The book analyzes, synthesizes, and evaluates the insights of the world's outstanding thinkers, prophets, and literary masters on the good, the morally right, and the lovely (part one); the question whether the world operates on the basis of such universal laws as the logos, the tao, and the principle of polarity (part two); what there is and isn't in the world, including such categories as existence, reality, being, and nonbeing (part three); and pre-eminently credible and enriching beliefs about truth, wisdom, and what it all means (part four).
Emphasis is placed on the divergent views of such intellectual giants as Confucius and Laotse in ancient China; the classical Hindu philosophers from ancient times to Gandhi and Tagore; patriarchs and prophets quoted in Scripture; Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas in the Middle Ages; Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Kant; and nineteenth- and twentieth-century luminaries such as Bentham, Mill, Peirce, James, Dewey, Sartre, and Wittgenstein.
The differences and resemblances of their cogitations are portrayed as a conversation of the ages on questions of persistent concern.
Foreword by Stephen F. Barker. Preface. Acknowledgments. Note to the Reader. PART I THE GOOD, THE MORALLY RIGHT, AND THE LOVELY. ONE What Are the Pre-Eminently Good Things in Life, and How Can I Acquire and Enjoy Them? TWO What Are the Pre-Eminently Valid Rules or Criteria That Determine the Moral Rightness of an Action? THREE What Are the Pre-Eminently Lovely Things, and How Can I Appreciate and Enjoy Them? PART II WHAT ARE THE PRE-EMINENTLY CREDIBLE AND ENRICHING BELIEFS ABOUT HOW THE WORLD OPERATES? Preliminary Remarks. FOUR Does the World Operate on the Basis of a General Law That Is Variously Called the Logos or the Tao? FIVE Does the World Operate on the Basis of a Specific Law Known as the Law of Polarity? PART III ON WHAT THERE IS AND ISN'T IN THE WORLD. Preliminary Remarks. SIX The Kinds of Things: First Classification (Actuality, Being, Etc.) SEVEN The Kinds of Things: Second, Third, and Fourth Classifications. EIGHT The Kinds of Things: Fifth Classification (Physical, Vital, and Logical Realities). PART IV WHAT ARE THE PRE-EMINENTLY CREDIBLE AND ENRICHING BELIEFS ABOUT TRUTH, WISDOM, AND WHAT IT ALL MEANS? NINE What Is the Nature of Truth? TEN What Is the Nature of Knowledge, Under-standing, and Wisdom? ELEVEN What Does It All Mean? Source References. About the Author. Index of Authors and Anonymous Documents Quoted.