The Mark of the Sacred

Jean Pierre Dupuy, Author, M Debevoise, Translator
Jean-Pierre Dupuy. Stanford Univ., $70 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8047-7689-9
Reviewed on: 11/04/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Open Ebook - 239 pages - 978-0-8047-8845-8
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-8047-7690-5
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Philosopher Dupuy (The Mechanization of the Mind) assumes the stance of a prophet of doom and warns of catastrophe if a re-examination of Western cultural traditions does not take place. Transcending the tiresome conflict between faith and reason, Dupuy argues that the ways by which human beings think, organize, and experience the world are founded on religion. Like the influential cultural critic Rene Girard, he claims that religion limits the violence humans would otherwise inflict upon each other through its use of a sacrificial victim who is assigned sacred status and, through sacrifice, defuses dangerous social friction. With the increasing loss of religious faith in the modern age, physical and symbolic violence has been inflicted on social, political, and economic infrastructures. He urges re-consideration of the role of the sacred. Dupuy is highly polemical and critical of most approaches within varied intellectual disciplines, leaving out more substantial arguments and alternative viewpoints. Nonetheless, his heady argument for returning to the sacred that underlies human existence forces readers to reappraise the foundations of modern society and imagine a future in which humans will not have destroyed themselves. (Nov.)
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