The cross-disciplinary studies in this volume are of special interest because they link human purpose to the present debate between religion and the process of secularization. If that debate is to be a creative one, the notion of the 'human orderer' must be related significantly both to the sacred and secular realms. In fact, if man were not a purposive being, he would have neither religious nor secular problems. Questions about origins and destiny, divine purposiveness and the order of human development, would not arise as topics of human concern. It would appear, then, that few would deny the fact of man's purposiveness in existence, that the pursuit of these purposes constitutes the dramas of history and culture. Yet the case is otherwise. For, concerning 'purposes' itself, widely divergent, even antithetical, views have been held. The common man has mistrusted its guidance for purpose, much too often, 'changes its mind'. Its fluctuations and whimsical nature are too much even for common sense. The sciences have identified purpose with the personal life and viewed it as a function of the subject self.
Consequently they had no need for it in scientific method and objective knowledge. The religions of the world have used purpose in its holistic sense, for purposes of establishing grandious systems of religious totality and for stating the ultimate goals in man's destiny.
I From the Philosophical Perspective.- 1. Linguistic Philosophy and 'The Meaning of Life'.- 2. Phenomenology of Religion and Human Purpose.- 3. The Concept of Purpose in a Naturalistic Humanist Perspective.- 4. The Recovery of Human Purpose in the Religious Life.- II From the Religious Perspective.- 5. Orthodox Judaism and Human Purpose.- 6. Liberal Judaism and the Human Purpose.- 7. Human Purposiveness in St. Thomas Aquinas.- 8. The Concept of Purpose in Reformation Thought.- 9. The Liberal Commitment to Divine Immanence.- III From the Perspective of Indian Religion.- 10. Purpose of Man in the Tradition of Indian Orthodoxy.- 11. The Concepts of Man and Human Purpose in Contemporary Indian Thought.