Curtler’s latest book

Provoking Thought

PROVOKING THOUGHT by Hugh Mercer Curtler  Though philosophy began centuries ago in wonder, it has, unfortunately, become just another specialized discipline within an academic circle wide enough to include all fields from the sublime to the ridiculous. In their heyday philosophers puzzled about the world they lived in and tried to make sense of the unusual. Curtler has returned to philosophy in this sense of the term and like the Socratic gadfly seeks to annoy readers out of their complacency. In doing so, he provides the curious reader with reflections about the mundane (TV and sports) and the arcane (aesthetics and ethics) and ventures into fields such as history, literature, and anthropology, which are, after all, the stepchildren of philosophy. The hope is not to engender agreement, but to resurrect wonder from its dormant state.

This book is currently available from Amazon

Cost: $24.95


Pre-Publication Reviews

“This is philosophy written in an accessible and wonderfully refreshing way. Hugh Curtler offers penetrating insights about an astonishingly wide variety of topics, ranging from debates about the morality of war, relativism in art, and the education of our children, to the impact of sports upon human emotion. Each chapter is a philosophically rich essay written in the grand style of Bacon, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, and Russell. Timely, insightful, and informed, this volume contains something for every reflective person.”

– Tomis Kapitan, Chair, Department of Philosophy, Northern Illinois University

“Hugh Curtler has a truly independent mind, informed by decades of experience, reading, and reflection. His thoughts cannot be boxed and labeled “conservative” or “liberal.” He’s out to bother all of us, to make us question easy attitudes and automatic thinking. Free of academic jargon, his style is conversational, clear, and direct. As he moves among a wide range of issues we encounter in everyday life, Curtler shows how deeply useful philosophy can be.”

– Barton Sutter, Senior Lecturer, Department of English, University of Wisconsin, Superior

“Reading Provoking Thought is like sitting down to a dinner conversation that you wish wouldn’t end. Ranging nimbly over the state of American education, sports, popular culture, and politics, Hugh Curtler taps into his 41 years as a philosophy teacher, making the great thoughts of the Western tradition speak to the anxieties, perplexities, and absurdities of our times.”

– Austin Dacey The Center for Inquiry, New York City

“Professor Curtler’s newest book, like his earlier Recalling Education, provides clear starting points for discussion in my composition classes. For example, his chapter ‘What’s on TV Tonight?’ raises issues of passive vs. active viewing, responsibility for our actions, the long- vs. short-term view of energy production, the desirability/feasibility of our schools serving also as surrogates for parents and churches, our political (and acculturated) tendency to rely on violence rather than wit and statesmanship, and the increase of narcissism at the expense of love. I am happy to recommend Provoking Thought as a reader for classes in composition, philosophy, and ethics.”

– Stephen Lockwood, Department of English, Northern Montana State University

“The pivotal move in any area of discussion is asking the question ‘Why?’ ” writes Hugh Mercer Curtler in Provoking Thought, the latest addition to the sequence of well argued, well written books he has been publishing since the early 1990s. As a philosopher and educator, Curtler is anxiously concerned with the survival in contemporary culture of “the intellectually autonomous individual.” Provoking Thought encourages the reader to build intellectual resistance to fickle fashions of politial correctness or easy nihilistic indifference, supporting his/her efforts to develop abilities of sustained intellectual argument together with ethical principles of compassionate care. Provoking Thought is provocatively readable.

– Agnieszka Salska, Professor of American Literature, Chair of the Department of American Literature and Culture at the University of Lodz, Poland.



Provoking Thought


I. Reading Good Books.……………………………..
II. After Virtue, What?………………………………
III. All’s Fair In War and Politics……………………..
IV. Captain Relative, Be Gone!………………………
V. Dumbing Down The Kids…………………………..
VI. What Became of God?……………………………
VII. The Philosopher King Meets John Madden………..
VIII. What’s on TV Tonight?.…………………………
IX. Flotsam and Jetsam……………………………..

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4 thoughts on “Curtler’s latest book

  1. Hi, I just read your comments under Jennifer’s blog post First of all, congratulations on your 50th marriage anniversary! It seems have a sense of humor is top of the list for couples who share their lives together for so many years! May you and your wife be blessed with many more years of laughter together!

    Secondly, I just started a directory and would like to an invite you to post your book(s) on it. Please visit and complete the form.
    It contents look very interesting and I look forward to getting a copy of your latest work soon!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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