Briefly Considered

978-1-58731-081-2
New Books
Paper $20
184 pages, 6" x 9", introduction, notes

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Briefly Considered

From the Mainstream: Notes and Observations on the Sources of Western Culture

Dougherty, Jude P.

The “mainstream” as the term is employed here finds it headwaters in antiquity, if not in the pre-Socratics, certainly in Plato and Aristotle. Through the centuries, that philosophy has been utilized and developed by the Stoics, the Neo-Platonists, the Scholastics, the Arabs, and by the Early Moderns. Dougherty approaches his topics from the perspective of the mainstream, specifically from the vantage point represented in contemporary discourse by the realism of Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas.

In commenting on contemporary social and political issues, Dougherty provides a critique of the humbug that often passes as philosophy. Much of what is published as philosophy, he claims, has little to do with the pursuit of wisdom, and much is written without any knowledge of the history of philosophy – for example, a professor of moral philosophy, by his own admission, lecturing without any knowledge of the Stoics, and another professor at a prominent university, in a nationally televised series of lectures devoted to the history of philosophy, jumping from Plato to Descartes with nothing in between. Dougherty argues that the ancients, no less intelligent or observant than we, have much to say to us about nature, human nature, and the polity. It is from the vantage point of what he takes to be perennial philosophy that Dougherty discusses topics such as “The Acquisition and Use of Power,” “Property as a Condition of Liberty,” “Tolerance.” “Responsibility,” and “The Nature of Scientific Explanation.”

Briefly Considered is divided into three parts. Part One presents a series of essays on contemporary social and political issues. Part Two surveys some recent works in the history and philosophy of science, and Part Three provides an introduction to Islamic scholarship that will aid those seeking an understanding of the origins and history of that movement.

Jude Dougherty, longtime editor of the Review of Metaphysics, teaches philosophy at the Catholic University of America and is the author of many books in philosophy.