In Black Mass, celebrated philosopher and critic John Gray explains how utopian ideals have taken on a dangerous significance in the hands of right-wing conservatives and religious zealots. He charts the history of utopianism, from the Reformation through the French Revolution and into the present. And most urgently, he describes how utopian politics have moved from the extremes of the political spectrum into mainstream politics, dominating the administrations of both George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and indeed coming to define the political center. Far from having shaken off discredited ideology, Gray suggests, we are more than ever in its clutches. Black Mass is a truly frightening and challenging work by one of Britain's leading political thinkers.
At the heart of human experience lies an obsession with the nature of death. Religion, for most of history, has provided an explanation for human life and a vision of what comes after it. But in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such beliefs came under relentless pressure as new ideas—from psychiatry to evolution to communism—seemed to suggest that our fate was now in our own hands: humans could cease to be animals, defeat death, and become immortal.
In The Immortalization Commission, the acclaimed political philosopher and critic John Gray takes a brilliant and frightening look at humankind's dangerous striving toward a scientific version of immortality. Probing the parallel faiths of Bolshevik "God-builders," who sought to reshape the planet and psychical researchers, who believed they had evidence of a nonreligious form of life after death, Gray raises fascinating questions about how such beliefs threaten the very nature of what it means to be human. He looks to philosophers, journalists, politicians, charlatans, and mass murderers who all felt driven by a specifically scientific and modern worldview and whose revolt against death resulted in a series of experiments that ravaged whole countries.
An urgent examination of Darwin's post-religious legacy, The Immortalization Commission is an important work from "one of Britain's leading public intellectuals" (The Wall Street Journal).
"By nature volatile and discordant, the human animal looks to silence for relief from being itself while other creatures enjoy silence as their birthright."
In a book by turns chilling and beautiful, John Gray continues the thinking that made his Straw Dogs such a cult classic.
Gray draws on an extraordinary array of memoirs, poems, fiction, and philosophy to re-imagine our place in the world. Writers as varied as Ballard, Borges, Conrad, and Freud have been mesmerized by forms of human extremity—experiences that are on the outer edge of the possible or that tip into fantasy and myth. What happens to us when we starve, when we fight, when we are imprisoned? And how do our imaginations leap into worlds way beyond our real experiences?
The Silence of Animals is consistently fascinating, filled with unforgettable images and a delight in the conundrum of human existence—an existence that we decorate with countless myths and ideas, where we twist and turn to avoid acknowledging that we too are animals, separated from the others perhaps only by our self-conceit. In the Babel we have created for ourselves, it is the silence of animals that both reproaches and bewitches us.
In his brilliantly enjoyable and freewheeling new book, John Gray draws together the religious, philosophic, and fantastical traditions that question the very idea of human freedom. We flatter ourselves about the nature of free will and yet the most enormous forces—logical, physical, metaphysical—constrain our every action. Many writers and intellectuals have always understood this, but instead of embracing our condition we battle against it, with everyone from world conquerors to modern scientists dreaming of a "human dominion" almost comically at odds with our true state.
Filled with wonderful examples and drawing on the widest possible reading (from the Gnostics to Philip K. Dick), The Soul of the Marionette is a stimulating and engaging meditation on everything from cybernetics to the fairground marionettes of the title.
Gray wrote Enlightenment’s Wake in 1995 – six years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and six years before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Turning his back on neoliberalism at exactly the moment that its advocates were in their pomp, trumpeting 'the end of history' and the supposedly unstoppable spread of liberal values across the globe, Gray’s was a lone voice of scepticism. The thinking he criticised here would lead ultimately to the invasion of Iraq. Today, its folly might seem obvious to all, but as this edition of Enlightenment’s Wake shows, John Gray has been trying to warn us for some fifteen years – the rest of us are only now catching up with him.
