Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science
Author: Alan Sokal,Jean Bricmont
View: 5246In 1996 physicist Alan Sokal published an essay in Social Text--an influential academic journal of cultural studies--touting the deep similarities between quantum gravitational theory and postmodern philosophy. Soon thereafter, the essay was revealed as a brilliant parody, a catalog of nonsense written in the cutting-edge but impenetrable lingo of postmodern theorists. The event sparked a furious debate in academic circles and made the headlines of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. Now in Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Sokal and his fellow physicist Jean Bricmont expand from where the hoax left off. In a delightfully witty and clear voice, the two thoughtfully and thoroughly dismantle the pseudo-scientific writings of some of the most fashionable French and American intellectuals. More generally, they challenge the widespread notion that scientific theories are mere "narrations" or social constructions.
The New Attacks on Free Thought, Expanded Edition
Author: Jonathan Rauch
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
View: 2400“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.” So writes Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors, which has challenged readers for more than twenty years with its bracing and provocative exploration of the issues surrounding attempts to limit free speech. In it, Rauch makes a persuasive argument for the value of “liberal science” and the idea that conflicting views produce knowledge within society. In this expanded edition of Kindly Inquisitors, a new foreword by George F. Will strikingly shows the book’s continued relevance, while a substantial new afterword by Rauch elaborates upon his original argument and brings it fully up to date. Two decades after the book’s initial publication, while some progress has been made, the regulation of hate speech has grown domestically—especially in American universities—and has spread even more internationally, where there is no First Amendment to serve as a meaningful check. But the answer to bias and prejudice, Rauch argues, is pluralism—not purism. Rather than attempting to legislate bias and prejudice out of existence or to drive them underground, we must pit them against one another to foster a more vigorous and fruitful discussion. It is this process that has been responsible for the growing acceptance of the moral acceptability of homosexuality over the last twenty years. And it is this process, Rauch argues, that will enable us as a society to replace hate with knowledge, both ethical and empirical. “It is a melancholy fact that this elegant book, which is slender and sharp as a stiletto, is needed, now even more than two decades ago. Armed with it, readers can slice through the pernicious ideas that are producing the still-thickening thicket of rules, codes, and regulations restricting freedom of thought and expression.”—George F. Will, from the foreword
Author: David Kelley
Publisher: W. W. Norton
View: 2777An inviting alternative to traditional texts in introductory logic, The Art of Reasoning is widely acclaimed for its conversational tone and accessible exposition of rigorous logical concepts.
Author: Brian McHale
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Category: Literary Criticism
View: 623The Cambridge Introduction to Postmodernism surveys the full spectrum of postmodern culture - high and low, avant-garde and popular, famous and obscure - across a range of fields, from architecture and visual art to fiction, poetry, and drama. It deftly maps postmodernism's successive historical phases, from its emergence in the 1960s to its waning in the first decades of the twenty-first century. Weaving together multiple strands of postmodernism - people and places from Andy Warhol, Jefferson Airplane and magical realism, to Jean-François Lyotard, Laurie Anderson and cyberpunk - this book creates a rich picture of a complex cultural phenomenon that continues to exert an influence over our present 'post-postmodern' situation. Comprehensive and accessible, this Introduction is indispensable for scholars, students, and general readers interested in late twentieth-century culture.
Thinkers of the New Left
Author: Roger Scruton
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Category: Political Science
View: 4716The thinkers who have been most influential on the attitudes of the New Left are examined in this study by one of the leading critics of leftist orientations in modern Western civilization. Scruton begins with a ruthless analysis of New Leftism and concludes with a critique of the key strands in its thinking. He conducts a reappraisal of such major left-wing thinkers as: E. P. Thompson, Ronald Dworkin, R. D. Laing, Jurgen Habermas, Gyorgy Lukacs, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, Ralph Milliband and Eric Hobsbawm. In addition to assessments of these thinkers' philosophical and political contributions, the book contains a biographical and bibliographical section summarizing their careers and most important writings. In Thinkers of the New Left Scruton asks, what does the Left look like today and as it has evolved since 1989? He charts the transfer of grievances from the working class to women, gays and immigrants, asks what can we put in the place of radical egalitarianism, and what explains the continued dominance of antinomian attitudes in the intellectual world? Can there be any foundation for resistance to the leftist agenda without religious faith? Scruton's exploration of these important issues is written with skill, perception and at all times with pellucid clarity. The result is a devastating critique of modern left-wing thinking.
