A new book to counter today's prevailing secular humanism
MEANINGLESSNESS: The Solutions of Nietzsche, Freud and Rorty
by Michael Casey
(Freedom Publishing, Melbourne, 2001, 150pp, $33.00, ISBN 0957868219.
Available from AD Books)
Meaninglessness is the latest publication from Freedom Publishing. Its author, Dr Michael Casey, is a sociologist on the staff of the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, and Permanent Fellow in Sociology and Politics at the Australian Campus of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family. This is his first book, which is being published in the United States by Lexington Books.
The book, with its own website at http://www.meaninglessness.org, has already received well-deserved praise. American author and Papal biographer, George Wiegel, commented: "A world without meaning - a world without windows and doors - is uncomfortable, then stifling, and finally dehumanising. Dissecting the modern academic penchant for declaring our world inherently 'meaningless', Michael Casey points the way toward a truer, nobler humanism."
Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago argues that "Casey's critique of [philosopher Richard] Rorty is one of the most pungent and compelling I've run across ... It is also an enormous relief to find Freud discussed intelligently rather than reductively."
And Australian academic, Max Teichmann, formerly a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Monash University, commented positively on Meaninglessness:
"This is a very important book, on a very important question. Meaninglessness and the search for meaning are very old but demanding companions, at least in the West. Rather like life and death.
"Many books have been written on these matters and about Casey's subjects Nietzsche, Freud and Rorty. Just when I thought that all that could be said had been said, along comes Casey's book which set me, for one, running back to re-read his authors.
"There were many things that I either hadn't seen or else had forgotten, so I am most grateful that this book has come our way. Casey writes with acuity and clarity which enables us to be taken with ease and with much illumination through a succession of complex and often ambiguous philosophical puzzles and stand-offs.
"The author has mastered his writers and a mass of accompanying material with enviable skill and lucidity, and made an important and original contribution to metaphysical analysis and exposition. So stimulating and interesting has Casey made his subject that it could almost do double duty as an Introduction to Philosophy."
Dr Michael Casey's Meaninglessness makes a vital contribution to the presentation of a Christian point of view to counter today's prevailing secular humanism. The author himself heralds a new Catholic springtime as a new generation of young intellectuals seeks to shape the Australian spiritual landscape.
Anthony Cappello is a research assistant for the Thomas More Centre.