Seeking Meaning and Making Sense

Seeking Meaning and Making Sense

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Collection of short essays that range across philosophy, politics, general culture, morality, science, religion and art, focusing on questions of meaning, value and understanding.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 150 pages
  • 134 x 205 x 10mm | 200g
  • Societas
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1845401220
  • 9781845401221
  • 657,757

Table of contents

1. The search for meaning, 2. Making sense of the universe, 3. Plain talk and common sense philosophy, 4. Making sense of society, 5. A disuniting kingdom, 6. Making sense of humanity, 7. Respecting life: ethics and embryos, 8. Respecting Life: Ethics and Waging War, 9. A union of communities, 10. Moral tales, 11. Making sense of evil, 12. Fiction's enigma variations, 13. Yarn spinning and soul making, 14. Taking thought seriously, 15. Making sense of religion, 16. Making sense of art and science, 17. Making sense of nature, 18. Finding meaning in enchantment.
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Review quote

"Professor Haldane's essays are serious in the way that the great writers of the Scottish Enlightenment were serious. He asks what it means to be human in the twenty-first century, and what ethical obligations our idea of humanity imposes on us. They are provocative in the best, and only useful, sense of the word: inviting the reader to consider and respond to his arguments. Their range is wide, extending from a disquisition on the morality of stem-cell research to a very funny parody of 'The Da Vinci Code'." -- Alan Massie "Seeking Meaning and Making Sense [is] a series of 20 essays on philosophy that add up to an argument for the human usefulness of thinking methodically about cosmology, society, ethics, religion and art... Haldane's interests are wide, embracing popular culture, from the Exorcist to John Buchan, and taking in native thinkers from the Scottish Enlightenment ... [and] he is adept at relating the slippery field of aesthetics to a wider world view. ... These essays are entertaining [and] possess a flavour of humanity, openness, urbanity, and an underlying infectious optimism in taking the cosmos to be intelligible and ethics as possible." -- Christopher Howse * The Tablet * "The public intellectual and the philosopher-journalist, although they might appal their snootier academic colleagues, are very much back in vogue -- and John Haldane, as hard-working as any of them, is in the vanguard.... In Seeking Meaning and Making Sense Haldane is essentially sounding a counterblast to the massed ranks of nihilists and postmodernists who have poured scorn on the very notion of seeking out life's meaning.... The bulk of Haldane's book is dedicated to showing how an ability to 'deliberate and act in accord with reasons -- to find meaning' is 'part of the human form of life', and one that, despite much talk of the death of metaphysics, remains in rude health... There are many riches contained within its pages, however and, even when his philosophical fuse is evidently becoming very short indeed, Haldane sustains a suitably urbane and respectful tone." -- Jonathan Wright * The Catholic Herald * "This volume provides further evidence that John Haldane is our finest contemporary philosophical journalist. No other recent figure has written as elegantly or as insightfully about the contemporary landscape of ethics, religion and the post-modern search for meaning. And surely no one other than Professor Haldane could use such materials as the Toy Story films and the British pantomime to gently instruct us about such weighty matters as Pope Gregory the Great's revolutionary teaching on religion and representational art." -- David Solomon "As humans, we are constantly seeking meaning and attempting to make sense of the word, a process in which John Haldane is fully engaged. ... Lucid and stimulating [his essays] range accessibly. ... Haldane's final reflections are suitably humble, when he notes that making sense is available business and that seeking meaning in tails presupposing some objective standards as well as admitting human fallabillity. Hence, the most modest position is one that 'postulates a destination without assuming that be on the right road towards it, or that having set out we must arrive'. It is hard to disagree." "There is a breadth to this collection that is highly impressive ... accessibility to an educated daily newspaper reading public is seemingly effortlessly achieved, without avoiding difficult concepts or argumentative precision. In this respect he is not unlike his great Scottish Enlightenment predecessors." -- John D. O'Connor * New Blackfriars (vol. 90 issue 1027) * "Haldane, we may say, has assumed not only the mantle of a Public Intellectual but of a Catholic Public Intellectual, an altogether rarer breed. . . His spirit of reform and renewal calls upon his compatriots to appreciate the richness of their nation's intellectual heritage." -- Rajnath Bhat * The European Legacy *
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About John Haldane

John Haldane is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs in the University of St Andrews. He has also held the Royden Davis Chair in Humanities at Georgetown University and has been Stanton Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Gifford Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. He is a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Culture. His other publications include Atheism and Theism, with JJC Smart, (Blackwell) An Intelligent Persons Guide to Religion (Duckworth), Faithful Reason and Reasonable Faith (Routledge).
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