America the Philosophical

America the Philosophical A bold insightful book that rejects the myth of America the Unphilosophical arguing that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world an unprecedented marketpl

  • Title: America the Philosophical
  • Author: Carlin Romano
  • ISBN: 9780679434702
  • Page: 437
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A bold, insightful book that rejects the myth of America the Unphilosophical, arguing that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece or any other place one can name.With verve and keen intelligence, Carlin Romano Pulitzer Prize finalist, award winnA bold, insightful book that rejects the myth of America the Unphilosophical, arguing that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece or any other place one can name.With verve and keen intelligence, Carlin Romano Pulitzer Prize finalist, award winning book critic, and professor of philosophy takes on the widely held belief that ours is an anti intellectual society Instead, while providing a richly reported overview of American thought, Romano argues that ordinary Americans see through phony philosophical justifications faster than anyone else, and that the best of our thinkers abandon artificial academic debates for fresh intellectual enterprises, such as cyber philosophy Along the way, Romano seeks to topple philosophy s most fiercely admired hero, Socrates, asserting that it is Isocrates, the nearly forgotten Greek philosopher who rejected certainty, whom Americans should honor as their intellectual ancestor.America the Philosophical introduces readers to a nation whose existence most still doubt a dynamic, deeply stimulating network of people and places drawn together by shared excitement about ideas From the annual conference of the American Philosophical Association, where scholars tack wiseguy notes addressed to Spinoza on a public bulletin board, to the eruption of philosophy blogs where participants discuss everything from pedagogy to the philosophy of science to the nature of agency and free will, Romano reveals a world where public debate and intellectual engagement never stop Readers meet the men and women whose ideas have helped shape American life over the previous few centuries, from well known historical figures like William James and Ralph Waldo Emerson, to modern cultural critics who deserve to be seen as thinkers Kenneth Burke, Edward Said , to the iconoclastic African American, women, Native American, and gay mavericks Cornel West, Susan Sontag, Anne Waters, Richard Mohr who have broadened the boundaries of American philosophy.Smart and provocative, America the Philosophical is a rebellious tour de force that both celebrates our country s unparalleled intellectual energy and promises to bury some of our most hidebound cultural clich s.

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    1 thought on “America the Philosophical”

    1. No doubt the very title of 'America the Philosophical' is one that will raise eyebrows and earn mocking comments. It is a contradiction, one which directly goes against a commonly held national image - or national stereotype. One might as well speak of Britannia the Gourmand or Canada the Tropical. National cliches aside, this is a very exciting and guaranteed controversial book which sincerely believes in the intellectual traditions of America.The trope of America being 'mob-like' and 'anti-int [...]

    2. Philosophical AmericaIn a 1908 essay, "On Certain Limitations of the Thoughtful Public in America" the American philosopher Josiah Royce took issue with those who denied the thoughtful character of much of the American public. Royce said: "when foreigners accuse us of extraordinary love for gain, and of practical materialism, they fail to see how largely we are a nation of idealists." Royce proceeded to explain that by "idealist" he did not mean a commitment to a philosophical doctrine but rathe [...]

    3. This book was an almost year-long project, though that testifies to how much the book has to offer knowledge-wise. That being said, I am both amazed at the sheer amount of research that went into it, as well as feeling constantly over my head. The book lived up to the premise that philosophical discourse happens daily in this country, despite the popular opinion that Americans are mostly idiots. Oddly enough, the people reviewed in this book are mostly academics and are a part of the higher eche [...]

    4. Finally got around to reading this book! It's been on my list for ages. As someone with a fairly short attention span, I liked that Romano spent 8-10 pages on a particular thinker and then moved on to the next. The thinkers I enjoyed learning about the most included Susan Sontag, Richard Rorty, and Anita Allen, but he discusses the lives and works of 100+ people in here, and they were all interesting. (Who knew Jane Addams may have been queer AF? Who knew Hannah Arendt and Heidegger were more on [...]

    5. After reading more than a third of the book, I had to put it down. I can accept his argument that philosophy is more than what is taught in philosophy classes in college; but more difficult is his complete denigration of academic philosophy in general. He admires Rorty highly, which is fine, but in the next breath pooh poohs Putnam since he believes Rorty manages to follow in the footsteps of James and Dewey more closely. Putnam follows the same tradition, but because he still worked hard at pro [...]

