The Cave and the Light

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0553907832
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Arthur Herman has now written the definitive sequel to his New York Times bestseller, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, and extends the themes of the book—which sold half a million copies worldwide—back to the ancient Greeks and forward to the age of the Internet. The Cave and the Light is a magisterial account of how the two greatest thinkers of the ancient world, Plato and Aristotle, laid the foundations of Western culture—and how their rivalry shaped the essential features of our culture down to the present day. Plato came from a wealthy, connected Athenian family and lived a comfortable upper-class lifestyle until he met an odd little man named Socrates, who showed him a new world of ideas and ideals. Socrates taught Plato that a man must use reason to attain wisdom, and that the life of a lover of wisdom, a philosopher, was the pinnacle of achievement. Plato dedicated himself to living that ideal and went on to create a school, his famed Academy, to teach others the path to enlightenment through contemplation. However, the same Academy that spread Plato’s teachings also fostered his greatest rival. Born to a family of Greek physicians, Aristotle had learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. Rather than rely on pure contemplation, he insisted that the truest path to knowledge is through empirical discovery and exploration of the world around us. Aristotle, Plato’s most brilliant pupil, thus settled on a philosophy very different from his instructor’s and launched a rivalry with profound effects on Western culture. The two men disagreed on the fundamental purpose of the philosophy. For Plato, the image of the cave summed up man’s destined path, emerging from the darkness of material existence to the light of a higher and more spiritual truth. Aristotle thought otherwise. Instead of rising above mundane reality, he insisted, the philosopher’s job is to explain how the real world works, and how we can find our place in it. Aristotle set up a school in Athens to rival Plato’s Academy: the Lyceum. The competition that ensued between the two schools, and between Plato and Aristotle, set the world on an intellectual adventure that lasted through the Middle Ages and Renaissance and that still continues today. From Martin Luther (who named Aristotle the third great enemy of true religion, after the devil and the Pope) to Karl Marx (whose utopian views rival Plato’s), heroes and villains of history have been inspired and incensed by these two master philosophers—but never outside their influence. Accessible, riveting, and eloquently written, The Cave and the Light provides a stunning new perspective on the Western world, certain to open eyes and stir debate. Praise for The Cave and the Light “A sweeping intellectual history viewed through two ancient Greek lenses . . . breezy and enthusiastic but resting on a sturdy rock of research.”—Kirkus Reviews “Examining mathematics, politics, theology, and architecture, the book demonstrates the continuing relevance of the ancient world.”—Publishers Weekly “A fabulous way to understand over two millennia of history, all in one book.”—Library Journal “Entertaining and often illuminating.”—The Wall Street Journal From the Hardcover edition.

The Cave and the Light

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780553385663
Format: PDF
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A history of the influential rivalry between Plato and Aristotle traces the Western world's ongoing battle of ideas to their competing philosophies, demonstrating how their contrasting views on everything from religion and government to science and technology became the twin fountainheads of Western culture.

How the Scots Invented the Modern World

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 9780307420954
Format: PDF, Mobi
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An exciting account of the origins of the modern world Who formed the first literate society? Who invented our modern ideas of democracy and free market capitalism? The Scots. As historian and author Arthur Herman reveals, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Scotland made crucial contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, commerce, and politics—contributions that have formed and nurtured the modern West ever since. Herman has charted a fascinating journey across the centuries of Scottish history. Here is the untold story of how John Knox and the Church of Scotland laid the foundation for our modern idea of democracy; how the Scottish Enlightenment helped to inspire both the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution; and how thousands of Scottish immigrants left their homes to create the American frontier, the Australian outback, and the British Empire in India and Hong Kong. How the Scots Invented the Modern World reveals how Scottish genius for creating the basic ideas and institutions of modern life stamped the lives of a series of remarkable historical figures, from James Watt and Adam Smith to Andrew Carnegie and Arthur Conan Doyle, and how Scottish heroes continue to inspire our contemporary culture, from William “Braveheart” Wallace to James Bond. And no one who takes this incredible historical trek will ever view the Scots—or the modern West—in the same way again.

Aristotle s Children

Author: Richard E. Rubenstein
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 9780547350974
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A true account of a turning point in medieval history that shaped the modern world, from “a superb storyteller” and the author of When Jesus Became God (Los Angeles Times). Europe was in the long slumber of the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire was in tatters, and the Greek language was all but forgotten—until a group of twelfth-century scholars rediscovered and translated the works of Aristotle. The philosopher’s ideas spread like wildfire across Europe, offering the scientific view that the natural world, including the soul of man, was a proper subject of study. The rediscovery of these ancient ideas would spark riots and heresy trials, cause major upheavals in the Catholic Church—and also set the stage for today’s rift between reason and religion. Aristotle’s Children transports us back to this pivotal moment in world history, rendering the controversies of the Middle Ages lively and accessible, and allowing us to understand the philosophical ideas that are fundamental to modern thought. “A superb storyteller who breathes new life into such fascinating figures as Peter Abelard, Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, William of Ockham and Aristotle himself.” —Los Angeles Times “Rubenstein’s lively prose, his lucid insights and his crystal-clear historical analyses make this a first-rate study in the history of ideas.” —Publishers Weekly

The Idea of Decline in Western History

Author: Arthur Herman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451603132
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Historian Arthur Herman traces the roots of declinism and shows how major thinkers, past and present, have contributed to its development as a coherent ideology of cultural pessimism. From Nazism to the Sixties counterculture, from Britain's Fabian socialists to America's multiculturalists, and from Dracula and Freud to Robert Bly and Madonna, this work examines the idea of decline in Western history and sets out to explain how the conviction of civilization's inevitable end has become a fixed part of the modern Western imagination. Through a series of biographical portraits spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, the author traces the roots of declinism and aims to show how major thinkers of the past and present, including Nietzsche, DuBois, Sartre, and Foucault, have contributed to its development as a coherent ideology of cultural pessimism.

