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The Search for Meaning: A Short History

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The Search for Meaning: A Short History Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"The Search for Meaning reads like an adventure novel of the mind. Supremely researched and also deeply personal, Dennis Ford has succeeded in rescuing experience from meaninglessness. The book's range is unusually wide, from the classical Greeks through Kierkegaard to contemporary thinkers like Huston Smith, James Hillman, and Joseph Campbell, combining a tough yet often impassioned look at the quest for greater truth. The reader will welcome this approach, realizing that there are far more strategies 'under the sun,' than classical philosophy in the perennial search for meaning in one's life."—Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage and Once and Future Myths

"Around its centerpiece—meaning—this book weaves a tapestry so encompassing, so intriguingly beautiful, I am stunned by its accomplishment. Ford approaches this centerpiece from many angles, touching on a broad range of historical, spiritual and philosophical themes. Written in a manner that is both passionate and accessible, his book shows how people throughout history have struggled with life's greatest question: Why are we here? Although the eight paths explored in this book are quite different in their assumptions and conclusions, each offers the possibility of achieving what we all desire most—a sense of meaning in our lives. The author compares and reflects on the similarities and differences between the paths, masterfully reflecting on what each school of thought can offer us today."—Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

"Ford deserves to be congratulated for addressing a terribly important message so eloquently. I found myself coming back to the book in order to revisit its honesty and questions."—Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion

Synopsis:

In The Search for Meaning: A Short History, Dennis Ford explores eight approaches human beings have pursued over time to invest life with meaning and to infuse order into a seemingly chaotic universe. These include myth, philosophy, science, postmodernism, pragmatism, archetypal psychology, metaphysics, and naturalism. In engaging, companionable prose, Ford boils down these systems to their bare essentials, showing the difference between viewing the world from a religious point of view and that of a naturalist, and comparing a scientific worldview to a philosophical one. Ford investigates the contributions of the Greeks, Kant, and William James, and brings the discussion up to date with contemporary thinkers. He proffers the refreshing idea that in today's world, the answers provided by traditional religions to increasingly difficult questions have lost their currency for many and that the reductive or rationalist answers provided by science and postmodernism are themselves rife with unexamined assumptions.

About the Author

Dennis Ford is the author of Sins of Omission: A Primer on Moral Indifference (1990).

Table of Contents

Preface: When Meaning Becomes a Question

1. Introduction

PART I. CLASSICAL SOURCES OF MEANING

2. Myth and Meaning

3. Philosophy and Meaning

4. Science and Meaning

5. Postmodernism and Meaning

PART II. CONTEMPORARY SOURCES OF MEANING

6. Pragmatism and Meaning

7. Archetypal Psychology and Meaning

8. Metaphysics and Meaning

9. Naturalism and Meaning

10. Conclusion

Appendix: How Meaning Affects Our Sense of Right and Wrong

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520257931
Author:
Ford, Dennis
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Globalization
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Religion Comparative-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.02x5.20x.80 in. .77 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » Management
Business » Writing
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

The Search for Meaning: A Short History Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages University of California Press - English 9780520257931 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
In The Search for Meaning: A Short History, Dennis Ford explores eight approaches human beings have pursued over time to invest life with meaning and to infuse order into a seemingly chaotic universe. These include myth, philosophy, science, postmodernism, pragmatism, archetypal psychology, metaphysics, and naturalism. In engaging, companionable prose, Ford boils down these systems to their bare essentials, showing the difference between viewing the world from a religious point of view and that of a naturalist, and comparing a scientific worldview to a philosophical one. Ford investigates the contributions of the Greeks, Kant, and William James, and brings the discussion up to date with contemporary thinkers. He proffers the refreshing idea that in today's world, the answers provided by traditional religions to increasingly difficult questions have lost their currency for many and that the reductive or rationalist answers provided by science and postmodernism are themselves rife with unexamined assumptions.
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