Analyzing the concept of the spiritual in the work of Presocratics through to a variety of twentieth-century philosophical perspectives
The Concept of the Spiritual
An Essay in First Philosophy
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Steven G. Smith
The words "spirit" and "spiritual" represent what we feel to be most important in our lives, the most singular and commanding element in the human enterprise, the part most worth identifying with. In the English-speaking world, however, a long philosophical tradition of thinking about "spirit" has virtually lapsed, resulting in perplexities about values, morality, rationality, personhoodeverything that gives us our basic orientation in life. Steven G. Smith traces The Concept of the Spiritual in the work of Presocratics through to a variety of twentieth-century philosophical perspectives. In analyzing the concept, he develops its implications into a "first philosophy," that is, a set of basic considerations that condition all thought and practice.
"This book is of very high quality: the author can write and write well. He has style and can turn a phrase in a way that gives the reader pleasure. He is not afraid to be critical of great names nor to propose difficult positions. He argues his ideas rather than merely asserts them, and has an admirable command of the history of philosophy.... The book is compelling and illuminating."
Steven G. Smith is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Millsaps College.