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Synopsis

Over the past few hundred years, animism has been dismissed as a primitive, naïve and irrational perspective, irrelevant within the civilised West. In The Wakeful World, Emma Restall Orr argues that this is based on the misrepresentation, drawn in crayon, that each tree and stone has its own Christian-like immortal soul. Taking the reader on a philosophical adventure, Restall Orr explores the heritage of Western thought with precision, enthusiasm and sensitivity, considering how soul, spirit, mind and consciousness have been understood through millennia. Challenging the prevailing worldviews of materialism and dualism, she presents animism as a radically different, yet mature and coherent philosophy. Providing deep green ethics with a wholly rational metaphysical foundation, The Wakeful World is a compelling view of the nature of existence and the experience of reality, giving solid ground for the now necessary journey to a sustainable world. This original and lively book brings back animism - a most useful range of ideas which reductivists have somewhat wildly abandoned during the last century - into focus once more just when it is badly needed to cure current confusions about mind and body - Dr Mary Midgley, Moral Philosopher

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