A Christian Perspective
Author: Stewart E. Kelly
Publisher: IVP Academic
View: 1346Most introductions to postmodernism are either wholly negative or wholly positive. Stewart Kelly and James Dew present a balanced introduction and assessment of postmodernism that corrects misunderstandings and examines its shortcomings. This is a clear, accessible text for Christian students of philosophy
Author: Richard Rorty
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
View: 4625In this 1989 book Rorty argues that thinkers such as Nietzsche, Freud, and Wittgenstein have enabled societies to see themselves as historical contingencies, rather than as expressions of underlying, ahistorical human nature or as realizations of suprahistorical goals. This ironic perspective on the human condition is valuable on a private level, although it cannot advance the social or political goals of liberalism. In fact Rorty believes that it is literature not philosophy that can do this, by promoting a genuine sense of human solidarity. A truly liberal culture, acutely aware of its own historical contingency, would fuse the private, individual freedom of the ironic, philosophical perspective with the public project of human solidarity as it is engendered through the insights and sensibilities of great writers. The book has a characteristically wide range of reference from philosophy through social theory to literary criticism. It confirms Rorty's status as a uniquely subtle theorist, whose writing will prove absorbing to academic and nonacademic readers alike.
A Very Short Introduction
Author: Christopher Butler
Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
View: 8767'a pre-eminently sane, lucid, and concise statement about the central issues, the key examples, and the notorious derilections of postmodernism. I feel a fresh wind blowing away the miasma coiling around the topic. ' -Ihab Hassan, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee'the most intellectually incisive, coherent and comprehensive meditation upon the history and significance of postmodernism that I have yet encountered.' -Patricia Waugh, University of Durham'easily the best introduction to postmodernism currently available' -Hans Bertens, Utrecht University
How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas
Author: Daniel J. Flynn
Publisher: Crown Forum
Category: Social Science
View: 2937Why do well-educated antiwar activists call the president of the United States “the new Hitler” and argue that the U.S. government orchestrated the September 11 attacks? Why does Al Gore believe that cars pose “a mortal threat to the security of every nation”? Why does the Princeton professor known as the father of the animal rights movement object to humans eating animals but not to humans having sex with them—and why does PETA defend that position? In other words, why do smart people fall for stupid ideas? The answer, Daniel J. Flynn reveals in Intellectual Morons, is ideology. Flynn, the author of Why the Left Hates America, shows how people can be so blinded to reality by the causes they serve that they espouse bizarre, sometimes ridiculous, and often dangerous positions. The most influential social movements have spawned ideologues who do not care whether an idea is good or bad, true or false, but only whether it can serve their cause. It is startling how many Americans—and particularly how many media, academic, and political elites—fall for bad ideas. The trouble is, their lies become institutionalized as truth, and we all suffer as a result. In Intellectual Morons, Flynn reveals: •How rabid anti-Americans simply parrot the delusional claims of a few gurus •How the environmental movement, spawned by a “scientist” whose doomsday predictions are almost always wrong, has bred fanaticism, stupidity, and dishonesty •How the hero of the animal rights crowd is a crank who promotes infanticide and euthanasia •How a scientific fraud—and pervert—launched the sexual revolution •How abortion rights activists ignore (or cover up) the fact that their matron saint advocated eugenics and concentration camps •How our universities have become hothouses of leftist ideology •How historians and journalists have airbrushed history to turn a racial separatist into a civil rights icon Filled with jaw-dropping lapses in common sense from even our most celebrated opinion leaders, Intellectual Morons is a welcome reality check for the glaring excesses of today’s political and cultural debates. "This is a sophisticated pile driver of a book, guiding us through the wiles of great luminaries of the netherworld. And such liveliness in the writing, and such erudition. I was quite fascinated by Intellectual Morons."—William F. Buckley, Jr. "Intellectual Morons is exceptionally aptly named. The thought of all that brainpower going down the intellectual drain is sad, but Daniel Flynn's description of it is hilariously on point. This is must reading."—G. Gordon Liddy "Intellectual Morons is a delight—a wonderful intellectual history of the past hundred years. Flynn ably describes the purveyors of the bad ideas that have undermined our free society."—Burton W. Folsom, Jr., professor of history, Hillsdale College "A famous bit of folk wisdom says, 'You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.' Some of the crackpot notions now fashionable in academic circles, as here documented by Daniel Flynn, suggest that saying is an understatement. If you want to know how crazy, and scairy, intellectual morons can get, you have to read this book."—M. Stanton Evans, author of The Theme Is Freedom, contributing editor to Human Events From the Hardcover edition.
