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Words of Wisdom by Creighton Philosophy Professor

A new philosophical dictionary titled Words of Wisdom: A Philosophical Dictionary for the Perennial Tradition (University of Notre Dame Press, January 2012) offers precise, yet clear and understandable accounts of well over a thousand key philosophical terms.

The author, John W. Carlson, Ph.D., professor of Philosophy at Creighton University, explains significant terms from philosophical movements, specifically the perennial tradition.

In his encyclical Fides et ratio (1998), John Paul II called on philosophers “to have the courage to recover, in the flow of an enduringly valid philosophical tradition, the range of authentic wisdom and truth.” Words of Wisdom responds to Pope John Paul's II call for the development of this tradition with a much-needed dictionary of terms.

Carlson’s philosophical dictionary is intended to serve as a resource for students, teachers and scholars. The book focuses on the perennial tradition of philosophy; the notion of the universal recurrence of philosophical insight is independent of culture, including universal truths on the nature of reality and humanity. The 20th-Century French philosopher Jacques Maritain coined the term perennial, which was originally thought of by philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas in the 1200s.

Through the book, perennial philosophy is reinterpreted for every age while providing a comprehensive bibliography of works by Aquinas in English, expositions and discussions of perennial themes and gives examples from the writings of all philosophers and theologians mentioned in dictionary entries.

The book strives to make the perennial tradition of philosophy accessible and meaningful to students and teachers in contemporary Catholic universities.

His other recent textbook titled Understanding Our Being: Introduction to Speculative Philosophy in the Perennial Tradition was published by Catholic University of America Press in 2008. Carlson is a national leader in the field of Catholic Philosophy and served as president of the Philosophers in Jesuit Education and is a current elected member at large of the Executive Council of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.