The Basic Works of Aristotle

Author: Aristotle
Publisher: Modern Library
ISBN: 0307417522
Format: PDF, Docs
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Preserved by Arabic mathematicians and canonized by Christian scholars, Aristotle’s works have shaped Western thought, science, and religion for nearly two thousand years. Richard McKeon’s The Basic Works of Aristotle–constituted out of the definitive Oxford translation and in print as a Random House hardcover for sixty years–has long been considered the best available one-volume Aristotle. Appearing in paperback at long last, this edition includes selections from the Organon, On the Heavens, The Short Physical Treatises, Rhetoric, among others, and On the Soul, On Generation and Corruption, Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, and Poetics in their entirety. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Aristotle s Ethics

Author: Aristotle,
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400852366
Format: PDF, ePub
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Aristotle's moral philosophy is a pillar of Western ethical thought. It bequeathed to the world an emphasis on virtues and vices, happiness as well-being or a life well lived, and rationally motivated action as a mean between extremes. Its influence was felt well beyond antiquity into the Middle Ages, particularly through the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the past century, with the rise of virtue theory in moral philosophy, Aristotle’s ethics has been revived as a source of insight and interest. While most attention has traditionally focused on Aristotle’s famous Nicomachean Ethics, there are several other works written by or attributed to Aristotle that illuminate his ethics: the Eudemian Ethics, the Magna Moralia, and Virtues and Vices. This book brings together all four of these important texts, in thoroughly revised versions of the translations found in the authoritative complete works universally recognized as the standard English edition. Edited and introduced by two of the world’s leading scholars of ancient philosophy, this is an essential volume for anyone interested in the ethical thought of one of the most important philosophers in the Western tradition.

The Aviators

Author: Winston Groom
Publisher: National Geographic Books
ISBN: 1426211570
Format: PDF, ePub
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Written by gifted storyteller Winston Groom (author of Forrest Gump), The Aviators tells the saga of three extraordinary aviators--Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Jimmy Doolittle--and how they redefine heroism through their genius, daring, and uncommon courage. This is the fascinating story of three extraordinary heroes who defined aviation during the great age of flight. These cleverly interwoven tales of their heart-stopping adventures take us from the feats of World War I through the heroism of World War II and beyond, including daring military raids and survival-at-sea, and will appeal to fans of Unbroken, The Greatest Generation, andFlyboys. With the world in peril in World War II, each man set aside great success and comfort to return to the skies for his most daring mission yet. Doolittle, a brilliant aviation innovator, would lead the daring Tokyo Raid to retaliate for Pearl Harbor; Lindbergh, hero of the first solo flight across the Atlantic, would fly combat missions in the South Pacific; and Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace, would bravely hold his crew together while facing near-starvation and circling sharks after his plane went down in a remote part of the Pacific. Groom's rich narrative tells their intertwined stories--from broken homes to Medals of Honor (all three would receive it); barnstorming to the greatest raid of World War II; front-page triumph to anguished tragedy; and near-death to ultimate survival--as all took to the sky, time and again, to become exemplars of the spirit of the "greatest generation."

The Society for Useful Knowledge

Author: Jonathan Lyons
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608195538
Format: PDF
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A spellbinding, rich history of the American Enlightenment--think 1776 meets The Metaphysical Club

Plato at the Googleplex

Author: Rebecca Goldstein
Publisher: Pantheon
ISBN: 0307908879
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Is philosophy obsolete? Are the ancient questions still relevant in the age of cosmology and neuroscience, not to mention crowd-sourcing and cable news? The acclaimed philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein provides a dazzlingly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today’s debates on religion, morality, politics, and science. At the origin of Western philosophy stands Plato, who got about as much wrong as one would expect from a thinker who lived 2,400 years ago. But Plato’s role in shaping philosophy was pivotal. On her way to considering the place of philosophy in our ongoing intellectual life, Goldstein tells a new story of its origin, re-envisioning the extraordinary culture that produced the man who produced philosophy. But it is primarily the fate of philosophy that concerns her. Is the discipline no more than a way of biding our time until the scientists arrive on the scene? Have they already arrived? Does philosophy itself ever make progress? And if it does, why is so ancient a figure as Plato of any continuing relevance? Plato at the Googleplex is Goldstein’s startling investigation of these conundra. She interweaves her narrative with Plato’s own choice for bringing ideas to life—the dialogue. Imagine that Plato came to life in the twenty-first century and embarked on a multicity speaking tour. How would he handle the host of a cable news program who denies there can be morality without religion? How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a tiger mom on how to raise the perfect child? How would he answer a neuroscientist who, about to scan Plato’s brain, argues that science has definitively answered the questions of free will and moral agency? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowd-sourced rather than reasoned out by experts? With a philosopher’s depth and a novelist’s imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world. (With black-and-white photographs throughout.)