Philosophical Essays in Pragmatic Naturalism

Paul Kurtz, Author
Paul Kurtz, Author Prometheus Books $34 (265p) ISBN 978-0-87975-592-8
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
These essays, reprinted from scholarly journals, offer seminal ideas on bridging the rift between holism (belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) and reductionism, on Kierkegaard, rule-making, ethics, phenomenology, and behaviorism in the applied and social sciences. Kurtz, professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, sets forth his brand of ``pragmatic naturalism,'' a secular outlook rooted in the scientific method. He has no use for the quests of existentialists or Zen Buddhists, seems wary of Freud, and would grant metaphysicians limited tasks. Although, as the author states, his secular humanism offers a cosmic outlook on the universe and our place in it, for the lay reader he fails to grant sufficient depth to the nature of that cosmic outlook. When Kurtz ventures into matters of values, personal needs or ultimates, he is tepid or tentative (``There seems to be a human necessity both to give and receive love''). (Apr.)
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