410 Westhampton Way, Richmond, VA 23173, United States
Adams was an alumnus of the University of Richmond, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941 and a Master of Arts degree in 1944.
320 Goodman St N Suite 207, Rochester, NY 14607, United States
Adams received a Bachelor in Divinity from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in 1944.
Cambridge, MA, United States
Adams earned a Master's degree from Harvard in 1947 and a Ph.D. in 1948.
(A great fissure occurred in Western civilization in the e...)
A great fissure occurred in Western civilization in the early modern period with the divorce between the humanities and the sciences and the rise of scientific naturalism. This title presents a philosophical exploration of the relationship between the individual, the culture, and the world.
(Citing his personal quest to reconcile the contradictions...)
Citing his personal quest to reconcile the contradictions among biblical religion, democratic liberalism, and modern science, E. M. Adams explores the foundations of religion and its role in the culture. He asks, What would constitute a responsible religion in our time? And he determines that for a religion to be credible, its tenets must be reconcilable with scientific beliefs, the historical record, the accepted worldview, and the creative, spiritual, and ethical dimensions of human experience. In Religion and Cultural Freedom, Adams focuses on Judeo-Christian religion in Western civilization, and draws on literary, historical, ethical, and philosophical examples. Maintaining that religion is logically accountable in its belief system to the culture of which it is a part, he illustrates how, at different points in history, religious beliefs have been altered or reinterpreted in response to cultural tensions and conflicts. This interplay between religion and culture is an essential part of Adams's definition of a responsible religion. While he does not think that religion needs to yield to conflicting sectors in the culture, he insists that it has a responsibility to work for coherence and intellectual respectability within a free culture. During his discussion, Adams offers a realistic theory of the language of the humanities and lived experience (especially the language of value and meaning) and, on the basis of this theory, he reconstructs the intellectual enterprise and interprets meaning and truth in religious discourse. Interested in what he takes to be a negative turn in religious consciousness and the fate of religion in modern Western civilization, Adams concludes that the time may be ripe for a humanistic revolution that would create a fully accountable and intellectually credible religion.
(Argues for a humanistic cultural reformation to counter o...)
Argues for a humanistic cultural reformation to counter our materialistic values and science-dominated intellectual life and shows how this would affect our lives and transform our society.
Adams was an alumnus of the University of Richmond, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941 and a Master of Arts degree in 1944. He received a Bachelor in Divinity from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in 1944 and then went on to earn another Masters from Harvard in 1947 and a Ph.D. in 1948.
After a brief stint as an assistant professor at Ohio University, Adams joined the University of North Carolina faculty in 1948. Adams would spend the rest of his academic career there, becoming Kenan Professor of Philosophy in 1971, chairing the department from 1960 to 1965, and serving as faculty chair from 1976 to 1979. He was also director of the Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense from 1970 to 1972 and was a board of directors chair of the Program in the Humanities and Human Values before retiring as a professor emeritus in 1990. Adams was one of the founders of Chapel Hill Community Action, Inc., an organization that addressed issues of segregation and poverty in Chapel Hill, and he served as its chairman. That program was adopted as a nationwide model by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity. He served as chairman of the Joint Orange Chatham Community Action, Inc., and vice-chairman of the Orange County Economic Opportunity Commission, Inc. He also was a frequent commentator on issues of education and public affairs in local newspapers.
Even after his mandatory retirement, however, Adams continued to teach as the N. Ferebee Taylor Professor of Philosophy during the 1990s. A respected scholar of religion and philosophy, he was the author of such books as The Fundamentals of General Logic, Philosophy and the Modern Mind: A Philosophical Critique of Modern Western Civilization, The Accountability of Religion, and A Society Fit for Human Beings; he also edited Categorical Analysis: Selected Essays of Everett W. Hall on Philosophy, Value, Knowledge and Mind. Adams also received numerous academic awards, including the 1971 Thomas Jefferson Award from his university.
(Argues for a humanistic cultural reformation to counter o...)1997
(A great fissure occurred in Western civilization in the e...)1991
(Citing his personal quest to reconcile the contradictions...)1993
Adams rejected the materialistic view of reality that dominates modern societies and the related scientific naturalist worldview that assumes that sensory experience is our only basic source of knowledge and that the sensory realm is the only reality. He explains that such value and meaning nihilism is the reason that many modern people endure chronic anxiety about the lack of meaning in life.
Instead, Adams argues that our window onto reality is much larger than the sense-experience window; we also have valuable experiences and meaning experiences that we learn from. Humans cannot properly conceive of the universe in purely physical terms but rather must include value and meaning in our conception of the universe. We also must think of ourselves as value and meaning beings, as well as physical beings, not solely as material creatures.
The philosophy that Adams called "realistic humanism" is unusual in that it comprises a comprehensive systematic philosophy covering all fundamental ways of understanding the world, including human metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophies of mind, ethics, religion, nature, and history.
North Carolina Humanities Council , United States
1980 - 1981
North Carolina's Commission on Science and Technology , United States
1982 - 1984
American Philosophical Association , United States
1961 - 1964
North Carolina Philosophical Society , United States
Southern Society Philosophy and Psychology , United States
1968 - 1969
Quotes from others about the person
The News & Observer described Adams as having "inspired a great following with his thirst for knowledge and love for deep thinking."
Former UNC-CH Chancellor Ferebee Taylor said Adams "was an intellectual giant but also a gentle and caring human being."
Adams married Phyllis Margaret Stevenson on December 22, 1942. The couple had two children: Steven Maynard, and Jill Elaine.