This list of books relates to the PHILIA theme


David Abram 
The Spell of the Sensuous (Random House,1997)

David Abram says, We have lived 98% of our evolutionary existence as hunter-gatherers carrying on an animistic conversation with every flapping form. This is what we are made of!"

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The Clock of the Long Now CoverStewart Brand 
The Clock of the Long Now (Basic Books, 1999)

"Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span. The trend might be coming from the acceleration of technology, the short-horizon perspective of market-driven economics, the next-election perspective of democracies, or the distractions of personal multi-tasking. All are on the increase. Some sort of balancing corrective to this short-sightedness is needed—some mechanism or myth that encourages the long view and the taking of long-term responsibility, where "the long term" is measured at least in centuries." 
From The Clock of the Long Now

Common Fire CoverLaurent A. Parks Daloz, Cheryl H. Keen, 
James P. Keen, and Sharon Daloz Parks

Common Fire - Lives of Commitment in a Complex World
Beacon Press, Oct. 1997)

As society becomes ever more global and fragmented, 
the need for citizens who are able and willing to deal with complex issues and diverse communities grows ever greater. But how do people acquire such commitments 
and skills? And how can we nurture those qualities in the next generation?

The Mismeasure of Man CoverStephen Jay Gould 
The Mismeasure of Man
(W. W. Norton & Company, August 1993)

When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits.


The Rights RevolutionMichael Ignatieff 
The Rights Revolution
(The House of Anansi Press, September 2001)

In this book Michael Ignatieff says, “...rights are not abstractions. They are the very heart of our community and the very core of our values. We have them because those who went before us fought for them, and in some cases died for them. Our commitment to rights is a commitment to our ancestors. We owe it to them to maintain the vitality of the right to dissent, the right to belong, and the right to be different.”

The Needs of Strangers CoverThe Needs of Strangers (Viking Press, June 1985)

Once again in print, this thought-provoking book uncovers a crisis in the political imagination, a wide-spread failure to provide a profound sense of community "in which our need of belonging can be met." Seeking the answers to fundamental questions, Michael Ignatieff writes vividly both about ideas and about people who tried to live by them-from Augustine to Bosch, Rousseau to Simone Weil. Incisive and moving, The Needs of Strangers returns philosophy to its proper place, as a guide to the art of being human.

More about Michael Ignatieff

The Careless SocietyJohn McKnight 
The Careless Society (Basic Books, 1995)

The 17 essays in the book were written over a span of two decades. They focus on four "counterfeiting" aspects of society: professionalism, medicine, human service systems, and the criminal justice system. Each is deemed counterfeit because it attempts to produce, provide, and manage care, which is "the only thing a system cannot produce," says McKnight. He follows these analysis with his own prescription for generating "authentic citizen communities of care." - John McKnight

More about John McKnight

Bowling AloneRobert Putnam 
Bowling Alone (Simon & Schuster, 1995)

Drawing on two huge sets of new data detailing how Americans really live, Robert Putnam shows how we've become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and the democratic process - and suggests how we may reconnect and reinvent common enterprise in-BOWLING ALONE: The Collapse and Revival of American Community - Robert Putnam


Neil Postman 
TechnopolyTechnopoly (Vintage Books, 1993)
From a renowned social critic, an intriguing look at how high technology is changing our society and culture, and what this means for our future. Postman suggests ways in which a true democracy can use its technical skills not to control but to enhance human endeavor and preserve freedom and individuality.


John Ralston Saul 
On EquilibriumOn Equilibrium (Viking Canada, 2001)
On Equilibrium presents us with a virtual ‘how to’ 
of the ways ideas can translate to action. Saul explains 
how our different qualities give us the intelligence, self confidence and ability to think and act as responsible individuals.


The Ethical Canary CoverMargaret Somerville 
The Ethical Canary (Viking Canada, 2000)

According to Margaret Somerville, a leading international authority on medicine, ethics, and the law, society must set ethically acceptable limits on scientific advances. In this controversial, timely, and much-anticipated book, Professor Somerville sheds light on the urgent ethical and legal questions that vie for our attention.

Janice Gross Stein 
The Cult of Efficiency (House of Anansi Press, 2001)

Efficiency in the raging debate about public goods is often used as a code word to advance political agendas. Stein argues that what will define the quality of education and healthcare around the world is whether citizens and governments can negotiate new standards of accountability

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Becoming Human CoverJean Vanier 
Becoming Human (House of Anansi Press, 2001)

In this provocative work, Jean Vanier shares his profoundly human vision for creating a common good that radically changes our communities, our relationships, and ourselves. He proposes that by opening ourselves to outsiders, those we perceive as weak, different, or inferior, we can achieve true personal and societal freedom.

More about Jean Vanier



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