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Sidney Hook on Pragmatism, Democracy, and Freedom: The Essential Essays Hardcover – October 1, 2002

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About the Author

Robert Talisse (Nashville, TN) is assistant professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of On Dewey and co-editor of Dewey's Logical Theory.
Robert Tempio (New York, NY) works in the editorial division of Oxford University Press and is a graduate student in philosophy at the City University of New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591020220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591020226
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin Currie-Knight VINE VOICE on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sidney Hook was a preeminent philosopher from the 30's to the 80's, but his essays - from defences of secular humanism and the scientific method, to discourses on the problem with the idea of natural rights - sound like they could've been penned yesterday. This book is probably the best single collection of essays spanning Hook's career and diversity of interest.
The first set of essays is on Deweyan pragmatism. Here we have classics like "Naturalism and First Principles", arguing that first principles are not as sacroasanct as philosophers think, "Pragmatism and the Tragic Sense of Life" and "The Place of Reason in an Age of Conflict" - both of which are refreshing reads in an age of absolutism, be it pacifism, Christian fundamentalism or any other trendy -ism floating around. Hook remins us that values can, do, and always will conflict. The place of philosophy is not to naively pretend that a 'system' can eradicate them, but to deal with ithe fact that no theory can.
The next section is "Studies in Marxism" and while I can't say that there are any notable highlights here (as I'm nothing of a Marxist or sympathizer) one has to admire how Hook took a pragmatic view of Marxism and if anything, made a "historicist" doctrine a bit more feasible.
The next two sections are on Democratic (1) theory and (2) practice. They include classics like "The Democratic Way of Life", "Are There Limits to Freedom of Expression" (where Hook pragmatically answers yes), "Conflicts in Ways of Belief", and for all you that thought Hook was a conservative, "A Critique of Conservatism".
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