Maynard Adams: Southern Philosopher of Civilization

Front Cover
Mercer University Press, 2009 - Philosophy - 368 pages
0 Reviews
Maynard Adams (1919-2003) was a profound philosopher and civic humanist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. A major intellectual figure of the second half of the twentieth century, Adams developed a comprehensive philosophy of civilization that applies to all humanity but has a distinctly Southern dimension. The essence of his philosophy is that value and meaning are dimensions of reality and we can gain knowledge about those dimensions. Adams contended that philosophers should get out of their ivory towers and engage in 'cultural criticism', thereby helping to improve and invigorate the ideas and values by which people guide their lives. He argues persuasively that modern civilization is 'naturalistic', in that modern people increasingly believe that the only reality is that revealed by sensory experience. As a result, modern civilization is economically and militarily impressive, but because of fundamental philosophical errors it has lost touch with value reality and meaning reality and therefore has no intellectual/spiritual foundation. Adams' humanistic philosophy is based on a philosophy of the person as a rational, moral being, and he demonstrates how humans can gain knowledge of value reality and meaning reality. He thus provides a positive alternative to the naturalistic world view that is undermining modern civilization. Adams was also a civil humanist who helped inspire and found several philosophical and educational organizations that continue to influence thousands of people. A notable example is the Program in the Humanities and Human Values at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


A Society Fit for Human Beings
Why a Southern Farm Boy Came to Be a Philosopher
The Harvard Years Analyzing the Most Radical Revolution in Human History
Personhood What Is It to Be a Person and to Live a Good Life?
What Is Philosophy Good For?
Value Realism How We Can Know Right from Wrong and Beautiful from Ugly
Modern Civilization Is Deranged
1960s Liberal Activism and a Philosophy of Nature
Philosophy of Mind and the Meaning Dimension of Reality
Public Philosophy The Humanities and Their Role in Modern Life
Humanistic Metaphysics Making Sense of Our Humanity Social Reality and Ultimate Reality
Philosopher of the Agora Religion and Cultural Freedom
A Philosophy for the Twentyfirst Century

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Glenn Blackburn taught at the University of Virginia's College at Wise for thirty-one years and was also Dean of the Faculty for five years. He is now a Senior Scholar at the College.

Bibliographic information