A Robert Spaemann Reader: Philosophical Essays on Nature, God, and the Human Person

ISBN : 9780199688050

D. C. Schindler
256 Pages
164 x 241 mm
Pub date
Sep 2015
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The German philosopher Robert Spaemann is one of the most important living thinkers in Europe today. This volume presents a selection of essays that span his career, from his first published academic essay on the origin of sociology (1953) to his more recent work in anthropology and the philosophy of religion. Spaemann is best known for his work on topical questions in ethics, politics, and education, but the light he casts on these questions derives from his more fundamental studies in metaphysics, the philosophy of nature, anthropology, and the philosophy of religion. At the core of the essays contained in this book is the concept of nature and the notion of the human person. Both are best understood, according to Spaemann, in light of the metaphysics and anthropology found in the classical and Christian tradition, which provides an account of the intelligibility and integrity of things and beings in the world that safeguards their value against the modern threat of reductionism and fragmentation. A Robert Spaemann Reader shows that Spaemann's profound intellectual formation in this tradition yields penetrating insights into a wide range of subjects, including God, education, art, human action, freedom, evolution, politics, and human dignity.


1. A Philosophical Autobiography (1983)
2. Nature (1973)
3. The Traditionalist Error: On the Sociologization of the Idea of God in the 19th Century (1953)
4. Bourgeois Ethics and Non-Teleological Ontology (1963)
5. From the Polis to Nature: The Controversy Surrounding Rousseau's First Discourse (1973)
6. In Defense of Anthropomorphism (2008)
7. On Human Dignity (1985)
8. Education as an Introduction to Reality: A Speech Commemorating the Anniversary of a Children's Home (1988)
9. What Does It Mean to be Cultured? (1995)
10. Natural Existence and Political Existence in Rousseau (1965)
11. Individual Actions (2000)
12. Being and Coming to Be: What Does the Theory of Evolution Explain? (1984)
13. The Meaning of the 'Sum' in the 'Cogito Sum' (1987)
14. The Undying Rumor: The God Question and the Modern Delusion (2007)
15. What Does It Mean to Say that 'Art Imitates Nature'? (2007)
16. The End of Modernity? (1986)

About the author: 

Robert Spaemann (b. 1923) is one of the leading Catholic philosophers in Europe today. He is professor emeritus at the University of Munich, and was also professor at the Technische Hochschule of Stuttgart and at the University of Heidelberg. Professor Spaemann has taught at various institutions around the world, and has received honorary doctorates from universities in Switzerland, America, Chile, and Spain. He is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Papal Academy for Life, as well as an honorary member of the Chinese Academy of the Sciences. Professor Spaemann is the author of over a dozen books including Basic Moral Concepts and Persons: The Distinction between 'Someone' and 'Something' and hundreds of essays, which have been translated into many languages. In 2001, he was awarded Heidelberg's Karl Jaspers Prize.; D.C. Schindler is an Associate Professor of Metaphysics and Anthropology at the John Paul II Institute at The Catholic University of America. Prior to this appointment, he was an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Humanities Department at Villanova University. His publications include The Catholicity of Reason (Eerdmans, 2013), and he has translated books and articles from German, French, and Italian. Professor Schindler is one of the editors of the North American edition of Communio: International Catholic Review.; Jeanne Heffernan Schindler is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Cultural and Pastoral Research at the John Paul II Institute in Washington DC. Professor Schindler was formerly an Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Humanities Department at Villanova University. She has published numerous articles and book chapters in the fields of political theory, ethics, law, and Catholic Social Thought. She edited a volume on Christianity and Civil Society: Catholic and Neo-Calvinist Perspectives, published by Lexington Books in 2008.

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