There are many answers to the question of why life is worth living, but they all presuppose that good lives are sensuously enjoyable. Time seems to stand still in the moment when we enjoy food and drink, peaceful, laughing relationships with friends, or lay quietly, allowing the beauty of nature and human creations to unfold before us. Embodied Humanism: Toward Solidarity and Sensuous Enjoyment explores ways that enjoyment is also political. The history of political struggle is a history of fighting back against silencing, hunger, and violent domination, but also fighting for social peace, need-satisfaction, voice, and democratic power. Tracing the values of embodied humanism across history and across cultures and identities, the book finds a more comprehensive universal humanist ethic around which old and emerging struggles can be unified. Ultimately, Jeff Noonan argues, these struggles can be directed towards creating institutional structure and individual dispositions that will secure the social conditions in which our capacities for receptive openness and delight are satisfied for each and all.
Jeff Noonan is professor of philosophy at the University of Windsor.
Introduction: Humanity, Struggle, and the Sensuous Enjoyment of Life
Chapter 1: Why Posthumanism?
Chapter 2: Life Under the Sun: Ancient Poetic and Philosophical Insights
into the Goods of Earthly Life
Chapter 3: The Renaissance and Humanity’s Place in the Order of Things
Chapter 4: The Enlightenment and the Deployment of Reason as a Critical Weapon
Chapter 5: The Social Conditions for the Universal Enjoyment of Life
Chapter 6: Responsibility and the Pleasures of Social Individuals
About the Author
In this masterful book, Jeff Noonan shows how an embodied humanism, founded on universal life-values emanating from human needs enables a solidarity for both the oppressed and the planet, capable of promoting the life range of humanity as a whole. Building on a vast range of scholarship, he argues meticulously and persuasively that the sensuous enjoyment of life avoids the pitfalls of egoistic hedonism because of the dynamic relationship between the self-determining, social individual and reality. Noonan demonstrates how a renewed humanism that recognizes the body as the source of all experience can provide answers to some of the central issues of our time. For the courage and intellectual mastery realized in its pages, this book deserves to be read and studied carefully by all those interested in a philosophical outlook that provides hope for our world.
In his characteristically clear, conversant and captivating style, Professor Noonan adds a deep- and far-reaching new chapter to his theoretically well-established and academically well-known materialist, democratic, life-asserting philosophical ethics. By so doing, Professor Noonan offers his readers yet another praiseworthy opportunity for engaging with, and reflecting upon, that ground-breaking life-value onto-axiology which he has been so instrumental in developing over the past twenty-five years, i.e., since its inception by the late Professor John McMurtry, to whom this book is dedicated. Intriguingly, while heaping epistemic, socio-historical and moral doubts on the otherworldly myths and aspirations of humankind, who suffered so much and so often because of totems and taboos, Noonan’s main argument captures one of the essential elements of the Christian prayer par excellence, which recites: “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Without meeting people’s truly vital needs for meaningful survival, effective self-direction, collaborative sociality and peaceful growth, and chasing instead the fetishes of competitive self-affirmation and greed, no real lasting human good will ever be realised in a concrete and comprehensive way here on Earth.