Wisdom as Moderation

A Philosophy of the Middle Way

By Charles Hartshorne

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780887064739, 157 pages, July 1987
Hardcover : 9780887064722, 157 pages, July 1987

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Table of contents



1. The Mean and the False Extremes

2. Moderation in Theory of Knowledge and Philosophy of Religion

3. Extremes in Everyday Life

4. The Aesthetic Meaning of Death

5. Bias in Philosophy


A. Two Views of Metaphysics
B. How Some Speak, Yet do not Speak, About God


6. Religion as Acceptance of our Fragmentariness

7. Can We Transcend our Animality?

8. Metaphysics Contributes to Ornithology

9. Ethical Rights of Non-human Animals

10. The Future of Our Species


Index of Persons

Index of Topics


One of the great living philosophers sets forth his idea of philosophical wisdom as a mean between extremes in the philosophy of life and religion, with applications to ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and practical affairs. This work brings to a new focus the unity of Hartshorne's thought as a whole, showing the relationship between good philosophical sense and good common sense.

Charles Hartshorne is Ashbel Smith Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. In a long and distinguished career, he has taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Emory University, the University of Texas, and the University of Washington; lectured at more than a hundred colleges and universities in the United States and abroad; written nearly 20 books and hundreds of essays; and has been president of five learned societies. His books Insights and Oversights of Great Thinkers: An Evaluation of Western Philosophy, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes, and Creativity in American Philosophy are also published by SUNY Press.


"In crystal clear, arresting, and often humorous prose, Hartshorne defends and elaborates the thesis that wisdom seeks the aesthetic mean between boredom and chaos. The best philosophy and the best way to live is an aesthetic mean between positions that are extreme by virtue of exaggeration or purification. His argument advances on two levels. On the theoretical level it explains a theory of aesthetic beauty as a kind of moderation and illustrates the workings of moderation in discussions of diet, lifestyle, religion, politics, economics, and the integration of humans with animal life and with the earth. Hartshorne charms us with the warmth, wit, and wisdom of his philosophic personality. " — Robert Cummings Neville