Morality S Muddy Waters

Author: George Cotkin
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812222490
Size: 59.66 MB
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In the face of an uncertain and dangerous world, Americans yearn for a firm moral compass, a clear set of ethical guidelines. But as history shows, by reducing complex situations to simple cases of right or wrong we often go astray. In Morality's Muddy Waters, historian George Cotkin offers a clarion call on behalf of moral complexity. Revisiting several defining moments in the twentieth century—the American bombing of civilians during World War II, the My Lai massacre, racism in the South, capital punishment, the invasion of Iraq—Cotkin chronicles how historical figures have grappled with the problem of evil and moral responsibility—sometimes successfully, oftentimes not. In the process, he offers a wide-ranging tour of modern American history. Taken together, Cotkin maintains, these episodes reveal that the central concepts of morality—evil, empathy, and virtue—are both necessary and troubling. Without empathy, for example, we fail to inhabit the world of others; with it, we sometimes elevate individual suffering over political complexities. For Cotkin, close historical analysis may help reenergize these concepts for ethical thinking and acting. Morality's Muddy Waters argues for a moral turn in the way we study and think about history, maintaining that even when answers to ethical dilemmas prove elusive, the act of grappling with them is invaluable.

Uncertain Empire

Author: Joel Isaac
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199986665
Size: 66.69 MB
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Historians have long understood that the notion of "the cold war" is richly metaphorical, if not paradoxical. The conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union was a war that fell ambiguously short of war, an armed truce that produced considerable bloodshed. Yet scholars in the rapidly expanding field of Cold War studies have seldom paused to consider the conceptual and chronological foundations of the idea of the Cold War itself. In Uncertain Empire, a group of leading scholars takes up the challenge of making sense of the idea of the Cold War and its application to the writing of American history. They interrogate the concept from a wide range of disciplinary vantage points--diplomatic history, the history of science, literary criticism, cultural history, and the history of religion--highlighting the diversity of methods and approaches in contemporary Cold War studies. Animating the volume as a whole is a question about the extent to which the Cold War was an American invention. Uncertain Empire brings debates over national, global, and transnational history into focus and offers students of the Cold War a new framework for considering recent developments in the field.

A Contest Of Ideas

Author: Nelson Lichtenstein
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780252037856
Size: 24.59 MB
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For more than thirty years Nelson Lichtenstein has deployed his scholarship - on labour, politics, and social thought - to chart the history and prospects of a progressive America. A Contest of Ideas collects and updates many of Lichtenstein's most provocative and controversial essays and reviews. These incisive writings link the fate of the labour movement to the transformations in the shape of world capitalism, to the rise of the civil rights movement, and to the activists and intellectuals who have played such important roles. Tracing broad patterns of political thought, Lichtenstein offers important perspectives on the relationship of labour and the state, the tensions that sometimes exist between a culture of rights and the idea of solidarity, and the rise of conservatism in politics, law, and intellectual life. The volume closes with portraits of five activist intellectuals whose work has been vital to the conflicts that engage the labour movement, public policy, and political culture.

Dive Deeper

Author: George Cotkin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199855757
Size: 18.13 MB
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Moby-Dick looms large - gargantuan in size, themes, symbols, and influence. Its deep dives, comedic interludes, adventurous journey, and surface effects demand a new approach. Instead of a traditional academic analysis, Dive Deeper grapples in novel fashion with this classic work. For each of the originals 135 chapters (along with Etymology, Extracts, and Epilogue), Dive Deeper has a corresponding brief chapter relating to themes and issues in the original. This permits Dive Deeper to follow the flow of the original and to bring forth new appreciation for the novel, its characters, and its readers. At once creative and informative, Dive Deeper captures the up and down history of the novel, from its original reception to its resurrection in the 1890s, to its ecoming the central work in the canon of American literature in the 1930s. Great books such as Moby-Dick live outside the confines of libraries. They occupy a central place in popular culture. Thus, Dive Deeper tracks the novel as it appears in various motion pictures (more than five major ones to date), comic routines and jokes, paintings, novels, songs (from rock to classical to rap), and in other cultural forms. In the process, Dive Deeper charts how, and why, this novel about a whale and its pursuer has captivated generations of American readers. And why it continues to do so today. Dive Deeper, then, is a creative and original way of approaching a great novel. Readers will gain information and a deeperunderstanding of an American classic and its place in popular culture.

