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Evolution and Conversion: Dialogues on the Origins of Culture

Overview

Presented as a series of conversations, Evolution and Conversion is a thorough discussion of the major tenets of Girard's thought. 

René Girard is one of the most brilliant and striking intellectuals of the 20th century. His theory on the imitative nature of desire and on the violent origin of culture has been at the centre of the philosophical and theoretical debate since the publication in 1971 of his seminal book: Violence and the Sacred. His reflection on the ...

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Evolution and Conversion: Dialogues on the Origins of Culture

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Overview

Presented as a series of conversations, Evolution and Conversion is a thorough discussion of the major tenets of Girard's thought. 

René Girard is one of the most brilliant and striking intellectuals of the 20th century. His theory on the imitative nature of desire and on the violent origin of culture has been at the centre of the philosophical and theoretical debate since the publication in 1971 of his seminal book: Violence and the Sacred. His reflection on the relationship between violence and religion is one of the most original and persuasive and, given the urgency of this issue in our contemporary world, demands a reappraisal. 

Girard, who has been hailed by Michel Serres as "the Charles Darwin" of human sciences, is in fact one of the few thinkers in the humanities and social sciences that takes into full consideration an evolutionary perspective to explain the emergence of culture and institutions. The authors draw out this aspect of his thought by foregrounding ethological, anthropological and evolutionary theories.

Methodological and epistemological systematization has also been lacking in Girard's previous books, and by questioning him on the issue of evidence and truth, the authors provide a convincing framework for further inquiries. In the last chapters, Girard proposes a provocative re-reading of the Biblical texts, seen as the culmination of an enduring process of historical awareness of the presence and function of collective violence in our world. In fact, Girard's long argument is a historical spiral in which the origin of culture and archaic religion is reunited with the contemporary world by means of a reinterpretation of Christianity and its revelation of the intrinsic violent nature of the human being.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780567032522
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 4/14/2008
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,005,624
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author


René Girard is the Andrew B. Hammond Professor Emeritus of French Language, Literature, and Civilization at Stanford University.

Pierpaolo Antonello, Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John's College, is currently a member of COV&R, and has worked for many years on the relationship between literature, philosophy and science.

João Cezar de Castro Rocha is Professor of Comparative Transatlantic Studies at the University of Manchester and Humboldt Research Fellow, Germany.

Dr Michael Kirwan SJ is Head of Theology at Heythrop College in the University of London, UK.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Life of the Mind Chapter 2. "A theory by which to work": the Mimetic Mechanism Chapter 3: The Symbolic Species Chapter 4. Critique and Dialogue: From Frazer to Levi-Strauss Chapter 5: Method, Evidence and Truth Chapter 6: The Scandal of Christianity Chapter 7: Modernity, Postmodernity and the End of History

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