Will, Imagination, and Reason: Babbitt, Croce, and the Problem of Reality / Edition 1

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Overview

Will, Imagination, and Reason sets forth a new understanding of reality and knowledge with far-reaching implications for the study of man and society. Employing a systematic approach, Claes Ryn goes to the philosophical depths to rethink and reconstitute the epistemology of the humanities and social sciences. He shows that will and imagination, together, constitute our basic outlook on life and that reason derives its material and general orientation from the interaction between them.

The imaginative master-minds—novelists, poets, composers, painters, and others—powerfully affect the sensibility and direction of society. Sometimes a distorting, self-serving willfulness at the base of their visions draws civilization, including reason, into dangerous illusion. More penetrating and balanced vision and rationality spring from a different quality of will. Ryn explains the kind of interplay between will, imagination, and reason that is conducive to a deepened sense of reality and to intellectual understanding. He argues that human life and self-knowledge are inescapably historical. In developing his dialectical view of intellect, he draws from Irving Babbitt, Benedetto Croce, and other philosophers to refute positivistic, formalistic, and ahistorical theories of knowledge and to develop his alternative.

Advancing a systematic epistemological argument, Ryn throws much new light on the nature of reason but also on central issues of ethics and aesthetics. This trenchant and original work is indispensable to philosophers, social, political and cultural theorists, literary scholars, and historians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is a book to be pondered, a quintessentially serious and profound book that stands in a great European intellectual tradition." —Modern Age "An excellent book, written with clarity, learned judiciousness and yet with a kind of passionate urgency." —Modern Language Notes "Brilliant and philosophicaly systematic." —Chronicles. "Highly original and provocative ... an intellectual tour de force of the first order [with] enormous implications for modern ethical thought." —World & I. "Exhibits great seriousness and depth." —University Bookman. "A splendidly written and researched book on a topic of great importance to contemporary ethics." —Review of Metaphysics.
Modern Age
It is a book to be pondered, a quintessentially serious and profound book that stands in a great European intellectual tradition.
Ric Jacobs
An excellent book, written with clarity, learned judiciousness and yet with a kind of passionate urgency.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560009184
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Claes G. Ryn is professor of politics at the Catholic University of America where he was chairman of his department. He has taught also at the University of Virginia and Georgetown University. He is chairman of the National Humanities Institute and editor of the journal Humanitas. In 2000 he gave the Distinguished Foreign Scholar Lectures at Beijing University His many books include A Common Human Ground, Will, Imagination, and Reason (2nd., exp. ed. published by Transaction), and Democracy and the Ethical Life.

Claes G. Ryn is professor of politics at the Catholic University of America where he was chairman of his department. He has taught also at the University of Virginia and Georgetown University. He is chairman of the National Humanities Institute and editor of the journal Humanitas. In 2000 he gave the Distinguished Foreign Scholar Lectures at Beijing University His many books include A Common Human Ground, Will, Imagination, and Reason (2nd., exp. ed. published by Transaction), and Democracy and the Ethical Life.

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Table of Contents

Transaction Introduction
Prefatory Note 5
Introduction 9
Bibliographic Note 21
1 The Ethical Will and Reality 25
2 The Challenge of Modern Aesthetics 45
3 Scientific Reason and Experience 65
4 Philosophical Reason 79
5 "The Scandal of Reason" 95
6 Historical Knowledge 109
7 The Logic of Knowledge 119
8 Will and Knowledge 133
9 Will and Imaginative Truth 147
10 Intuitive Wisdom and Illusion 161
11 The Way to Reality 175
12 Imaginative Perception of the Universal 185
13 Will, Imagination and Reason 207
Index 223
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