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Living Without God SE

January 21, 2009
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Redford Township District Library
25320 West 6 Mile Road
Redford, MI United States

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Organized by:
Jennifer Beahan
Phone: 616-698-2342 x801
Email: jbeahan@centerforinquiry.org


Please join us as Ronald Aronson presents his new book, Living without God. In Living without God, Aronson picks up where the writers—Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens—he named “The New Atheists” (in Bookforum) leave off, turning to face the need for a coherent and contemporary secular philosophy that will answer life’s vital questions. As Aronson argues, living without God means turning toward something. Grounded in the sense that we are dependent and interconnected beings, rooted in nature, history and society, Living without God explores contemporary answers to Immanuel Kant’s three great questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? What can I hope? Aronson stresses how much knowledge humans have accumulated, verified, confirmed, and implemented: dozens, hundreds, thousands of things that are vital for human understanding and well-being. Today so much that was once cloaked in darkness is known, and so much that is really essential to our lives is knowable. We have developed methods of analysis, synthesis, and reasoning that can be taught and learned. All of this is now part of what John Dewey called the “social consciousness of the race” and it belongs to all of us, waiting to be claimed and used. We sell ourselves short to pretend otherwise.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and a signing by the author will follow the talk.

Join us afterwards at Cinco de Mayo for discussion and fellowship: 25413 Five Mile, Redford, MI (View Map).

About Ronald Aronson, PhD

Distinquished Professor of the History of Ideas, Wayne State University

Ronald Aronson grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wayne State University, U.C.L.A., the University of Michigan, and Brandeis University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas. He studied with William Barrett, Page Smith, and Herbert Marcuse. Swept up in the political activism of the1960s, he became a community organizer in the African American neighborhood of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and an editor of the prominent New Left journal, Studies on the Left. In spring, 1968, as he was completing a doctoral dissertation on “Art and Freedom in the Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre,” he participated in the “Freedom School” organized in the aftermath of the student strike at Columbia University. Aronson taught at Wayne State University between 1968 and 2013, first at Monteith College and then in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, a program for working adults abolished by the WSU Board of Governors in 2007. He is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the History of Ideas. Winner of several scholarly and teaching awards at Wayne State, Aronson is the past president of its Academy of Scholars as well as of the Sartre Society of North America. In recognition of his scholarly career and political contributions to South Africa, in April, 2002 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Natal/Kwazulu, Durban, South Africa. Aronson is author of Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided (Counterpoint, September, 2008). His latest book is We: Reviving Social Hope, published in April, 2017 by University of Chicago Press. Other books include We Have Only this Life to Live: Selected Essays 1939-1975 of Jean-Paul Sartre (NYReview Editions, 2013); Camus & Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It (Chicago, January, 2004); and After Marxism (Guilford, 1995). Recent articles have appeared in Salon.com, The Boston Review, The Nation, Common Dreams, and Alternet. His writing has also appeared in Bookforum, The Yale Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, International Herald-Tribune, Toronto Star, (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, and The Times Literary Supplement. The Nation, The Huffington Post, The Denver Post, AlterNet, USA Today, and Religion Dispatches among others have published his articles addressing secularism. One of Aronson’s lifelong concerns has been to study and write about the nature of hope, which is the theme of his new book and of his recent lectures. In these he develops a secularist conception of social hope in the 21st century and the time of Donald Trump. Since the 2016 election he has been actively organizing resistance activities with the Huntington Woods (MI) Peace, Citizenship, and Education Project.