WorldCat Identities

Kekes, John

Works: 34 works in 291 publications in 4 languages and 13,949 library holdings
Genres: Introductions 
Roles: Author, Editor
Classifications: BJ1012, 170
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by John Kekes
The nature of philosophy by John Kekes( Book )

15 editions published in 1980 in English and Undetermined and held by 757 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The morality of pluralism by John Kekes( Book )

26 editions published between 1993 and 2010 in English and Spanish and held by 728 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Current controversies about abortion, the environment, pornography, AIDS, capital punishment, and similar issues naturally lead to the question of whether there are any values that can be ultimately justified, or whether values are simply conventional. John Kekes argues that the present moral and political uncertainties are due to a deep change in our society from a dogmatic to a pluralistic view of values. Dogmatism is committed to there being only one justifiable system of values. Pluralism recognizes many such systems, and yet it avoids a chaotic relativism according to which all values are in the end arbitrary. Maintaining that good lives must be reasonable, but denying that they must conform to one true pattern, Kekes develops and justifies a pluralistic account of good lives and values, and works out its political, moral, and personal implications. The author defines values as possibilities whose realization would make lives good. He recognizes that their realization is difficult, especially since it involves choices among many, often conflicting, values. He argues, however, that living a good life requires a resolution of these conflicts, although reasonable resolutions are themselves plural in nature. His central claim is that pluralism is both reasonable and a preferable alternative to dogmatism and relativism
Against liberalism by John Kekes( Book )

22 editions published between 1997 and 2008 in 3 languages and held by 713 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Kekes argues further that the liberal conceptions of equality, justice, and pluralism require treating good and evil people with equal respect, distributing resources without regard to what recipients deserve, and restricting choices to those that conform to liberal preconceptions. All these policies are detrimental to good lives. Kekes concludes that liberalism cannot cope with the prevalence of evil, that it is vitiated by inconsistent commitments, and that - contrary to its aim - liberalism is an obstacle to good lives
The examined life by John Kekes( Book )

9 editions published between 1988 and 1997 in English and held by 620 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The art of life by John Kekes( Book )

12 editions published between 2002 and 2005 in English and held by 605 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A case for conservatism by John Kekes( Book )

16 editions published between 1998 and 2003 in English and Chinese and held by 558 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In his recent book Against Liberalism, philosopher John Kekes argued that liberalism as a political system is doomed to failure by its internal inconsistencies. In this companion volume, he makes a powerful case for conservatism as the best alternative. His is the first systematic description and defense of the basic assumptions underlying conservative thought
The roots of evil by John Kekes( Book )

21 editions published between 2005 and 2014 in 3 languages and held by 558 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

“Evil is the most serious of our moral problems. All over the world cruelty, greed, prejudice, and fanaticism ruin the lives of countless victims. Outrage provokes outrage. Millions nurture seething hatred of real or imagined enemies, revealing savage and destructive tendencies in human nature. Understanding this challenges our optimistic illusions about the effectiveness of reason and morality in bettering human lives. But abandoning these illusions is vitally important because they are obstacles to countering the threat of evil. The aim of this book is to explain why people act in these ways and what can be done about it.”—John Kekes The first part of this book is a detailed discussion of six horrible cases of evil: the Albigensian Crusade of about 1210; Robespierre's Terror of 1793–94; Franz Stangl, who commanded a Nazi death camp in 1943–44; the 1969 murders committed by Charles Manson and his "family"; the "dirty war" conducted by the Argentinean military dictatorship of the late 1970s; and the activities of a psychopath named John Allen, who recorded reminiscences in 1975. John Kekes includes these examples not out of sensationalism, but rather to underline the need to hold vividly in our minds just what evil is. The second part shows why, in Kekes's view, explanations of evil inspired by Christianity and the Enlightenment fail to account for these cases and then provides an original explanation of evil in general and of these instances of it in particular
Facing evil by John Kekes( Book )

10 editions published between 1990 and 1991 in English and Undetermined and held by 542 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Moral wisdom and good lives by John Kekes( Book )

9 editions published between 1995 and 1997 in English and held by 529 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In chapters on moral imagination, self-knowledge, and moral depth, Kekes calls attention to aspects of our inner life that have been neglected because of our cultural inattention to moral wisdom. In discussing these inner processes, he draws on the tragedies of Sophocles, which can inspire us with their enduring moral significance and help us to understand the importance of moral wisdom to living a good life
Moral tradition and individuality by John Kekes( Book )

15 editions published between 1989 and 1991 in English and held by 492 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A justification of rationality by John Kekes( Book )

12 editions published in 1976 in 3 languages and held by 435 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The illusions of egalitarianism by John Kekes( Book )

13 editions published between 2003 and 2007 in English and held by 435 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Pluralism in philosophy : changing the subject by John Kekes( Book )

