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What is a Person?

What is a Person?
Realities, Constructs, Illusions

$39.99 (G)

  • Publication planned for: March 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from March 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108478076

$ 39.99 (G)
Hardback

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  • In this book, John Rist offers an account of the concept of “person” as it has developed in the West, and how it has become alien in a post-Christian culture. He begins by identifying the 'Mainline Tradition' about persons as it evolved from the time of Plato to the High Middle Ages, then turns to successive attacks on it in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, then proceeds to the 'Five Ways' in which the Tradition was savaged or distorted in the nineteenth century and beyond.  He concludes by considering whether ideas from contemporary philosophical movements, those that combine a closer analysis of human nature with a more traditional metaphysical background may enable the Tradition to be restored. A timely book on a theme of universal significance, Rist ponders whether we persons matter, and how we have reached a position where we are not sure whether we do.

    • Offers an account of the concept of “person” as it has developed in the West, and how it has become alien in a post-Christian culture
    • Considers whether we have rights as persons, whether we 'matter', and how we have reached a position where we are not sure whether we do
    • The Appendix provides an additional space to explore contemporary claims about human rights
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: March 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108478076
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from March 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Part I: Constructing the 'Mainline Tradition'
    1. The First Foundations: Plato and Aristotle
    2. From Stoic Individuals and Personae to Christian Persons
    3. Mixtures: Plotinus, Porphyry, Nemesius
    4. Augustine's Personae: Theology, Metaphysics, History
    5. The Definition: Boethius and Richard of Saint Victor
    6. Toward a Synthesis: Thomas Aquinas
    7. Between Two Worlds: Duns Scotus
    Part II: No God, no Soul
    What Person?
    8. Virtue, 'Virtue', Rights
    9. Descartes on Soul, Self, Mind, Nature
    10. Personal Identity from Hobbes to Locke
    11. After Locke
    12. Sympathy or Empathy: Richardson, Hume, Smith
    13. Ambiguous Rousseau's Soul and 'Moi' 
    14. Kant's Rational Autonomy
    Part III: Toward Disabling the Person
    15. Introducing the Five Ways
    16. Assimilation and Homogenization
    17. The Way of Prometheus
    18. Whistling in the Humanitarian Wind
    19. Virtual Morality: Propaganda as Social Glue
    20. The Way to an Absolute Nihilism
    Part IV: Persons Restored or Final Solution?
    21. Parfit and Heidegger
    22. Strawson and Nagel
    23. Personalism, Phenomenology, Edith Stein
    24. God Made Adam and Eve.

  • Author

    John M. Rist, University of Toronto
    John Rist is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Toronto. Author of more than a dozen books and over a hundred articles on ancient philosophy, patristics, and ethics,  he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Aquinas Medalist of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

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