Do we really need philosophy? The present collection of jargon-free essays aims at answering the question of why philosophy matters. Each essay considers the central question (Why Philosophy?) from different angles: the unavoidability of doing philosophy, the practical consequences of philosophy, philosophy as a therapy for the whole person, the benefits of philosophy for improving public policy, etc.
This book demonstrates that philosophy matters to everyday living and that people who ignore the enduring, fundamental questions of life thereby unwittingly relinquish part of their humanity. The question – “How should I live my life?” – along with cosmological inquiries about the nature of the world, animated Western philosophy during its earliest recorded years. Given that belief in the Greek and Roman gods failed to provide substantive guidelines for everyday living, philosophy arose in large measure as practical instruction in the art of living the good human life. Throughout history, philosophers have provided vastly different answers to the question of what constitutes such a life. By analyzing carefully their disparate definitions, recipes, and accounts of the good human life we can understand better who we are and who we might be. This work examines the answers provided by over thirty philosophers to aspects of building character, forging personal relations, promoting sound political strategies, living meaningfully, and dying gracefully. In so doing, over twenty lessons for living a worthy life emerge.
Work in philosophy of religion is still strongly marked by an excessive focus on Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Judaism — almost to the exclusion of other religious traditions. Moreover, in many cases it has been confined to a narrow set of intellectual problems, without embedding these in their larger social, historical, and practical contexts. Why Philosophy Matters for the Study of Religion—and Vice Versa addresses this situation through a series of interventions intended to work against the gap that exists between much scholarship in philosophy of religion and important recent developments that speak to religious studies as a whole. This volume takes up what, in recent years, has often been seen as a fundamental reason for excluding religious ethics and philosophy of religion from religious studies: their explicit normativity. Against this presupposition, Thomas A. Lewis argues that normativity is pervasive—not unique to ethics and philosophy of religion—and therefore not a reason to exclude them from religious studies. Lewis bridges more philosophical and historical subfields by arguing for the importance of history to the philosophy of religion. He considers the future of religious ethics, explaining that the field as whole should learn from the methodological developments associated with recent work in comparative religious ethics and 'comparative religious ethics' should no longer be conceived as a distinct subfield. The concluding chapter engages broader, post-9/11 arguments about the importance of studying religion arguing, that prominent contemporary notions of 'religious literacy' actually hinder our ability to grasp religion's significance and impact in the world today.
The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies presents a new understanding of the changing methods used to study Chinese philosophy. By identifying the various different approaches and discussing the role, and significance of philosophical methods in the Chinese tradition, this collection identifies difficulties and exciting developments for scholars of Asian philosophy. Divided into four parts, the nature of Chinese philosophical thought is illuminated by discussing historical developments, current concerns and methodological challenges. Surveying recent methodological trends, this research companion explores and evaluates the methodologies that have been applied to Chinese philosophy. From these diverse angles, an international team of experts reflect on the considerations that enter their methodological choices and indicate new research directions. The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies is an important contribution to the education of the next generation of Chinese philosophers.