Rethinking Charity in Modernity
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- Author: Ryan Patrick Hanley, Marquette University, Wisconsin
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A number of prominent moral philosophers and political theorists have recently called for a recovery of love. But what do we mean when we speak of love today? Love's Enlightenment examines four key conceptions of other-directedness that transformed the meaning of love and helped to shape the way we understand love today: Hume's theory of humanity, Rousseau's theory of pity, Smith's theory of sympathy, and Kant's theory of love. It argues that these four Enlightenment theories are united by a shared effort to develop a moral psychology that can provide both justificatory and motivational grounds for concern for others in the absence of recourse to theological or transcendental categories. In this sense, each theory represents an effort to redefine the love of others that used to be known as caritas or agape - a redefinition that came with benefits and costs that have yet to be fully appreciated.Read more
- Written in a clear, jargon-free style, accessible to a wide and multidisciplinary audience
- Surveys a core concept in the moral and political thought of four of the most prominent thinkers in the history of Western philosophy, which will be of substantive interest to specialists who focus specifically on Hume, Adam Smith, Rousseau and Kant, as well as to moral and political theorists more generally
- Provides a nuanced overview of the way in which the concept of love was transformed in the Enlightenment, which will interest those engaged in contemporary debates over both the nature of love and the meaning and significance of the Enlightenment
Reviews & endorsements
'Hanley’s in-depth analysis of ancient and early modern conceptions of love adds significantly to the literature on the ethical and political dimensions of love and scholarship regarding the role that other-directed capacities such as empathy, sympathy, and charity could play in tempering the egocentricism that characterizes political, economic, and social relations.' ChoiceSee more reviews
'Ryan Patrick Hanley's book offers a carefully researched, interesting, and original survey of how four Enlightenment philosophers transformed the traditional Christian ideal of what is variously called agape, caritas, or neighborly love.' Deborah Boyle, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
'This is a well argued, analytically incisive, informative and important book.' Rebecca Kingston, The Review of Politics
'Love’s Enlightenment remains a searching and rewarding study of how returning to some of the eighteenth-century’s finest philosophers can enrichen our theorizing of other-directed sentiments today.' Robin Douglass, Journal of the History of Philosophy
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- Date Published: March 2017
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781316984147
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
2. Hume on humanity
3. Rousseau on pity
4. Smith on sympathy
5. Kant on love.
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