Let us imagine that somewhere in present day South America a nation exists as the United States was constituted in 1789. George Washington is its president and Thomas Jefferson its secretary of state. It is a nation that allows only white males to vote, and its president, cabinet officials, and many of its citizens own slaves. If the America of 1789 existed right now, what would we think of it? Would it be right to invade it in order to liberate its people? Would we consider a complete embargo of it, until it changed its ways? Would it be a pariah among nations? Or would we recognize and cooperate with it, declaring its president and secretary of state political geniuses? Maybe we would just do nothing and trust that in 100 or so years it will straighten itself out? What would be the correct way to think of such a nation and its leaders? Three hundred years ago, if a woman was raped and became pregnant we’d kill the rapist and spare the baby. Today, we spare the rapist and kill the baby. One hundred years ago only heterosexual marriages were legal. Today political leaders around the world are celebrating gay relationships. How and why does our moral outlook change in such matters? By the time you are done reading this book, you will have concrete answers to these questions and many more. “This is a learned, thoroughly researched study - and dazzlingly bright. The effervescent approach to writing makes its pages fly by ... Studies as brilliant as this one deserve a far wider audience. An engrossing and mind-expanding examination of morality” ~Kirkus Reviews
This collection examines the classical liberal perspective within the professional study of history. The contributors investigate the origins and development of the classical liberal approach, argue for its revival within academia, and analyze its relevance to such topics as economics, civil liberties, feminism, and civil rights.
"Terrific. .The dialogues are great fun. I sat back and enjoyed it."---William H. Shaw "Total devastation. Splendid book. An absolutely first class piece of work."---Antony Flew Some say we can't really know anything, unless we first irrationally accept some things blindly on faith. Is that true? And what is truth, anyway? Is objective truth a bankrupt notion, as postmodernists say? They also say observations are always theory-laden and everything is socially constructed, "including giraffes." Of course, this means "all knowledge is essentially political," and "science is best seen as a socially constructed discourse that legitimates its power by presenting itself as truth." Worse than that, "there is no procedure called 'turning to the facts'.there is no procedure of 'justification in light of the facts' which can be opposed to consilience of one's own opinion with those of others." Rather, "the notion of accurate representation is simply an automatic and empty compliment we pay to beliefs which help us to do what we want to do." Unfortunately, postmodernists didn't get that way on account of ignoring the teachings of the Philosophy department, but on account of sincerely imbibing them. The terrible truth is that postmodernism is what happens when somebody who believes what he reads, reads the Philosophy canon. Avoiding technical jargon and presented in the form of a spirited dialogue between a professor and student, The Slightest Philosophy attacks what it sees as the real roots of postmodernism: the skeptical/anti-realist rut philosophy has been in since the eighteenth century. Opposing the canon from a position of nave realism, the book's refutation of epistemological skepticismapplies a method usually called abduction, or argument to the best explanation. The unexpected power of this pedestrian approach becomes apparent when it finally proves its mettle against philosophy's scariest monsters, including the Cartesian Demon, the Brain in the Vat, the Problem of the Criterion, and Hume's Riddle of Induction. Along the way, The Slightest Philosophy also provides a snappy introduction to the central controversies in philosophy. Not only will it make you laugh, it also renders compelling the unavoidable questions too often made to seem obscure. Rarely has epistemology seemed so accessible as in the hands of a writer Antony Flew called "never dull."
This book explores changes in the values and ideas of a large part of the political Left in recent decades. The author identifies that a questioning of the merits of economic growth; an ideal of environmental sustainability overriding the old radical visions of material abundance; a critique of instrumental reason; a suspiciousness towards universalist claims; and an attachment to subjective and pluralistic identities, have been dominant in the narratives of the Leftist milieu and of social movements. Yet the author suggests that such changes, known as ‘lifestyle activism’, could be understood in a different way, one characterised by suspiciousness towards the belief that human action guided by reason can lead society towards a future that will be better and more affluent. Using a range of case studies from the 1960's to the present day anti-austerity movement, Sotirakopoulos argues that the New Left and its ideological heirs could be understood not so much as a continuation, but as an inversion from the Old Left and, most importantly, from humanistic visions of modernity. /div The book will therefore be ideal reading for students and researchers of political sociology, radical politics, modern political ideologies, contentious politics and political theory and to scholars of new social movements and the New Left. /div