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Time, Conflict, and Human Values Hardcover – October 6, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


"Framing an interdisciplinary synthesis of the many scientific and literary studies of time cannot be an easy task, but achieving such a synthesis has captured the attention and energies of J. T. Fraser across a decades-long series of studies... With ascetic patience, he shows that he is at home in the literature of time and change in such fields of inquiry as physics, biology, neurophysiology, psychology, drama, myth, and philosophy. He is a polymath in the best sense of the term... [Fraser] has sifted through otherwise discordant disciplinary voices to find a theoretically concordant classification of the main types and levels of temporality... Fraser's theory of value emphasizes the evolutionary conditions and outcomes of truth, goodness, and beauty." -- Bertrand P. Helm, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy "Combining new scientific and mathematical discoveries with the ancient wisdom embedded in philosophy and literature, Fraser creates a brilliant new synthesis for the Information Age. His clearly written, if sometimes demanding, book is packed so full of insights that anyone who reads it will emerge with a clearer understanding of time and how it affects our values." -- Paul Lake, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette "A marvel of erudition, observation, and insight into human affairs and behavior. That alone makes it worth reading -- and more than once... A treasure trove of imaginative scholarship and wisdom of a kind so rarely seen as to be almost extinct." -- George M. O'Har, Technology and Culture "Fraser has authored a book that deserves some serious attention. His almost encyclopedic approach to his topic continually draws information and insights from a host of disciplines such as philosophy, literature, physics, art, and religion." - Choice "Fraser is the time scholar's Father Time, the most prolific, comprehensive author and editor of writings on time and the originator of a naturalistic ... theory of time... This book, humane spirited, knowledgeably inclusive as it is, will be of interest to any reader and of special use to those who believe that time is a natural product rather than a manifestation of human transcendence and who want to see how this view plays out in the human world of values." -- Eva Brann, ISIS ADVANCE PRAISE "I can't imagine counting myself educated without this marvelous book ... as well ask a Christian of his or her world without the bible. We are all born into, and of, time, but we don't begin to understand its mysterious nature, the eternal enigma of this universal common medium, until we have followed the substance of Fraser's thought and feelings. They are indispensable and I most warmly recommend the book to all our world, which is so bogged down in Stone Age times and attitudes."-John Fowles "Every field boasts one or two scholars who, by dint of their intellectual prowess, are able to help the rest of us define the meaning of our times more clearly. J. T. Fraser has done exactly that in the field of time studies. He has become, for the rest of us, a guide to the many temporal worlds we inhabit. In an era where much of scholarship has become facile and narrow, Fraser remains one of the few who is still willing to tackle the larger questions relating to the metaphysics of our existence. He has done so beautifully in his new book Time, Conflict, and Human Values and in the process provided the rest of us with a fresh lens to better examine the social fabric for our lives."-Jeremy Rifkin "Time, Conflict, and Human Values integrates into a single vision the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Fraser has answered a large part of the riddle of time itself, the core problem of philosophy that is at the heart of any attempt at a philosophical account of epistemology, referentiality, phenomenology, consciousness, and scientific ontology. Like Aquinas, and like Aristotle before him, he has created the very arena within which philosophy will be conducted for the next few decades, perhaps centuries."- Frederick Turner, author of Beauty: The Value of Values

From the Publisher

Widely acknowledged as the world's foremost authority on the interdisciplinary study of time, J.T. Fraser moves easily among the rea lms of literature, philosophy, biology, physics, mathematics, ethics, and religion to uncover the foundation of human values and clarify their ro le in the lives of individuals, societies, and the historical process.

A s the twenty-first century begins, six billion people are crossing a cult ural bridge: from social institutions appropriate for an earth where human groups could interact only very slowly, if at all, to one where all soc ial institutions interact instantaneously and simultaneously. In this brilliant and accessible discourse, Fraser addresses the challenges pos ed by a cyberspaced humanity as it relates to ideas about human values.

Fraser builds his reasoning on an interpretation of the natur e of time that urges us toward a novel understanding of the dynamics of huma n values. He shows that seeking the true, doing what is right, and admir ing what is beautiful, far from promoting permanence, continuity, and balan ce in individual and social affairs, actually perpetuates the chronic insecurity of humanity--the time-knowing species--and drives our remark able creativity and frightening destructiveness.

A work of extraordinary clarity, depth, and range, TIME, CONFLICT, AND HUMAN VALUES will stand as a touchstone for all future discussions in the arena of human values.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1St Edition edition (October 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252024761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252024764
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,166,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Caithness on September 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Julius Thomas Fraser, founder of the International Society for the Study of Time and author of "Of Time, Passion and Knowledge" 1975, wrote in "Time, Conflict and Human Values" 1999 "Science does not supply absolute certainty; that can come only from unquestioned dogma. What good science does is this: it raises the incomprehensible to the level of the obvious, and then it shows that the new obvious is incomprehensible. I should add immediately that good art is always both obvious and incomprehensible, and therefore paradoxical".

Fraser was obviously not only a timesmith but also a wordsmith. In his work on the theory of time as conflict he articulated that the search for truth is prompted by the mind's propensity for whatever is enduring, whatever seems to defy death, and that a working definition of truth is the recognition of permanence in reality. However, as there is no permanence, knowing what is believed to be true has been a perennial source of unresolved conflicts. His hypothetical conclusion is that the historical function of the search for truth has been the creation of conflicts, and through them, social, cultural, and personal change: an evolutionary model.

Likewise beauty is such that our feelings desire its perpetuation. The opposite is ugly. Again as we cannot agree on our desires the conflict creates an evolutionary impetus.

So it goes - a brilliant work that synthesises a thought-provoking world view. Some books can change your perspective. This is one of them.

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