Man's Freedom

Man's Freedom

Man's Freedom

Man's Freedom

Excerpt

The present work was preceded by Nature and Man. That work acknowledged nature to be at once vibrant and structured, variegated and ordered, a matrix of continuities and discontinuities, of the free and the necessary, of the unpredictable and the steady, of the good and the bad, a home for man no less than for thing and beast. It focused primarily on the main modes in which an all-pervasive freedom was expressed in divergent, independent ways by the different types of things that make up nature. Freedom was there shown to be ingredient in every causal transaction, to have an inexpugnable place in the fall of a stone, the spring of a cat, the reasoning of man, in history as well as in language, logic, and art. Each was seen to have its own mode of freedom, proof both of its own distinctiveness and of the comprehensive unity of nature. Man stood out as a crucial event in the history of evolution and the history of freedom, the apogee of nature, with traits, powers, promises, a career, and opportunities different from those of other beings.

Man's Freedom, though building on the foundations of Nature and Man, is self-contained, capable of being read without reference to the other. Its primary objective is to make evident how man through a series of free efforts can become more complete and thereby more human. Together with Nature and Man it formulates a "naturalism," or better an "epochalism," emphasizing the observation that all events and beings have crises points at which, in unexpected ways, they change in pace, direction, and sometimes in nature. Together the books attempt to provide a single study of a world which has room both for the simplest of meaningless acts and for the radical transformative decisions of a creative will, for the rights of things and animals as well as of man, private, political, and social.

The ideals of this book are for me best exemplified by Dr. Richard Sewall and Dr. Wallace Fowlie. I am grateful for their friendship. I wish to thank Mr. Harry Berger, Dr. Robert Calhoun, Mr. Eugene Davidson, and Miss Denise Hoesli for many . . .

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