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Subject: Philosophy

Modernity, Civilization and the Return to History

Anthony F. Shaker, McGill University, Canada

January 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-184-8
Availability: In stock
$80 £68 €77

The modern concept and study of civilization have their roots, not in western Europe, but in the spirit of scientific investigation associated with a self-conscious Islamicate civilization. What we call modernity cannot be fathomed without this historical connection. We owe every major branch of science known today to the broad tradition of systematic inquiry that belongs to a “region of being”—as Heidegger would say—whose theoretical, practical and institutional dimensions the philosophy of that civilization played an unprecedented role in creating. This book focuses primarily on the philosophical underpinnings of questions relating to civilization, personhood and identity. Contemporary society and thinking in western Europe introduced new elements to these questions that have altered how collective and personal identities are conceived and experienced. In the age of “globalization,” expressions of identity (individual, social and cultural) survive precariously outside their former boundaries, just when humanity faces perhaps its greatest challenges—environmental degradation, policy inertia, interstate bellicosity, and a growing culture of tribalism. Yet, the world has been globalized for at least a millennium, a fact dimmed by the threadbare but still widespread belief that modernity is a product of something called the West. One is thus justified in asking, as many people do today, if humanity has not lost its initiative. This is more a philosophical than an empirical question. There can be no initiative without the human agency that flows from identity and personhood—i.e., the way we, the acting subject, live and deliberate about our affairs. Given the heavy scrutiny under which the modern concept of identity has come, Dr. Shaker has dug deeper, bringing to bear a wealth of original sources from both German thought and Ḥikmah (Islamicate philosophy), the latter based on material previously unavailable to scholars. Posing the age-old question of identity anew in the light of these two traditions, whose special historical roles are assured, may help clear the confusion surrounding modernity and, hopefully, our place in human civilization. Proximity to Scholasticism, and therefore Islamicate philosophy, lent German thought up to Heidegger a unique ability to dialogue with other thought traditions. Two fecund elements common to Heidegger, Qūnawī and Mullā Ṣadrā are of special importance: Logos (utterance, speech) as the structural embodiment at once of the primary meaning (essential reality) of a thing and of divine manifestation; and the idea of unity-in-difference, which Ṣadrā finally formulated as the substantial movement of existence. But behind this complexity is the abiding question of who Man is, which cannot be answered by theory alone. Heidegger, who occupies a good portion of this study, questioned the modern ontology at a time of social collapse and deep spiritual crisis not unlike ours. Yet, that period also saw the greatest breakthroughs in modern physics and social science. The concluding chapters take up, more specifically, identity renewal in Western literature and Muslim “reformism.” The renewal theme reflects a point of convergence between the Eurocentric worldview, in which modernism has its secular aesthetics roots, and a current originating in Ibn Taymiyyah’s reductionist epistemology and skeptical fundamentalism. It expresses a hopeless longing for origin in a historically pristine “golden age,” an obvious deformation of philosophy’s millennial concern with the commanding, creative oneness of the Being of beings.

God: A brief philosophical introduction

K.H.A. Esmail, University of Cambridge

November 2016 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-148-0
Availability: In stock
$60 £49 €55

This is a clear and original investigation of God's nature and existence. First of all, it considers two of God’s traditional properties: being all-knowing and being all-powerful. It argues he cannot possess these properties. But, it argues this is in accord with him being worthy of worship. Secondly, it introduces the notion of evil being “overridden”. It argues he has to bring about other free living things and it is plausible they have to be liable to experience evil due to their conditions. But, it argues the evil in this world is “overridden”. Thirdly, it considers the principal arguments for the claim he does not exist. (They refer to the evil in the world.) It argues they do not establish sufficient grounds for this claim. Finally, it considers some well-known arguments for the claim he exists. It argues they face difficulties. It sets out other arguments. It covers as a whole the principal parts of the Philosophy of Religion. It unifies these parts to a significant degree. It proceeds regularly by way of formal and clear arguments. These arguments are frequently original. It will be of interest to advanced students and specialists in Philosophy, Religious Studies and Theology. Given its explanation of key terms, its jargon-free language, its clarity and brevity.... , it will be of interest to others, too.

