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On the Nature of Persons

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A.R.C. Duncan

This book, an introduction to the thought of the Scottish philosopher John Macmurray (1891-1976), focusses on the problem: are human beings merely animals with unusually highly developed brains or are they properly thought of as persons. Professor Duncan traces how Macmurray's understanding of the twentieth century forced this problem on his attention. This led Macmurray to revise accepted ideas about human rationality and freedom. It resulted in his adoption of a radically new and empirically based approach to religion. Macmurray challenges contemporary philosophers to shift their centre of gravity away from Cartesian egocentricity and to learn to think from the standpoint of the self, not as theoretical spectator, but as active agent.