History as the Story of Freedom

Philosophy in Intercultural Context


Author: Clark Butler
The purpose of this book is to advance responsible rehabilitation of the speculative philosophy of history. It challenges the idea popularized by thinkers such as and Claude Lévi-Strauss and Jean-François Lyotard that historical meta-mythology and meta-narrative are philosophically obsolete. As long as humanity, viewed anthropologically, lives by over-arching narrative, the quest for a version that survives rational criticism remains vital. Here human rights serve as the key to unlock such a version. Despite the fact that the Hegelian philosophy of history has often been derided, something very similar currently functions as the official ideology of the world community: the idea of history as the story of freedom. This book does not retell the world-historical story of freedom. Rather, it uncovers it, beginning with the current age of human rights and working backward through the great role-model civilizations of history. Its conclusion is that a forward retelling of the story of freedom as the story of human rights can be justified by dewesternizing the story. The book contains critical responses from specialized scholars and re-presentative of selected world cultures. The volume includes illustrations, and a guest Afterword by Donald Phillip Verene. It is a companion-volume to the author's Hegel's Logic: Between History and Dialectic (North-western University Press, 1996).

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Illustrations. Acknowledgments. Robert GINSBERG: Editorial Foreword. INTRODUCTION. ONE The Age of Human Rights. Responses Jeffrey STRAYER: On the Death of Art. David HALL: Relativism and the Pragmatic Concept of Truth. R.G. FREY: On Human Rights. TWO Christianity and Philosophy. Response Marc SHERRINGHAM: Modern Gnosticism: An Orthodox Reply. THREE Rome and Stoicism. Response Richard DOUBLE: A Faulty Case for Indeterminism. FOUR Greece and Classicism. Responses Dallas WILLARD: Against Nominalism. Patricia FAGAN and John RUSSON: Interpreting Ancient Greek Culture: Two Classicists Reply. FIVE Judaism and Enlightened Divine Despotism. Responses Charles H. LINEWEAVER: Before the Big Bang. William HASKER: Theism Defended. Kenneth SEESKIN: The Jewish World-View. SIX India and Mystical De-personalization. Responses Jeffrey STRAYER: Remarks on Zeno and Motion. Michel HULIN: Hegel and the Orient. SEVEN China and Divine Emperorship. Response Chung-Ying CHENG: China and Divine Emperorship. EIGHT Prehistory and Panpsychism. Responses Alan R. SANDSTROM: Prehistory and Paradise Lost in Empirical Anthropology. Paul M. CHURCHLAND: Panpsychism: A Brief Critique. NINE History as the Story of Freedom. TEN The Story of Freedom De-Westernized. Donald Phillip VERENE: Afterword. Appendix I A Weakly True Story of Rights? Appendix II Multiple Human Rights Stories. About the Author. About the Contributors. References. Index.