Our emerging world system is bringing the great traditions and cultures it has spawned into ever more intimate and dangerous contact. Although many of the same processes of change and development are unfolding in different parts of the world, distinctive traditions seem to make conflicting, perhaps irreconcilable, truth claims. The material conquest of the world, through its planetary-scale institutions and through its planetary-scale institutions and through a scientific-universalistic concept of truth, trends to relativize the claims of all cultures. In ""Tradition and Authenticity in the Search for Ecumenic Wisdom"", Thomas Langan argues that we must struggle toward a unity of discourse respectful of genuine experiences of varying civilizations if we are to live peacefully on one planet. Drawing upon the thought of Heidegger and Hegel, among others, he studies the role of explicit traditions in transmitting truths and distinguishes four genera of tradition - artistic, revelational, associational, and scientific-philosophical. Langan lays down the challenge of the ""truth question"" and shows how understanding the developmental nature of history helps realize such a project without ""imperialistically"" imposing one tradition's truth and rationality upon another's. Langan's exploration of the interaction of different traditions and his ultimate search for an ecumenic wisdom should be of interest to students and scholars of political philosophy, intellectual history, and theology.
Thomas Langan is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of several books including The Meaning of Heidegger, Recent Philosophy: From Hegal to the Present, and Merleau-Ponty's Critique of Reason.