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Freedom and History and Other Essays: An Introduction to the Thought of Richard McKeon Hardcover – June 15, 1990

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About the Author

At the time of his death in 1985, Richard McKeon was the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Greek at the University of Chicago, where he had taught since 1935. During his career he served as advisor to the United States Delegations at the first three sessions of UNESCO and was a founding member of UNESCO's International Institute of Philosophy. A prolific author, McKeon wrote eleven books and over 150 journal articles.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 303 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; First Edition edition (June 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226560287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226560281
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,938,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David C. Young on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
At the start of the Obama administration, we're re-thinking our role in the world. As citizens, we need this book -- McKeon's essays -- which presents a comprehensive understanding, through history, of such vital concepts as truth, freedom, human rights, responsibility & tolerance -- all these applied to a world grown smaller, more diverse and more deadly. How can we hold onto our foundational beliefs, how can we share & promote them, while we also remain open to the diversity & changes demanded by our ever-shifting world? How can we truly stand for something without either becoming a bully or descending into no principles, the twin threats of authoritarianism & relativism.

These were the challenges facing Richard McKeon -- known as an unparalleled historian of philosophy. In these essays, he organizes & focuses 2500 years of deep & practical thinking to help shape his world at the start of the United Nations, the explosive birth of new nations, and the beginnings of the Cold War, all under the specter of nuclear annihilation. McKeon was not only one of the University of Chicago scholars who set up "Great Books" education, he also worked for decades with the United Nations, developing a coherent, flexible yet powerful declaration of human rights. In this, he carried forward the great American Pragmatist agenda promoted by his teacher, John Dewey.

Reading these essays show that McKeon was no ivory tower, no head-only-in-the-past thinker. He constantly used his encyclopedic knowledge to engage the most urgent problems his world faced, problems with strong parallels to those our world faces.

McKeon is no easy thinker, either. But he was extremely rigorous & insightful.
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