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Uses and Abuses of an American Icon
Thoreau in an Age of Crisis reconsiders the relevance of 19th-century-American naturalist, philosopher, and social reformer Henry David Thoreau to our troubled present.
This new anthology collects the work of fourteen leading scholars from various disciplines. They consider Thoreau’s life and work in light of contemporary concerns regarding racism, climate change, environmental policy, and political strife. They review Thoreau’s trajectory as a scientist and literary artist, as well as his evolving attitudes toward Native American cultures. Its essaysists also consider Thoreau’s acoustics, concepts of play, and impact on later writers. Most provocatively, they reveal a vulnerable and empathetic Thoreau, a far cry from the distanced and misanthropic critic often portrayed in popular culture.
Author: Jack Visnjic
Did the ancient Greeks and Romans have a concept of moral duty? Jack Visnjic seeks to settle this long-standing controversy in The Invention of Duty: Stoicism as Deontology. According to the prevailing view, ancient ethical systems lacked any sense of moral obligation and were built instead around notions of virtue and human flourishing. Visnjic argues that, millennia before Kant, the Stoics already developed a robust notion of moral duty as well as a sophisticated deontological ethics. While most writings of the Stoics perished, their concept of duty lived on and eventually came to influence the modern notion. In fact, there are strong indications that Kant’s formulation of a new duty-based morality was inspired by his encounter with Stoic ideas.
An entire lifetime’s work by Herman J. Saatkamp is collected here in A Life of Scholarship with Santayana: Essays and Reflections. From the first essay, published in 1972, to the latest, in 2017, almost fifty years of scholarship is given a fresh embodiment of expression. Saatkamp is considered by many to be the world’s foremost authority on George Santayana’s life and thought.

Not only does this volume bring into clear relief Saatkamp’s understanding of Santayana, the editing process, and genetic concerns and the future of philosophy, but it also betrays a lucid and humane understanding that aptly personifies a life spent in reflection, a discerning sense of appreciation, and an affirmation of life and learning.