Philosophy and the Human Paradox
Essays on Reason, Truth and Identity
This book collects essays by Alan Montefiore on the role philosophy plays in the formation of the self, and how philosophical questions regarding the nature of reason, truth, and identity inform ethics and politics. It offers a comprehensive overview of Montefiore’s influential, non-dogmatic philosophical voice.
Throughout his 70-year career, Montefiore sought to bridge the analytic/continental divide and develop a new way of thinking about philosophy. He defines philosophy as the search for a higher-order understanding of whatever the situation or activity in which one may be involved or engaged, an understanding which may be achieved and expressed by and in a variety of different forms of philosophical persuasion, and which may serve to shed new light on particular problems. The book’s essays, half of which are previously unpublished, are divided into two thematic sections. The first focuses on the nature of philosophy, while the second addresses the relationship between philosophy and moral and political responsibilities.
Philosophy and the Human Paradox will be of interest to philosophers and students who work on ethics, Kantian and post-Kantian continental philosophy, and political philosophy.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Nature of Philosophy
- Doing Philosophy (in one way or another)
- The Idea of ‘Crisis’ in Philosophy
- Frontiers of Philosophy
- Kant, Paradox and Meta-Paradox: Problems of Self-Identity
- Reason and its Self-Undoing?
- Reason and Reasoning: Truth, Truthfulness and Integrity
- The Universal and the Particular – A Kantian Account of the Elements of Self-identity
- Lévinas and the Claims of Incommensurable Values
- The Political Responsibilities of Intellectuals
- Doctrinal Commitments and Ecumenical Partnership
Part II: Reason and Paradox
Part III: Values and Responsibilities
An Inconclusive Conclusion
Having been a student at Balliol College, Oxford from 1948 to 1951, Alan Montefiore spent the next ten years as a Lecturer in Philosophy at the then new University College of North Staffordshire (later to become the University of Keele). In 1961 he returned to Balliol as a Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, retiring just over 30 years later. Since then, he has, among many other things, served as the first President of the Forum for European Philosophy, now the Forum for Philosophy.
Danielle Sands is Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Culture at Royal Holloway, University of London and Fellow at the Forum for Philosophy, LSE. Her monograph, Animal Writing: Storytelling, Selfhood and the Limits of Empathy was published in 2019.
"Montefiore’s is a unique voice with a message that is permanently of value—deep-reaching and disconcerting. Philosophy and the Human Paradox may destabilize many readers’ convictions and it may well induce readers to re-read philosophical works in a new way." – Steven Lukes, New York University, USA