Belief and Unbelief: A Philosophy of Self-Knowledge / Edition 3

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Overview

This is perhaps the most widely read of Michael Novak's books. Belief and Unbelief attempts to push intelligence and articulation as far as possible into the stuff of what so many philosophers set aside as subjectivity. It is an impassioned critique of the idea of an unbridgeable gap between the emotive and the cognitive — and in its own way, represents a major thrust at positivist analysis.

Written in a context of personal tragedy as well as intellectual search, the book is grounded in the belief that human experience is enclosed within a person to person relationship with the source of all things — sometimes in darkness, other tunes in aridity, but always in deep encounter with community and courage. It is written with a deep fidelity to classical Catholic thought as well as a sense of the writings of sociology, anthropology, and political theory—from Harold Lasswell to Friedrich von Hayek.

This third edition includes Novak's brilliant 1961 article "God in the Colleges" from Harper's — a critique of the technification of university life that rules issues of love, death, and personal destiny out of bounds, and hence leaves aside the mysteries of contingency and risk, in favor of the certainties of research, production, and consumption. For such a "lost generation" Belief and Unbelief will remain of tremendous interest and impact.

When the book first appeared thirty years ago, it was praised by naturalists and religious thinkers alike. Sidney Hook called it "a remarkable book, written with verve and distinction." James Collins termed it "a lively and valuable essay from which a reflective, religiously concerned reader can draw immense profit." And The Washington Post reviewer claimed that "Novak has written a rich, relentlessly honest introduction to the problem of belief. It is a deeply personal book, rigorous in argument and open ended in conclusions."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560007418
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1994
  • Edition description: 3rd. ed
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 268
  • Sales rank: 1,010,838
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Novak is George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He has twice been the US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission and is a member of the National Endowment for Democracy board. He is the author of over two dozen books and numerous scholarly articles which have appeared in First Things, The Weekly Standard, and National Review Online. He is the winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface to the 1986 Edition 3
Preface 9
Introduction: A Dialectical Inquiry 15
1 The Cultural Context 35
2 Philosophy as Self-Knowledge 55
3 Deciding Who I Am 75
4 What Do I Mean by "God"? 107
5 Deciding Whether to Believe 134
6 God Or Evil 159
7 An Effective Humanism 175
Epilogue 189
Appendix: God in the Colleges 193
Notes 210
A Selected Bibliography 227
Index 285
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