The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law
Author: Daniel A. Farber,Suzanna Sherry
Publisher: Oxford University Press
View: 5578Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon trained at a medical school that did not evaluate its students? Would you want to fly in a plane designed by people convinced that the laws of physics are socially constructed? Would you want to be tried by a legal system indifferent to the distinction between fact and fiction? These questions may seem absurd, but these are theories being seriously advanced by radical multiculturalists that force us to ask them. These scholars assert that such concepts as truth and merit are inextricably racist and sexist, that reason and objectivity are merely sophisticated masks for ideological bias, and that reality itself is nothing more than a socially constructed mechanism for preserving the power of the ruling elite. In Beyond All Reason, liberal legal scholars Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry mount the first systematic critique of radical multiculturalism as a form of legal scholarship. Beginning with an incisive overview of the origins and basic tenets of radical multiculturalism, the authors critically examine the work of Derrick Bell, Catherine MacKinnon, Patricia Williams, and Richard Delgado, and explore the alarming implications of their theories. Farber and Sherry push these theories to their logical conclusions and show that radical multiculturalism is destructive of the very goals it wishes to affirm. If, for example, the concept of advancement based on merit is fraudulent, as the multiculturalists claim, the disproportionate success of Jews and Asians in our culture becomes difficult to explain without opening the door to age-old anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes. If historical and scientific truths are entirely relative social constructs, then Holocaust denial becomes merely a matter of perspective, and Creationism has as much "validity" as evolution. The authors go on to show that rather than promoting more dialogue, the radical multiculturalist preferences for legal storytelling and identity politics over reasoned argument produces an insular set of positions that resist open debate. Indeed, radical multiculturalists cannot critically examine each others' ideas without incurring vehement accusations of racism and sexism, much less engage in fruitful discussion with a mainstream that does not share their assumptions. Here again, Farber and Sherry show that the end result of such thinking is not freedom but a kind of totalitarianism where dissent cannot be tolerated and only the naked will to power remains to settle differences. Sharply written and brilliantly argued, this book is itself a model of the kind of clarity, civility, and dispassionate critical thinking which the authors seek to preserve from the attacks of the radical multiculturalists. With far-reaching implications for such issues as government control of hate speech and pornography, affirmative action, legal reform, and the fate of all minorities, Beyond All Reason is a provocative contribution to one of the most important controversies of our time.
Cult Thinking and the Terrorist Threat
Author: Arthur Deikman
Publisher: Bay Tree Pub
Category: Political Science
View: 8798Cult thinking is not something out there-a rare affliction that infects a few people on the margin of society-but a disturbing phenomenon that most of us have experienced in some degree. In Them and Us: Cult Thinking and the Terrorist Threat, author and psychiatrist Arthur Deikman shows the connection between classic cult manipulation and the milder forms of group pressure that can be found in even the most staid organizations-churches and schools, mainstream political movements and corporate boardrooms. In her foreword, Doris Lessing discusses the the implications and repercussions of cult thinking on contemporary society.
