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America the Philosophical

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Description

   A bold, insightful book that rejects the myth of America the Unphilosophical, arguing that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece or any other place one can name.
   With verve and keen intelligence, Carlin Romano—Pulitzer Prize finalist, award-winning book critic, and professor of philosophy—takes on the widely held belief that ours is an anti–intellectual society. Instead, while providing a richly reported overview of American thought, Romano argues that ordinary Americans see through phony philosophical justifications faster than anyone else, and that the best of our thinkers abandon artificial academic debates for fresh intellectual enterprises, such as cyberphilosophy. Along the way, Romano seeks to topple philosophy’s most fiercely admired hero, Socrates, asserting that it is Isocrates, the nearly forgotten Greek philosopher who rejected certainty, whom Americans should honor as their intellectual ancestor. 
   America the Philosophical introduces readers to a nation whose existence most still doubt: a dynamic, deeply stimulating network of people and places drawn together by shared excitement about ideas. From the annual conference of the American Philosophical Association, where scholars tack wiseguy notes addressed to Spinoza on a public bulletin board, to the eruption of philosophy blogs where participants discuss everything from pedagogy to the philosophy of science to the nature of agency and free will, Romano reveals a world where public debate and intellectual engagement never stop. And readers meet the men and women whose ideas have helped shape American life over the previous few centuries, from well-known historical figures like William James and Ralph Waldo Emerson, to modern cultural critics who deserve to be seen as thinkers (Kenneth Burke, Edward Said), to the iconoclastic African American, women, Native American, and gay mavericks (Cornel West, Susan Sontag, Anne Waters, Richard Mohr) who have broadened the boundaries of American philosophy. 
   Smart and provocative, America the Philosophical is a rebellious tour de force that both celebrates our country’s unparalleled intellectual energy and promises to bury some of our most hidebound cultural clichés.

Publishers Weekly Review

Mar 26, 2012 – Though de Tocqueville argued that “in no country in the civilized world is less attention paid to philosophy than in the United States,” award-winning book critic and Ursinus College philosophy professor Romano sets out to prove, in this engaging tome, that America is the “most philosophical culture in the history of the world.” America’s philosophy is a pragmatic one, Romano argues, aimed not at locating absolute truth in the ether, but instead confronting real world problems and finding real world solutions. Romano begins with the philosophical roots of American pragmatism in the 19th century and outlines the 20th-century contributions of Willard Van Orman Quine, John Rawls, and Richard Rorty. In addition, Romano analyzes the philosophy of intellectuals like Harold Bloom or Edward Said, and highlights the oft overlooked contributions of African-Americans, women, and gays before tackling contemporary realms of cybertechnology and popular culture. At its core, the work seeks to shift our definition of philosophy from an emphasis on reason and truth-finding to philosophy as a form of persuasion that aims to find better solutions to problems. With illuminating anecdotes and an addictive prose style, Romano renders complex ideas lucid without sacrificing depth of understanding or his splendid sense of humor. His breathtaking intellectual range and passion will make every reader want to be a philosopher.
America the Philosophical
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Published: May 22, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 688 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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