All the major thinkers and themes of the New Right are examined, together with many major issues of current public policy - such as the growth of the underclass, the future of the welfare state and the role of government in education and culture. The author also argues that there are deep affinities between conservative ideology and Green thought. He advances radical proposals for the preservation and renewal of common life for an age in which the ideals of modernism, including continuous economic growth, are decreasingly viable. He expresses his conviction that conservative philosophy will find its future in dissociating itelf from the neo-liberalism that has lately dominated policy, and returning to the task of redefining traditional values.
The book brings together for the first time the results of over 300 research studies, both from the UK and further afield. It identifies the key factors related to schooling which impact upon young people’s development and affect their wellbeing. These include: the extent to which they feel ‘connected’ with school, their relationships with teachers and with their peers, their sense of the school as a learning community, and the ways in which they respond to the pressures of academic work. What matters is how schools bring these elements together to create a strong ‘culture of support’.
The Supportive School documents how schools handle young people, particularly at the key transition point from primary to secondary school, as well as the ways in which they respond to their pastoral and other concerns. It also places the UK’s much-criticised ‘performance’ on wellbeing issues in an international context and asks challenging questions about how far the UK is lagging behind.
Schools are currently under considerable pressure to give greater attention to issues of wellbeing. The overriding message from The Supportive School is that how schools approach these issues can make a difference to young people’s lives and emotional wellbeing.
John Gray's new book gives post-liberal theory a more definite content. It does so by considering particular thinkers in the history of political thought, by criticizing the conventional wisdom, liberal and socialist, of the Western academic class, and most directly by specifying what remains of value in liberalism. The upshot of this line of thought is that we need not regret the failure of foundationalist liberalism, since we have all we need in the historic inheritance of the institutions of civil society. It is to the practice of liberty that these institutions encompass, rather than to empty liberal theory, that we should repair.
Neoliberalism and Applied Linguistics argues that while applied linguistics has become more interdisciplinary in orientation, it has ignored or downplayed the role of political economy, namely the way in which social, political and economic factors relate to one another within the context of a capitalist economy. The authors take the view that engagement with political economy is central to any fully rounded analysis of language and language-related issues in the world today and their collaboration in this volume represents an initial attempt to redress what they perceive to be an imbalance in the field.
The book begins with a discussion of neoliberalism and an analysis of the ways in which neoliberal ideology impacts on language. This is followed by a discussion of how globalization and identity have been conceptualised in applied linguistics in ways which have ignored the political centrality of class – a concept which the authors see as integral to their perspective. The book concludes with an analysis of the ways in which neoliberal ideology plays out in two key areas of applied linguistics - language teaching and language teacher education.
Neoliberalism and Applied Linguistics is essential reading for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers in applied linguistics.
The new edition is intended as a contribution to the current debate about the foundations of liberalism, and it looks closely at the recent seminal contributions to liberal thought by Raz, Feinberg, Rawls and Berlin. Central to its argument is Gray's contention that, like other liberalisms that ground themselves on an ideal of autonomy or individuality, Millian liberalism has a Eurocentric bias that cannot be given rational justification. Gray addresses the question of whether any form of liberal theory, can, in fact, avoid the bias, and concludes that it cannot.
This book will be indispensable both to those familiar with On Liberty and to those coming to it for the first time. In addition, the book will also be of great interest to moral and political theorists, to students of law and jurisprudence and to intellectual historians.
This book brings together the twenty-eight research surveys, specially commissioned from sixty-five leading academics in the areas under scrutiny and now revised and updated, to create what is probably the most comprehensive overview and evaluation of research in primary education yet published. A particular feature is the prominence given to international and comparative perspectives. With an introduction from Robin Alexander, the Review’s director, the book is divided into eight sections, covering:
children’s lives and voices: school, home and community
children’s development, learning, diversity and needs
aims, values and contexts for primary education
the structure and content of primary education
outcomes, standards and assessment in primary education
teaching in primary schools: structures and processes
teaching in primary schools: training, development and workforce reform
policy frameworks: governance, funding, reform and quality assurance.
The Cambridge Primary Review Research Surveys is an essential reference tool for professionals, researchers, students and policy-makers working in the fields of early years, primary and secondary education.