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 include Another 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
- 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."
"Schall points towards real joy in a world going through gloomy times-Christian dogma as the soul of true wit."
- Christopher Cullen, S.J., Fordham University
- Joseph Wood, Institute of World Politics