PREFACE AND GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Section 1.0 What It Is
The Rational Human Condition is a five-part, four-book series, including —
1. Preface and General Introduction
2. Cognition, Content, and the A Priori: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind and Knowledge
3. Deep Freedom and Real Persons: A Study in Metaphysics
4. Kantian Ethics and Human Existence: A Study in Moral Philosophy
5. Kant, Agnosticism, and Anarchism: A Theological-Political Treatise
Each book in the tetralogy is a self-standing study in systematic philosophy, and they can be read in any sequence whatsoever.
At the same time, they all share a common aim, which is my attempt to work out a true general theory of human rationality in a fully natural and thoroughly nonideal world.
I call this philosophical project rational anthropology.
With this aim before me, I have been writing up various parts of The Rational Human Condition since 2005 or 2006.
But there is also a very real sense in which I have been working, working, working on the very same project ever since I started thinking seriously about philosophical issues in the mid-to-late 1970s, like the proverbial hedgehog who — unlike the equally proverbial fox, who knows many things — knows only one big thing.
The Rational Human Condition in its most recent incarnation was originally intended as a sequel to Rationality and Logic (published in 2006).
Then later, as the project steadily grew in breadth, depth, and scope, I began to think of it as a comprehensive sequel to Rationality and Logic and also to Embodied Minds in Action (co-authored with Michelle Maiese, and published in 2009).
In short, it got bigger and bigger.
For a few years, it was a single BIG book manuscript, weighing in at 1200+ pages, threatening to grow even BIGGER, like huge unfortunate Alice crammed up against the walls of her tiny room.
But this one-book version, paradoxically, was at one and the same time both too long for anyone but a sleepless zealot ever to have the time and energy to read, and also too short to discuss everything that absolutely, positively, undeniably, and self-evidently needed to be discussed — not to mention its also being, as Henry James notoriously said of Dostoevsky’s novels, a “loose, baggy monster.”
So the long and the short of it is, that I ultimately split up the one loose, baggy big monster into four separate books, each of them a leaner, meaner, littler monster, and have been hedgehogging away at them all ever since.