Reluctant Modernism

Author: George Cotkin
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742531475
Size: 61.64 MB
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In Reluctant Modernism: American Thought and Culture, 1880–1900, George Cotkin surveys the intellectual life of this crucial transitional period. His story begins with the Darwinian controversies, since the mainstream of American culture was just beginning to come to grips with the implications of the Origins of Species. Cotkin demonstrates the effects of this shift in thinking on philosophy, anthropology, and the newly developing field of psychology. Throughout this fascinating, readable history of the American fin de siècle run the contrasting themes of continuity and change, faith and rationalism, despair over the meaninglessness of life and, ultimately, a guarded optimism about the future.

Feast Of Excess

Author: George Cotkin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190218479
Size: 21.63 MB
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In 1952, John Cage shocked audiences with 4'33," his composition showcasing the power of silence. From Cage's minimalism to Chris Burden's radical performance art two decades later, the post-war avant-garde sought to liberate the art world by shattering the divide between high and low art. Feast of Excess presents an engaging and accessible portrait of the cultural extremism that emerged in the United States after World War II. This "New Sensibility," as termed by Susan Sontag, was predicated upon excess, pushing and often crossing boundaries whether in the direction of minimalism ormaximalism. Through brief vignette profiles of prominent figures in literature, music, visual art, poetry, theater and journalism, George Cotkin leads readers on a focused journey through the interconnected stories of prominent figures such as Andy Warhol, Anne Sexton, John Cage, John Coltrane, BobDylan, Erica Jong, and Chris Burden, among many others, who broke barriers between artist and audience with their bold, shocking, and headline-grabbing performances. This inventive narrative captures the sentiment of liberation from high and low culture in artistic endeavors spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s and reveals the establishment of excess in American culture as the norm. A detailed emersion in the history of cultural extremism, Feast of Excess leavesreaders to consider the provocative revelation that the essence of excess remains in our culture today, for good and ill.

Existential America

Author: George Cotkin
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9780801882005
Size: 65.66 MB
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"As Cotkin shows, not only did Americans readily take to existentialism, but they were already heirs to a rich tradition of thinkers - from Jonathan Edwards and Herman Melville to Emily Dickinson and William James - who had wrestled with the problems of existence and the contingency of the world long before Sartre and his colleagues. After introducing the concept of an American existential tradition, Cotkin examines how formal existentialism first arrived in America in the 1930s through discussion of Kierkegaard and the early vogue among New York intellectuals for the works of Sartre, Beauvoir, and Camus.

Climate Change Ethics

Author: Donald A. Brown
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 0415625718
Size: 51.36 MB
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Climate change is now the biggest challenge faced by humanity worldwide and ethics is the crucial missing component in the debate about what to do about this enormous threat. This book examines why thirty-five years of discussion of human-induced warming has failed to acknowledge fundamental ethical concerns, and subjects climate change’s most important policy questions to ethical analysis. This book examines why ethical principles have failed to gain traction in policy formation and recommends specific strategies to ensure that climate change policies are consistent with ethical principles. Because climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution and given that many nations refuse participation due to perceived inequities in proposed international solutions, this book explains why ensuring that nations, sub-national governments, organizations, businesses and individuals acknowledge and respond to their ethical obligations is both an ethical and practical mandate. This book is the first of its kind to go beyond a mere account of relevant ethical questions to offer a pragmatic guide on how to make ethical principles influential in formulating the world’s response to climate change. Written by Donald A. Brown, a leading voice in the field, it should be of interest to policy makers, and those studying environmental policy, climate change policy, international relations, environmental ethics and philosophy.

Moral Clarity

Author: Susan Neiman
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691143897
Size: 25.44 MB
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For years, moral language has been the province of the Right, as the Left has consoled itself with rudderless pragmatism. In this profound and powerful book, Susan Neiman reclaims the vocabulary of morality--good and evil, heroism and nobility--as a lingua franca for the twenty-first century. In constructing a framework for taking responsible action on today's urgent questions, Neiman reaches back to the eighteenth century, retrieving a series of values--happiness, reason, reverence, and hope--held high by Enlightenment thinkers. In this thoroughly updated edition, Neiman reflects on how the moral language of the 2008 presidential campaign has opened up new political and cultural possibilities in America and beyond. --

Don T Tell Me What To Do

Author: Dave Heney
Publisher: Paulist Press
ISBN: 0809140748
Size: 36.84 MB
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A clearly written resource for people who want to quickly know what Catholics believe about a moral issue and why.