Author: Montague Brown, Ph.D.
Do you wonder whether you are being frank or rude when dealing with others? Are you pondering the differences between chastity and prudery or fidelity and idolatry? Confused about whether your humility is really self-contempt? Unclear if your new relationship is love or lust?
Philosopher Montague Brown (of St. Anselm College) offers an abecedary of short meditations (from "Admiration" to "Wonder") that provide the answers to these and other questions. Each reflection pairs with a particular virtue, quality or concept with which it is often confused. For example, "Hope," which Brown defines as "the will that what is good might be," appears with "Wish," which is called "the desire that what one wants might be." He goes on to summarize the differences and similarities between each, and then offers a one-sentence summary of the meanings of the two concepts.
Each meditation includes a quotation from a famous thinker and a concluding "Ask Yourself" section that contains several questions to help readers interpret their own motives and actions. The book includes recommended books so readers can pursue some of these ideas further. Moreover, these reflections are reductive and simplistic, and they do not encourage deep thinking about any of the concepts about which Brown writes.