He has published numerous books and essays, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. The Art of Living and p. He has taught at the University of Reading since From to he taught at Cornell University.
Oxford University Press, — Morrison Professor of the Humanities at Northwestern University. He is the author of Against Absolute Goodness , What is Good and Why , and several studies of the moral and political philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. She received her PhD from the University of Iowa. He is the author of Moral Vision Blackwell, , which has been continuously in print since its publication, and with Eve Garrard Forgiveness Acumen Publishing, He has also written articles, many with Piers Rawling or with Eve Garrard, on a range of topics in ethics, ethical theory, and metaethics.
She works in moral philosophy and moral psychology, with particular interest in the nature of moral agency and deliberation. A historian of Greek and Roman philosophy, she has special interest in the ethical tradition. He has published papers on Greek epic and tragedy, and on the history of ancient and early modern philosophy. He has written extensively on Adam Smith, on the Scottish Enlightenment, and on the nature and implications of liberalism that developed in Britain in the eighteenth century. He has written widely on Kant's and Kantian moral philosophy. He is the author of Rational Egoism Cambridge University Press, and, more recently, papers on utilitarianism, Sidgwick, Moore, Ross, Scanlon, Korsgaard, ethical non-naturalism, and experimental philosophy.
During — she taught at Yale University. His research interests lie in ethics and epistemology. He works in moral, legal, and political philosophy and in recent years his research has focused on human rights, punishment, and the philosophy of international law.
His recent work on J. He is also author of encyclopedia articles on Mill and on Utilitarianism.
1. Chronology of James’s Life
Oxford Handbooks Online. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search within my subject: Select Politics Urban Studies U. History Law Linguistics Literature. Music Neuroscience Philosophy Physical Sciences. List of Contributors. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics. Read More. Subscriber sign in. Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. Search within Barzun calls "The West Torn Apart. Why here?
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Why now? Speculation is always confident, always inconclusive. As Mr. Barzun observes, "How a revolution erupts from a commonplace event — tidal wave from a ripple — is cause for endless astonishment. Voices grow shrill, parties form and adopt names or are tagged with them in derision and contempt. Again and again comes the shock of broken friendships, broken families. As time goes on, "betraying the cause" is an incessant charge, and there are indeed turncoats. Authorities are bewildered, heads of institutions try threats and concessions by turns, hoping the surge of subversion will collapse like previous ones.
But none of this holds back that transfer of power and property which is the mark of revolution and which in the end establishes the Idea.
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The fact that this evocation describes many revolutionary periods besides Luther's is of course part of Mr. Barzun's point. It is one of his tasks in From Dawn to Decadence to remind readers of "the persistence of meanings within altered expressions of life's mysteries. At the same time, Mr. Barzun is right that "likeness is not sameness. In history everything wears its own dress and raises images peculiar to itself.
It is a further testimony to Mr. Barzun's nimbleness that he reserves a place for the action of whim and unpredictability in human affairs. Movements in art or thought, he observes, gain influence at the cost of variety: "Victory brings on imitation and ultimately Boredom," surely one of the most underrated catalysts of historical change.
It is part of an historian's task to discern continuities in what had hitherto appeared random; it is also part of his task to recognize the limits of those continuities.
Such phrases are probably indispensable; they are also, Mr. Barzun observes, "always a misnomer, except perhaps 'An Age of Troubles,' which fits every age in varying degrees. Barzun employs several devices to impart texture and complexity to his narrative. He punctuates his text with parenthetical page references that point the reader to a later or earlier section of the book where the theme under discussion is continued or anticipated.
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These more or less free-standing essays allow him to summarize, recap, digress: "to survey events and ideas of mixed kinds as they might be noted or heard about by an alert observer at a given time and place. Barzun also includes a kind of running bibliography. Many of his discussions conclude with a parenthetical recommendation: "The book to browse in is ," "The essay to read is " Many of these recommendations have what might be described as a vintage flavor.
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They tend to be classics — personal favorites, one suspects — rather than the latest scholarship. If this procedure occasionally imparts a kind of period feel to the discussion, it also deepens the book's humanity. What Mr. Barzun offers is less a trip through the literature than the refraction of history through a particular, highly cultivated sensibility.
Discussing the vicissitudes of travel in the sixteenth century, for example, he points readers not to the latest university press production but confidently says that "the travel book to read is Montaigne's Diary of Barzun is a master of digression. One sign of his mastery is his knack of making digression serve the progression of his larger argument. Several times in the course of his discussion he will pause to offer readers a digression on a particular word — on " esprit ," for example, or "romantic," or "man.
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Although plenty interesting in themselves, these linguistic detours also serve his larger purpose. From Dawn to Decadence also offers readers a veritable commonplace book with a running series of what Mr. Barzun calls "add-ins," brief quotations from disparate sources in bold type and set apart from the text. Like the chorus in a Greek play, these quotations reflect on the main action; some are drawn from the authors being discussed, others form an ironical commentary.
Discussing the classical sources of Renaissance humanism, he includes this "add-in" from Dean Briggs of Harvard College circa "The new degree of Bachelor of Science does not guarantee that the holder knows any science. It does guarantee that he does not know any Latin. Barzun's quotations are merely amusing: Tycoon : "I need a man who can say 'No' when I talk nonsense. Are you that man?
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And yet others are gems from the cabinet of world-weary cynicism: "Art is what you can get away with" Andy Warhol, History is the product of individual initiative aided or stymied by chance. Barzun observes, it is "concrete and particular, not general and abstract.
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