Cover image for Life's philosophy : reason & feeling in a deeper world
Life's philosophy : reason & feeling in a deeper world
Næss, Arne.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Livsfilosofi. English
Publication Information:
Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxxi, 180 pages ; 22 cm
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BJ1588.N6 N4713 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Now available in English for the first time, Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess's meditation on the art of living is an exhortation to preserve the environment and biodiversity. As Naess approaches his ninetieth year, he offers a bright and bold perspective on the power of feelings to move us away from ecological and cultural degradation toward sound, future-focused policy and action.

Naess acknowledges the powerlessness of the intellect without the heart, and, like Thoreau before him, he rejects the Cartesian notion of mind-body separation. He advocates instead for the integration of reason and emotion--a combination Naess believes will inspire us to make changes for the better. Playful and serious, this is a guidebook for finding our way on a planet wrecked by the harmful effects of consumption, population growth, commodification, technology, and globalization. It is sure to mobilize today's philosophers, environmentalists, policy makers, and the general public into seeking--with whole hearts rather than with superficial motives--more effective and timelier solutions.

Naess's style is reflective and anecdotal as he shares stories and details from his rich and long life. With characteristic goodwill, wit, and wisdom, he denounces our unsustainable actions while simultaneously demonstrating the unsurpassed wonder, beauty, and possibility our world offers, and ultimately shows us that there is always reason for hope, that everyone is a potential ally in our fight for the future.

Author Notes

Arne Naess is a widely published and celebrated Norwegian philosopher whose long career spans two main periods: most recently his work launching the Deep Ecology Movement and, prior to that, his thirty years as the University of Oslo's chair in philosophy

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Naess (Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle) reflects here on themes and ideas he considers most important for a meaningful life, based on years of philosophical inquiry. In his earlier years, he had been a proper "card-carrying" philosopher as a professor at Oslo University. In that role he wrote about many of the traditional philosophical questions in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Then, in middle age, and after retiring from teaching, he became a founding member of the Deep Ecology Movement, dedicating himself to ecological issues and activities. In his latest book, he argues passionately throughout for cultivating the positive, life-affirming feelings over the negative. Basing his thinking on ideas found in Spinoza, he is convinced that there is no such thing as "pure reason," that feelings do and should play a decisive role in human choice and action. The question of the relation of reason and feeling is a traditional philosophical one (here one thinks of David Hume and his "fact/value," "is/ought" distinction), and Naess states at the outset that he cannot solve the problem definitively, that he can only suggest new ways of understanding "how reason and feeling belong to each other." Because the narrative is primarily reflective and anecdotal, this would be an optional purchase for academic collections but a good choice for public libraries. Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Bill McKibbenArne NaessHarold Glasser
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xiii
1 Life Seen as an Open Landscapep. 1
2 How Do You Feel Yourself and the World?p. 20
3 On Imagination, Research--and Petty Rationalityp. 51
4 Reason and Feeling Are Interactivep. 74
5 A Feeling for All Living Beingsp. 92
6 How Does Our Emotional Life Mature?p. 117
7 You Can Learn Properly Only What Engages Your Feelingsp. 139
8 The Art of Living: To Do Little Things in a Big Wayp. 160