America the Philosophicalby Carlin Romano
With verve and keen intelligence,
A bold, insightful book that rejects the myth of America the Unphilosophical, arguing that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece or any other place one can name.
With verve and keen intelligence, Carlin Romano—Pulitzer Prize finalist, award-winning book critic, and professor of philosophy—takes on the widely held belief that ours is an anti–intellectual society. Instead, while providing a richly reported overview of American thought, Romano argues that ordinary Americans see through phony philosophical justifications faster than anyone else, and that the best of our thinkers abandon artificial academic debates for fresh intellectual enterprises, such as cyberphilosophy. Along the way, Romano seeks to topple philosophy’s most fiercely admired hero, Socrates, asserting that it is Isocrates, the nearly forgotten Greek philosopher who rejected certainty, whom Americans should honor as their intellectual ancestor.
America the Philosophical introduces readers to a nation whose existence most still doubt: a dynamic, deeply stimulating network of people and places drawn together by shared excitement about ideas. From the annual conference of the American Philosophical Association, where scholars tack wiseguy notes addressed to Spinoza on a public bulletin board, to the eruption of philosophy blogs where participants discuss everything from pedagogy to the philosophy of science to the nature of agency and free will, Romano reveals a world where public debate and intellectual engagement never stop. And readers meet the men and women whose ideas have helped shape American life over the previous few centuries, from well-known historical figures like William James and Ralph Waldo Emerson, to modern cultural critics who deserve to be seen as thinkers (Kenneth Burke, Edward Said), to the iconoclastic African American, women, Native American, and gay mavericks (Cornel West, Susan Sontag, Anne Waters, Richard Mohr) who have broadened the boundaries of American philosophy.
Smart and provocative, America the Philosophical is a rebellious tour de force that both celebrates our country’s unparalleled intellectual energy and promises to bury some of our most hidebound cultural clichés.
“Ambitious. . . . Convincing. . . . An encyclopedic survey of the life of the mind in the United States. . . . Romano is enlightening when he analyzes American intellectual life and illustrates its liveliness.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Is the title a joke? . . . [Romano] argues, brilliantly and at length, that it is not.”
“A high-speed tour of America’s big thinkers . . . Romano is a cheerful and exuberant guide.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Genuinely exciting and provocative . . . If Romano wanted to discombobulate the traditional landscape of American philosophy, he achieved his goal."
“Admirable . . . Romano writes with the snap of a journalist.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A comprehensive intellectual history from Emerson to Rawls.”
—The New Yorker
—Broad Street Review
“Romano’s remarkable book stands out in terms of ambition, breadth, provocativeness, and, when needed, a delicate touch.”
—Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University, author of Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed
“Stimulating . . . graceful . . . exuberant . . . succeeds in filling one’s mind with the excitement of ideas duking it out.”
“Both scholarly and entertaining—learned and stimulating—to an equal and extraordinary degree. America the Philosophical is one of the books of the year . . . A hugely enlightening compendium of intellectual heresy.”
—The Buffalo News
“In an age when many debates are high-pitched screeds, how counterintuitive it is to argue that American philosophical thought is booming. But that’s trademark Romano . . . Romano turns his subject into a narrative of people brought together by their love of ideas.”
“Romano’s grip on his subject is fierce. . . . A tour de force—encyclopedic, entertaining and enlightening.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“With illuminating anecdotes and an addictive prose style, Romano renders complex ideas lucid without sacrificing depth of understanding or his splendid sense of humor . . . breathtaking intellectual range and passion.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Part love letter, part hand grenade, Romano’s commentary is sure to delight and infuriate in a way that will underscore its thesis.”
“Romano writes so well and unrolls his knowledge in such an unthreatening way that before you know it, you will be thinking philosophically yourself.”
—Philip Seib, Director of the Center for Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California
“Romano offers a smart, sophisticated and counter-intuitive comparison of European and American culture. His language is rich and textured, but also contemporary and wry.”
—Dallas Morning News
“Romano’s voracious intellectual curiosity is impressive—America the Philosophical is dense with amusing anecdotes.”
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.64(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.64(d)
Meet the Author
Carlin Romano, Critic-at-Large of The Chronicle of Higher Education and literary critic of The Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty-five years (1984-2009), is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Ursinus College. His criticism has appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Harper’s, The American Scholar, Salon, The Times Literary Supplement, and many other publications. A former president of the National Book Critics Circle, he was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, cited for “bringing new vitality to the classic essay across a formidable array of topics.” He lives in Philadelphia.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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C. Romano's book is essential reading for professional, academic, and academically trained philosophers who are working as mid-level administrators in the corporate world. This book does require some knowledge of the "big picture" of philosophy, but can be enjoyed on its own merits. Romano with humor, good documentation, satirical wisdom and insights, provides a supportable understanding and analysis of how philosophy is practiced and viewed in the United States. Romano's thesis is deftly developed and supported; and his writing style is lucid, coherent, and a pleasure to read. I highly recommend this book as an important perspective on the professional, academic, and non-academic philosophical practices in the United States.
I guess I say C) transformation.
A sniper rifle.
D) other. Definately Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.