Intervention or Protest

Acting for Nonhuman Animals

Edited by Andrew Woodhall, University of Birmingham and Gabriel Garmendia da Trindade, University of Birmingham

October 2016 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-062-9
Availability: In stock
$75 £58 €68

Within current political, social, and ethical debates – both in academia and society – activism and how individuals should approach issues facing nonhuman animals, have become increasingly important, ‘hot’ issues. Individuals, groups, advocacy agencies, and governments have all espoused competing ideas for how we should approach nonhuman use and exploitation. Ought we proceed through liberation? Abolition? Segregation? Integration? As nonhuman liberation, welfare, and rights’ groups increasingly interconnect and identify with other ‘social justice movements’, resolutions to these questions have become increasingly entangled with questions of what justice and our ethical commitments demand on this issue, and the topic has become increasingly significant and divisive. The book considers how this question, and contemporary issues facing nonhumans (such as experimentation, hunting, and factory farming) should be answered by drawing on both theory and practice in order to provide grounded, yet actionable, ways forward. Indicatively, the book covers topics such as: • The intersection between interspecies ethics and the ethics of war and self-defence • Nonhuman animals as political subjects and acting agents • Whether we should intervene for nonhuman animals in cases of natural disaster • Various explorations of why the nonhuman movement may not be succeeding as well as it could be • Comparisons between the nonhuman movement and other social movement • Arguments for and against intervening to help or save nonhumans, and how far we may go • What intervention could ultimately mean for nonhumans The book is therefore intended not only to provide new and interesting insight into the area and important contemporary discussions, but also to constructively aid the nonhuman movement and unite theory and practice on the crucial issues. With the nonhuman movement and its past approaches currently being questioned as a success, more nonhumans than ever being harmed and exploited, and a growing gulf between activists and scholars, this book will not only be a timely addition to the literature, but an attempt to bridge these gaps and move both theory and practice – and thus the movement and field – forward.

The Philosophy of Forgiveness - Volume II

New Dimensions of Forgiveness

Edited by Court D. Lewis, Owensboro Community and Technical College

August 2016 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-190-9
Availability: In stock
$55 £35 €45

Volume II of Vernon Press’s series on the Philosophy of Forgiveness offers several challenging and provocative chapters that seek to push the conversation in new directions and dimensions. Volume I, Explorations of Forgiveness: Personal, Relational, and Religious, began the task of creating a consistent multi-dimensional account of forgiveness, and Volume II’s New Dimensions of Forgiveness continues this goal by presenting a set of chapters that delve into several deep conceptual and metaphysical features of forgiveness. New Dimensions of Forgiveness creates a theoretical framework for understanding the many nuanced features of forgiveness, namely, third-party forgiveness, forgiveness as an aesthetic process, the role of resentment in warranting forgiveness, the moral status of self-forgiveness, epistemic trust, forgiveness’s influence on the moral status of persons, forgiveness in time, the status of Substance and Subject within a Hegelian framework, Jacques Derrida’s “impossible” forgiveness, and the use of imaginative “magic” to become a maximal forgiver. Readers will be challenged to question and come to terms with many oft-overlooked, yet important philosophical dimensions of forgiveness.

The Philosophy of Forgiveness - Volume I

Explorations of Forgiveness: Personal, Relational, and Religious [Hardback]

Edited by Court D. Lewis, Owensboro Community and Technical College

July 2016 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-054-4
Availability: In stock
$55 £35 €45

The Philosophy of Forgiveness is multi-dimensional and complex. As recent scholarly philosophical works on forgiveness illustrate, incorporating personal, relational, political, ethical, psychological, and religious dimensions into one consistent conception of “forgiveness” is difficult. As part of Vernon Press’s series on the Philosophy of Forgiveness, Explorations of Forgiveness: Personal, Relational, and Religious begins the task of creating a consistent multidimensional account of forgiveness by bringing together multiple voices from around the globe to analyze, discuss, and draw conclusions about how best to understand forgiveness. The volume’s three opening chapters examine forgiveness as a relational concept, and offer insights into the role of forgiveness in repairing, sustaining, stewarding, and healing relationships damaged by wrongdoing. Continuing with the relational theme, the next four chapters incorporate Hannah Arendt’s philosophical teachings (both her writings and her life) into the discussion to offer several intriguing conclusions relating to “unforgivable” persons and acts. The final chapters examine the nature of forgiveness from three major world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, and Confucianism.

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