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Wicked Pleasures: Meditations on the Seven Deadly Sins
     

Wicked Pleasures: Meditations on the Seven Deadly Sins

by Robert C. Solomon, William Gass (Contribution by), Don Herzog (Contribution by), William Miller (Contribution by), Jerry Neu (Contribution by)
 

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The seven deadly sins have provided gossip, amusement, and the plots of morality plays for nearly fifteen hundred years. In Wicked Pleasures, well-known philosopher, business ethicist, and admitted sinner Robert C. Solomon brings together a varied group of contributors for a new look at an old catalogue of sins. Solomon introduces the sins as a group, noting their

Overview

The seven deadly sins have provided gossip, amusement, and the plots of morality plays for nearly fifteen hundred years. In Wicked Pleasures, well-known philosopher, business ethicist, and admitted sinner Robert C. Solomon brings together a varied group of contributors for a new look at an old catalogue of sins. Solomon introduces the sins as a group, noting their popularity and pervasiveness. From the formation of the canon by Pope Gregory the Great, the seven have survived the sermonizing of the Reformation, the Inquisition, the Enlightenment, the brief French reign of supreme reason, the apotheoses of capitalism, communism, secular humanism and postmodernism, the writings of numerous rabbis and evangelical moralists, two series in the New York Times, and several bad movies. Taking their cue from this remarkable history, the contributors, allowed one sin apiece, provide a non-sermonizing and relatively light-hearted romp through the domain of the deadly seven.

Editorial Reviews

Bernd Magnus
Wicked Pleasures is a collection of well-informed, sometimes irreverent essays that reflect upon the so-called seven deadly sins—lust, anger, envy, gluttony, greed, pride, sloth—and in that process explain the hold they have had on the moral imagination of Western Christendom for a millennium. Well-written. Well-edited. A pleasure to read.
Sam Keen
Wicked Pleasuresturned my notions of vice/versa. I am enjoying some of the seven deadly sins more but questioning what I once thought of as my virtues. Thanks, Robert Solomon, I needed that.
Douglas Kellner
Wicked Pleasures provides some worldly and wise reflections on the seven 'deadly' sins by some of our best writers. These essays should enlighten and maybe delight anyone who has ever fallen prey to the seven deadly ones—which means, all of us.
Library Journal
Gluttony, pride, sloth, greed, anger, lust, and envy have been the source of theological discussion since Pope Gregory I (590-604) institutionalized them as the seven "deadly" sins. They have also been the grist for countless poems, plays, and novels, both religious and secular. Solomon (philosophy and business, Univ. of Texas; A Passion for Wisdom, LJ 4/1/97) has compiled seven essays, each dedicated to one of the sins and each written by a generalist or a theologian writing as a generalist. Solomon set no boundaries on the assignment, and the result is a highly entertaining, non-proselytizing, non-academic collection. Thomas Pynchon writes about sloth and the modern-day couch potato; the late William H. Gass expounds on lust as a hidden, deep-down virtue; and other less famous essayists are just as funny, irreverent, and cocky in their observations. Recommended for all libraries.--Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Kirkus Reviews
Glimpses of a fruitful discussion can be found here, despite the effort to hide them behind erudite claptrap.

Unfortunately, Novak (Business as a Calling, 1996, etc.) appears to have fallen prey to the post-communist conservative's infatuation with manufacturing enemies. Explaining the business corporation and its role in modern society would be an important contribution. But, given the realities of wealth, power, and popular values in this country, unleashing Novak on corporate critics, as occurs here, is a waste of intellectual energy, like using nuclear weapons to fend off kids with pea-shooters. In the initial section of this slim volume, war is declared against those who would destroy "public enemy number one, the business corporation." An enlightening but somewhat misplaced discussion of patent and copyright laws follows. The issue of corporate governance is taken up in the final section, however, and here a distinction between the nature and purpose of corporate associations and those of governmental associations is genuinely useful. Novak argues that the benefits of corporations flow from pursuing specific goals through dynamic organizations, whereas the benefits of government flow from pursuing general goals through relatively static organizations. Imposing the norms appropriate for the latter will only prevent the former from providing all that society needs from them. Novak calls for a "philosophy of business" to clarify the purpose of corporations, but rather than proceeding to develop it he reverts to attacking leftists, who are characterized as expecting "employees to receive diamond rings on the day they are hired." Closing with a claim that the "one main purpose" of the corporation is "to create new wealth for the whole society" rather than for stockholders, he confuses his argument by expanding expectations of corporations in precisely the manner he finds objectionable.

This is not the serious work we have come to expect from Novak.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780847692507
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
12/03/1998
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Robert C. Solomon is Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Philosophy and Business and distinguished teaching professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Well known for his writings on the passions, the emotions, ethics, and excellence, Solomon is the author of numerous books, most recently A Passion for Wisdom (with Kathleen Higgins), Oxford 1997.

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