From the Polarizing Mind Set to Productive Discussion of Public Policy and Intercultural and Interfaith Relations

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This volume challenges readers to confront constructively the greatest threat to the long-term well-being of society - polarization and fragmentation.


“Howard Nostrand has been stimulating us for decades, and once again he brings his perspective and lessons of history to our current scene….I found particularly compelling his chapter on religious reconciliation….Nostrand outlines methods for pursuing the more constructive path.” – Paul Simon, Director of the Public Policy Institute and Professor of Political Science and Journalism, Southern Illinois University, after serving in the US House of Representatives for ten years and the Senate for twelve

“In this volume, Howard Nostrand challenges us to confront constructively the greatest threat to the long-term well-being of our society –polarization and fragmentation. As a senator, I was often approached by citizens who legitimately and plaintively asked ‘Why can’t you people in Washington quit fighting and start working together to solve our problems?’ …. Nostrand will not let us throw up our hands and disclaim responsibility. He provides us with workable tools which we can use to make a positive difference.” – David L. Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma

“From the very beginning I have been impressed by the boldness of the research design. At a time when the academic fashion favors case studies and other micro work within narrow fields, Howard Nostrand thinks of the ‘Big Picture’ and draws support in citations from many specialties in the humanities and social sciences. His work combines classical thought from ancient Athens and Rome with the latest findings from modern research methods…. I would like to assign his book as background reading for an interdisciplinary research seminar in the field of conflict resolution.” – Peter H. Rohn, retired director, Treaty Research Center, University of Washington

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (main headings):
Foreword by Paul Simon
Preliminary Overview
1. The Outlook from Where We Are
2. Ancient Athens Points Beyond Polarization
3. Aristotle’s Productive “Passion for the Obvious”
4. Where (and Where Not) to Hunt for Common Ground
5. The Common Ground among Religions: Indelible Traditions set by Magnanimous Founders (Islam; Maimonides; Aquinas; Protestantism; Calvin)
6. How the French Benefit from the Classical Heritage: A Benchmark for our Younger Sibling Culture (Montaigne; the Renaissance)
7. From “Which Extreme is Right?” to “Where’s the Mean?”
8. Collaborative Inquiry in Autonomous Discussion Groups
9. Renewing America at the Grass Roots (Race and Class; Family, Community, Church and State in Education)

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