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Philosophy faculty examine contemporary life in new books

By Amelia Schoeneman '12
December 1, 2010

The St. Olaf Philosophy Department is keeping inquiry into the nature of contemporary life alive in two recently published books by faculty members Gordon Marino and Charles Taliaferro.

Marino brings together the writings of famed philosophers like Plato, Kant, and even Peter Singer in Ethics: The Essential Writings. His compilation prompts the reader to reflect on the most provocative contemporary ethical concerns, such as gender issues and our environmental responsibilities, along with classic moral contemplations on justice. Marino’s work examines difficult questions like “What is the basis for our ethical views and judgments?”

Taliaferro, along with his wife and co-author Jil Evans, takes an in-depth look into how theism and naturalism frame worldviews in The Image in Mind: Theism, Naturalism and the Imagination. “This book argues that worldviews are answerable to aesthetic criteria,” notes University of Exeter Philosophy Professor Mark Wynn in his review of the book. “It makes a telling case for a world view in which . . . aesthetic values are at the bedrock of reality.”

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or