9 editions published between 2000 and 2001 in English and held by 401 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"This book aims to change how we think about good lives. The perennial debates about good lives - the disagreements caused by conflicts among scientific, religious, moral, historical, aesthetic, and subjective modes of reflection - typically end in an impasse. This leaves the underlying problems of the meaning of life, the possibility of free action, the place of morality in good lives, the art of life, and human self-understanding as intractable as they have ever been." "The way out of this impasse, argues Kekes, is to abandon the assumption shared by the contending parties that the solutions of these problems can be rational only if they apply universally to all lives in all contexts. He believes that solutions may vary with lives and contexts and still be rational. Kekes defends a pluralistic alternative to absolutism and relativism that will, he holds, take philosophy in a new and more productive direction."--Jacket
The enlargement of life : moral imagination at work by John Kekes( Book )

9 editions published between 2006 and 2010 in English and held by 370 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Each of the 11 chapters focuses on a novel, play or autobiography that exemplifies the protagonists's reflective self-evaluation. Kekes shows how the enduring significance of these protagonist successes or failures and how we might apply what they teach to our very different characters and circumstances
Enjoyment : the moral significance of styles of life by John Kekes( Book )

21 editions published between 2008 and 2010 in English and Undetermined and held by 355 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"The central thesis of John Kekes's book is that enjoyment is indispensable to a good life. The key to it is the development of a style of life that combines an attitude and a manner of living and acting that jointly express one's deepest concerns. Since such styles vary with characters and circumstances, a reasonable understanding of them requires attending to the particular and concrete details of individual lives. Reflection on works of literature is a better guide to this kind of understanding than the futile search for general theories and principles that preoccupies much of contemporary moral thought." "Enjoyment proceeds by the detailed examination of particular cases, shows how this kind of reflection can be reasonably conducted, and how the quest for universality and impartiality is misguided in this context. Central to the argument is a practical, particular, pluralistic, and yet objective conception of reason that rejects the pervasive contemporary tendency to regard reasons as good only if they are binding on all who aspire to live reasonably and morally. Reason in morality is neither theoretical nor general. Reasons for living and acting in particular ways are individually variable and none the worse for that."--Jacket
The human condition by John Kekes( Book )

18 editions published between 2010 and 2013 in English and held by 343 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

John Kekes offers a response to the growing disenchantment in the Western world with contemporary life. He defends a realistic view of the human condition that rejects both facile optimism & gloomy pessimism. While acknowledging that the scheme of things is indifferent to our fortunes, he shows that we do have the resources to improve our lives
How should we live? : a practical approach to everyday morality by John Kekes( Book )

6 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 287 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The nature of philosophical problems : their causes and implications by John Kekes( Book )

14 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 189 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

John Kekes proposes a new way of understanding the nature of philosophical problems, and defends a pluralist approach towards coping with them. He argues that the recurrence of such problems is not a defect, but a consequence of the richness of our modes of understanding that enlarges the range of possibilities by which we might choose to live
The art of politics : the new betrayal of America and how to resist it by John Kekes( Book )

3 editions published in 2008 in English and held by 143 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Americans enjoy the most benevolent political system that has ever emerged in the course of human history. Unprecedented prosperity, health, liberty, and stability give rise to the envy of the rest of the world. However these privileges cannot defend themselves. The Art of Politics necessitates that we balance the conflicting claims of these and other political goods in the midst of ever-changing circumstances and external and internal threats. Reason, pluralism, necessary limits, liberty, toleration, justice, the right to private property, democracy, authority, and civility are the goods. The enemies are the ideologues who scorn this system because it falls short of a never-realized theoretical ideal they have borrowed from their European brethren. This effort by the ideologues to change our systems radically is ultimately the betrayal of American politics, and one of the most serious threats we face. This book tells us how to defend ourselves against these threats and how to practice this most valuable art, the Art of Politics."--Jacket
Human predicaments : and what to do about them by John Kekes( Book )

5 editions published between 2016 and 2017 in English and held by 120 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Here, John Kekes draws on anthropology, history, and literature in order to help us cope with the common predicaments that plague us as we try to take control of our lives. In each chapter he offers fascinating new ways of thinking about a particular problem that is fundamental to how we live, such as facing difficult choices, uncontrollable contingencies, complex evaluations, the failures of justice, the miasma of boredom, and the inescapable hypocrisies of social life
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Audience level: 0.38 (from 0.06 for A justific ... to 0.59 for The nature ...)

Moral wisdom and good lives
Alternative Names
John Kekes American philosopher

John Kekes philosophe américain


Kékes, János

English (245)

Chinese (7)

Spanish (6)

French (1)

Against liberalismThe examined lifeThe art of lifeA case for conservatismThe roots of evilFacing evilMoral wisdom and good livesMoral tradition and individuality