believe that 'secularlists' and others who held non-conventional views on religious matters have been a force of evil in this country, Mrs. Jacoby shows that if anything, 'secularists' have quite a robust and proud history. We - yes, I am a secularist - have been as active a part of this country's history and direction as religious folk and, as Mrs. Jacoby argues in this engaging work, that history has been largely for the good.

Many have taken Mrs. Jacoby to be saying more than, I think, she is. By 'freethinker,' many assume 'atheist.' Mrs. Jacoby's use of the term is a bit broader; a freethinker is one who holds highly unconventional (in a literal sense) view on religion - from those who are out-and-out atheists, to deists, to - at this country's inception - universalists.

The point, rather, is to show that from its inception, this country has been founded on a radical idea; that government need not be 'under god;' it can remain secular (the word 'civil' was used during the founding to connote a non-sectarian government). From the founding (and I did find her arguments a little less than convincing) she moves on to a chapter on deist Thomas Paine, on the woman's movement (particularly Stanton and Anthony's agnosticism), the growth of secularism during the 20'S and 30's, and the battle with religion - particularly Catholicism - that it has fostered to this very day.

In a review that secularist Christopher Hitchens wrote, he criticized Jacoby for her seemingly exclusive linking of 'freethinking' with left-liberal causes. After reading the book, I think that in part this is justified. The dominant force in established religion has been Catholicism and Catholicism has always been (with few exceptions) conservative. It is undeniable that by history's lights, secularism generally HAS been more prevelant and visible on the left as a counterweight.

But in a sense, Hitchens is correct. When i finished the book, I felt that Mrs. Jacoby gave the impression that secularism has ALWYAYS been a left-liberal venture - that 'freethought' is a synonym for 'ACLU' What of Ayn Rand, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sidney Hook and the many others who supported libertarian or conservative causes while maintaining atheistic views? Hook particularly is a glaring ommission as he was an atheist who was instrumental in the fight against communism (so much so that a very religious President Reagan gave him a medal of freedom for his efforts - an atheist!)

This leads to another criticism. Like most any history, this one is quite selective. The chapter on Thomas Paine, for example, paints him as almost a demi-god; his historically acknowledge flaws - egotism, fondness for the drink, and overall 'rebel who needs a cause' rambunctiousness - are either ignored or cast aside with one-sentence 'brush offs.' Even secularist Bertrand Russell, when writing an essay on Paine, felt the need to mention Paine's bad spots. While Mrs. Jacoby has written a fine history, revisions like these (and virtual lack of citations when making contreversial claims) made me a bit trepidacious.

All in all though, this book is a very good one that lays out a sorely needed counter to Christian historians' assertions that atheists and freethinkers have had little to do with American history. This is simply not true and Jacoby shows it. She doesn't deny (who could?) that Christianity is an inextricable part of our history, but writes of the forgotten, yet abundant, examples of the contributions of freethought.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Antidote For Our Irrational Times
Ms. Jacoby has written a definitive history of secularism in America that along with Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States" serves as a re-introduction to the REAL history of America from the hearts and minds of those that never sought simple answers for life's complex questions by seeking refuge in unquestioning belief systems. Rather we have a history of those men and woman that knew human conditions need constructive human responses in building a better world for all. History is said to be defined by the victors, thus this is not a re-telling of deeds by dead rich white men who populate most books of American history.

In Freethinkers, we find the life, work and deeds of fellow Americans that are often ignored or misrepresented by mainstream books of history. These are people that did not accept the status quo as the divine order of things, rather they continued to carry that revolutionary spark that makes America & Americans a unique people in their quest for a better life for all citizens and not a selected few. This is a heritage we can be proud of, American's that often sought a crude vigor to polished banality.

In examining mainstream history we often find the divine right of European potentates translated into America for a white male dominated monied class floating like precious cream at the top of American society supported by those that labor below. Religion has and always will be a tool for complicity and submission in the social contract. For all heterodox Americans from Deist to Humanist, this book will put a spring in your step and a lump in your throat by the examples of the nobility of the those that came before us in their efforts to show that the "Angels of our better nature" are within each one of us here and now. Depending upon no outside authority to embellish or enhance. Highly recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lies and more lies!
Our founding Fathers clearly intended this nation to be a Christian nation -- they did not intend to force people to attend church, but neither did they envision the day their words would be twisted and perverted to force God out of public life.
A day of judgement is coming on America unless we turn our hearts back to God. With God's great love, it's not too late! ... Read more


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