Religion, Politics, and the Modern West
Author: Mark Lilla
View: 2198A brilliant account of religion's role in the political thinking of the West, from the Enlightenment to the close of World War II. The wish to bring political life under God's authority is nothing new, and it's clear that today religious passions are again driving world politics, confounding expectations of a secular future. In this major book, Mark Lilla reveals the sources of this age-old quest-and its surprising role in shaping Western thought. Making us look deeper into our beliefs about religion, politics, and the fate of civilizations, Lilla reminds us of the modern West's unique trajectory and how to remain on it. Illuminating and challenging, The Stillborn God is a watershed in the history of ideas. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Philip Stokes
Publisher: Arcturus Publishing
View: 2083Who am I? What is justice? What does it mean to live a good life? Many of the fundamental questions of philosophy are questions that we begin to ask ourselves as young adults when we look at the world around us, at ourselves, and try to make sense of things. This engaging and accessible book invites the reader to explore the questions and ar...
Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West
Author: Paul Gosselin
View: 2203Sometimes a small change in the way we define a basic term can have major repercussions on the way we look at the world around us. What happens, for example, if you change the way you look at concepts such as "religion" or "myth"? How might this affect the way we perceive forces shaping the modern and postmodern West? While chapter 1 pursues postmodernism's ethical implications, the issue of euthanasia and the fate reserved for those deemed "unproductive" or incapable of self-fulfilment, following chapters look at a fundamental question: Can a society function without myth? Modern ideologues claim that by the twentieth century much of the West had finally escaped the prison of religion. Many educated Westerners view themselves as secular, free of religion and myth. But this conflicts with an observation supplied by Social Anthropology, that myth is inevitable and plays a critical role in the development of any civilization. This volume looks at a fundamental issue, re-examining the materialistic cosmology shared by modern and postmodern belief systems. It takes a deconstructive look at a cultural monument that many would consider untouchable, that is the theory of evolution. Flight v2 looks at this issue from two angles. First, that of Social Anthropology, asking questions such as: What roles do origins myths play in society? How do they "make sense" of the world? Can parallels be drawn between myth and the theory of evolution? Secondly, we examine parallels between the way myths gain prestige (and shield their beliefs from criticism) and how evolution is marketed. To grasp how evolution's sacred aura has been built up, advances in philosophy of science are examined. For example, when evolutionists oppose criticism of evolution in education, claiming that evolution is science, what does this really mean? If we bring a restricted definition of science into the origins debate, what might be the repercussions?
An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism
Author: James Burnham
Publisher: Encounter Books
Category: Political Science
View: 5633James Burnham’s 1964 classic, Suicide of the West, remains a startling account on the nature of the modern era. It offers a profound, in depth analysis of what is happening in the world today by putting into focus the intangible, often vague doctrine of American liberalism. It parallels the loosely defined liberal ideology rampant in American government and institutions, with the flow, ebb, growth, climax and the eventual decline and death of both ancient and modern civilizations. Its author maintains that western suicidal tendencies lie not so much in the lack of resources or military power, but through an erosion of intellectual, moral, and spiritual factors abundant in modern western society and the mainstay of liberal psychology. Devastating in its relentless dissection of the liberal syndrome, this book will lead many liberals to painful self-examination, buttress the thinking conservative’s viewpoint, and incite others, no doubt, to infuriation. None can ignore it.
Author: Jean Bricmont,Alan Sokal
Publisher: Profile Books
View: 3379When Intellectual Impostures was published in France, it sent shock waves through the Left Bank establishment. When it was published in Britain, it provoked impassioned debate. Sokal and Bricmont examine the canon of French postmodernists - Lacan, Kristeva, Baudrillard, Irigaray, Latour, Virilio, Deleuze and Guattari - and systematically expose their abuse of science. This edition contains a new preface analysing the reactions to the book and answering some of the attacks.
Sex, Gender, Feminism
Author: Camille Paglia
Category: Social Science
View: 8755Ever since the release of her seminal first book, Sexual Personae, Camille Paglia has remained one of feminism's most outspoken, independent, and searingly intelligent voices. Now, for the first time, her best essays on the subject are gathered together in one concise volume. Whether she's calling for equal opportunity for American women (years before the founding of the National Organization for Women), championing a more discerning standard of beauty that goes beyond plastic surgery's quest for eternal youth, lauding the liberating force of rock and roll, or demanding free and unfettered speech on university campuses and beyond, Paglia can always be counted on to get to the heart of matters large and small. At once illuminating, witty, and inspiring, these essays are essential reading that affirm the power of men and women and what we can accomplish together.