The fact of pleasure is obvious to us, but its relation to reason is less understood. We are beings who laugh and run, sing and dance, but we too seldom reflect on why we do these things. Above all, we are beings who think and who want to know whether our lives make sense.
In this thought-provoking study of the relationship between our reason and our experience of pleasure, popular professor and author Fr. James Schall shows how reason, religion and pleasure are not in conflict with one another. Religion has to do with how man relates to God. Catholicism is not so much a religion as a revelation. It records and recalls how God relates to man.
The popular mood of our time is that neither religion nor revelation has much to do with real life. Yet when we look at things as having meaning and order, they fit together in surprising ways. This coherence should bring us joy, and teach us how reason, religion and pleasure can work together for our benefit. Schall shows us in this book why we have many reasons to think that our lives make sense, that our pleasures can be reasonable, and our reason itself is a pleasure.
James V. Schall, S. J., was a popular and highly regarded Professor of Political Philosophy for many years at Georgetown University until his retirement in 2012. His previous books includeAnother Sort of Learning, Idylls and Rambles, The Life of the Mind, At the Limits of Political Philosophy, and The Order of Things.
Praise for Reasonable Pleasures:
"A timely treatise when the sources of our being, and of our culture, are challenged on a daily basis. Steeped in classical learning, Schall shows the value of a Catholic mind filled with the wisdom of the past, in addressing the relativism and skepticism of the present. Schall is one of the foremost Catholic intellectuals of our day."
– Jude P. Dougherty, Dean, School of Philosophy, Catholic University of America
"With the inspiration of Plato and other great sages, it is indisputable that the greatest contemporary guide of What Is is James V. Schall, as this book so beautifully, cogently, and accessibly demonstrates on every page."
– Patrick J. Deneen, University of Notre Dame
"This is Schall at his best-learned, witty, and profound. He reminds us that existence and our deepest selves have an underlying unity that can be discovered with reason and grace."
– Gerald Russello, Editor, University Bookman
"The book's chapters on hell, eternal life, and dogma are worth the read in themselves."
– Raymond Dennehy, Professor of Philosophy, University of San Francisco
"A bracing antidote to the disorientation of modernism that casts Man as an intruder in the universe . . . delivered in Fr. Schall's inimitable style-serious matters wrapped in wit and wisdom."
– Mary Jo Anderson, Author, Male and Female He Made Them
"Schall brilliantly leads his readers to discover the ‘reasonable pleasures' found in the mind's ability to know truth. The book is suffused with the joy of learning and, above all, the joy of contemplation and worship."
– Christopher Cullen, S.J., Fordham University
"Schall points towards real joy in a world going through gloomy times-Christian dogma as the soul of true wit."
– Joseph Wood, Institute of World Politics