David L. Bender, ed. Constructing a Life Philosophy: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1993. 193 pp. (paper), ISBN 978-0-89908-354-4; $11.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-89908-379-7.
Reviewed by Mark Ray Schmidt (University of Arkansas at Monticello)
Published on H-PCAACA (October, 1997)
In spite of all our talk about diversity and understanding others, I find my students are extremely limited in their understanding of how others think. Teachers and textbooks have convinced today's students that diversity and understanding are extremely important, yet few are making steps to reach that goal.
David Bender's book, Constructing a Life Philosophy, is an excellent resource for college students who need an introduction to the diversity of cultures, religions, and philosophies in our world. I have often used this book as a reader in freshman English courses. This is not an introduction to philosophy. It is an introductory text into human diversity. Bender introduces the reader to the range of ways people look at themselves, at the divine, at morals, and at the world at large. Here are some of the perspectives given in the book: Judaism, Hinduism, Humanism, Buddhism, liberal Christianity, conservative Christianity, eco-feminism, native-American spirituality, atheistic evolution, and theistic evolution.
This 260-page book has articles by 34 authors. Because this book is not a history of human thought, most of the authors are contemporary. Any book of this type will have limitations. The selection by Billy Graham is very dated, probably spoken around 1960, and it it certainly not the best expression of his beliefs. The Islamic faith and culture is totally ignored. However, the book's editor is fair to all perspectives. The selections are accessible and good representations. Each article is introduced by the editor. Bibliographic information for further reading is given throughout the book.
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Mark Ray Schmidt. Review of Bender, David L., ed., Constructing a Life Philosophy: Opposing Viewpoints.
H-PCAACA, H-Net Reviews.
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