A Society Fit for Human Beings

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SUNY Press, Oct 31, 1997 - Philosophy - 269 pages
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Argues for a humanistic cultural reformation to counter our materialistic values and science-dominated intellectual life and shows how this would affect our lives and transform our society.

A Society Fit for Human Beings contends that there is a profound incoherence in the foundations of modern Western civilization and that we are on a self-destructive course. With the quest for wealth and power our dominant concern, we find ourselves with a flourishing economy and a supreme military force based on science and technology, but with our moral, civic, and religious culture undermined by our way of comprehending the world. Our human identity is problematic, the wells of meaning that nourish the human spirit are polluted or drying up, and the social order is in disarray.

This situation, E. M. Adams argues, requires nothing less than a historic cultural revolution based on a shift in priorities from wealth and power to humanistic values -- those grounded in selfhood and lived experience that are essential for human growth, meaningful lives, and a healthy society. Such a shift in our governing values would require a restructuring of our intellectual vision of humankind and the world in terms of humanistic categories

This book shows the import of such a humanistic cultural revolution for our human identity, morality, the social order, and our major institutions, including the family and community, education, the economy, the government, the military, and religion. It outlines how we can work toward such a cultural revolution and develop a constructive postmodern civilization with a society fit for human beings.

 

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Contents

Culture and the Human Enterprise
1
Human Beings and Society A Humanistic View
21
Character The Framework for a Successful Life
37
The Primacy of Family and Community
57
Education for Human Growth
97
Humanizing the Economic Enterprise
127
Government and the Civic Enterprise
155
The Military The Peculiar Institution
181
Religion and the Arts
199
Toward a Humanistic Revolution
223
A Summary Case for Realistic Humanism
237
A Suggested Mission and Issues Charter for a University Center for Philosophy and Cultural Criticism
243
Notes
251
Index
259
Note on Supporting Center
269
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About the author (1997)

E. M. Adams is Kenan Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has written many books, including Ethical Naturalism and the Modern World-View; Philosophy and the Modern Mind; The Metaphysics of Self and World: Toward a Humanistic Philosophy; and Religion and Cultural Freedom.

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