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The Genesis of Values

Public and intellectual debates have long struggled with the concept of values and the difficulties of defining them. With The Genesis of Values, renowned theorist Hans Joas explores the nature of these difficulties in relation to some of the leading figures of twentieth-century philosophy and social theory: Friedrich Nietzsche, William James, Max Scheler, John Dewey, Georg Simmel, Charles Taylor, and Jürgen Habermas. Joas traces how these thinkers came to terms with the idea of values, and then extends beyond them with his own comprehensive theory. Values, Joas suggests, arise in experiences in self-formation and self-transcendence. Only by appreciating the creative nature of human action can we understand how our values arise.

Table of Contents

Formulating the Question
The Genesis of Values as Genealogy of Morality? (Friedrich Nietzsche)
The Varieties of Religious Experience (William James)
Collective Ecstasy (Émile Durkheim)
The Immanence of Transcendence (Georg Simmel)
The Value-Feeling and its Object (Max Scheler)
Shattering Intersubjectivity (John Dewey)
Identity and the Good (Charles Taylor)
The Concept of Self and its Postmodern Challenge
Values and Norms: The Good and the Right

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