    6. With America the Philosophical, Carlin Romano takes on the ambitious task of establishing the US in the upper echelons of the philosophical tradition. Along the way, he takes aim at the American Philosophical Association, introduces us to some excellent cultural critics and thinkers unknown to those of us outside of philosophy and posits a strong argument in favor of assigning a fundamental role in the development of the American psyche and philosophy to Isocrates (436-338 B.C.), an orator whose [...]

    7. Moving the Goalposts Alright, that's it, I quit. At 350 pages nothing like a claim or thesis has emerged; instead, the first half of America the Philosophical offers a series of chapter-length snapshots of American intellectual history among Dead White Men, living white men, self-help quacks, Hugh Hefner (?!), African-Americans, women,and queer folks. Carlin Romano's analyses of philosophical and literary ideas are good, but slight, and therein lies the problem: you'd be better served just readi [...]

    8. This is a very good tour of the mind of the US. A former book reviewer, Romano makes a strong case that while Sarah Palin exists and academic analytical philosophy may be a dead end (insofar as it's struggling to replicate itself or engage the general public), the US is a very intellectual, even philosophical society.We all half know this. Most of the era-defining authors headed to, or are products of the American system. And if we take Philosophy as more than an academic degree in logic, and vi [...]

    9. Written by a philosopher but in a journalistic style, which almost fits in with his general thesis, which is in keeping with the neo-pragmatism of Richard Rorty. He would like to broaden the scope of the definition of what counts as philosophy to include a whole host of intellectual activities. I am sympathetic to much of his project, but I think he pushes it a bit hard. There were a few passages that were genuinely fascinating to read, but many others that felt more like he was running for a po [...]

    10. What should I read over the holidays? A 600 page survey of 250+ years of philosophical thought in America? YES!Six weeks later: Maybe not my best idea, but I'm done. Really really done. Carlin Romano's is a cavalcade of biographies and philosophical ideas that belie the idea that Americans are anti-intellectual and non-philsophical. Romano asserts that Americans just come at philosophy from a tradition of rhetoric and argument more in line with Isocrates, than the more formal and classical tradi [...]

    11. It's a blind grab bag of American intellectuals, a potpourri combo of insights that hang on the slimmest of threads masquerading as a current of philosophy. It basically claims that America, in the 20th century, has demonstrated a prodigious output rarely equalled in the history of philosophy. Right. The best parts are in the beginning and in the end: it begins with a decent recap of Rorty's argument that philosophy is only another form of conversation, in order to set up his premise, and ends w [...]

    12. The jacket flap writer must not have read this book. It does not argue "that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world." It is a boring and tedious history of American philosophers, albeit well-written, including marvelous use of rarely used words. I am interested in a well formed argument that in America "public debate and intellectual engagement never stop," and how that is imbedded in American culture, but I did not find that here. The only two things [...]

    13. For me, this book was an uneven read – dribbles of boredom between spurts of interest. Particularly slow-going were surveys of thoughts of 19th Century and early 20th Century American philosophers. Interest picked up as author began scrutinizing current quasi-philosophers and their works: writers and celebrities involved in politics, law, literature, mathematics, journalism, etc. He reviews other philosophical types and “different drummer” characters: African-Americans, women, native Ameri [...]

    14. America the Philosophical is largely just a who's who of philosophy, which is just what I was looking for. But the book also makes the case that philosophy is more than a group of PhDs with degrees in Philosophy (capital P, very serious stuff). Indeed, the book claims that philosophy is the environment that frames human discourse. It is in this sense that America is philosophical. We allow a multiplicity of voices to speak freely, which creates a sort of philosophic truth, just by the act of dis [...]

    15. I thought this was well-written overall, but really not what I was looking for. I was hoping for something more anthropological/sociological in scope, and instead got a bunch of short profiles of different philosophers. There was a little bit of analysis right at the beginning and near the end, but not enough.

    16. Besides covering the mainstream philosophers,this book branches out to cover journalists, psychologists, WWW experts, political theorists, and others. There is also specific coverage of women, African Americans, gays, and other subgroups. Isocrates, as the precursor to pragmatic concerns and analyses, is covered. There is a lot of information, here.

    17. This looks at philosophers in the United States and how they influence current thinking. An interesting and unusual opinion makes the book rather unique.

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