Like the Babylonians, who built the infamous Tower of Babel, social scientists for the past two centuries have been building a tower of sorts, only this time it's composed of knowledge rather than bricks. The primary goal of these scholars — anthropologists, communication scholars, economists, political scientists, sociologists and social psychologists — has been to solve problems of social integration. The Babylonian tower was designed in part to unite people to one geographical area. Similarly, social scientists see their tower of knowledge as a means for solving social problems — such as poverty, crime, drug abuse, inequality, unemployment, abuse of power — that alienate people and groups from modern society.
The Babylonians failed because of divine intervention, according to the Bible. The social scientists aren't finished building their tower. But, according to critics, the results so far look less like a tower of knowledge for solving social problems than an "Ivory Tower of Babel" — one in which social scientists routinely dispute each other's theories and data, and even uncontested or well-supported findings rarely influence public policy. Disputes over the nature of truth and knowledge are so commonplace in the social sciences that many scholars believe a social science which uses methods from the natural sciences is incapable of generating knowledge that can solve social problems.
This book examines the history and philosophy of the social sciences and theoretical and empirical research on the impact of social science. Suggestions are offered at the end for enhancing the impact of the social sciences.
A number of scientific articles and books have been written about the impact (or lack thereof) of the social sciences on public policy, but none has been written specifically to appeal to both academics and a broader market composed of the general public and students in both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses. The author takes the reader on a journey inside one of the best kept secrets in higher education — that much, if not most, of the research conducted in the social sciences has very little impact on public policy or on solving social problems. Are taxpayers getting their money's worth?
Written in the form of a Socratic dialogue, The Republic is an investigation into the nature of an ideal society. In this far-reaching and profoundly influential treatise, Plato explores the concept of justice, the connection between politics and psychology, the difference between words and what they represent, and the roles of art and education, among many other topics. A towering achievement of philosophical insight, The Republic is as relevant to readers today as it was to the citizens of ancient Athens.
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When it was originally published, The Division of Labor in Society was an entirely original work on the nature of labor and production as they were being shaped by the industrial revolution. Emile Durkheim’s seminal work studies the nature of social solidarity and explores the ties that bind one person to the next in order to hold society together.
This revised and updated second edition fluently conveys Durkheim’s arguments for contemporary readers. Leading Durkheim scholar Steve Lukes’s new introduction builds upon Lewis Coser’s original—which places the work in its intellectual and historical context and pinpoints its central ideas and arguments. Lukes explains the text’s continued significance as a tool to think about and deal with problems that face us today. The original translation has been revised and reworked in order to make Durkheim’s arguments clearer and easier to read.
The Division of Labor in Society is an essential resource for students and scholars hoping to deepen their understanding of one of the pioneering voices in modern sociology and twentieth-century social thought.
Life in the modern age began when people no longer lived at the mercy of nature and instead took control of it. We planted crops so we didn’t have to forage, and produced planes, trains, and cars for transport. With televisions and computers, we don’t have to leave home to see the world. Somewhere in that process, the natural tendency of humankind went from one of being and of practicing our own human abilities and powers, to one of having by possessing objects and using tools that replace our own powers to think, feel, and act independently. Fromm argues that positive change—both social and economic—will come from being, loving, and sharing. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Erich Fromm including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.
William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience brings together twenty lectures on the nature of religion, delivered at the University of Edinburgh between 1901 and 1902. Renowned at the time for their practical and even-handed approach to the human experience of religion, the lectures form a sympathetic and analytical portrait not of the church, but of the personalized experiences of religious life. James examines the words of writers and philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Plato to Ralph Waldo Emerson to Marcus Aurelius in his investigations of faith, the soul, and systems of belief. Praised by philosopher Charles Pierce for its “penetration into the hearts of people” and by the New York Times for its ability to stir the sympathies of readers, The Varieties of Religious Experience is a lucid and thought-provoking examination of man’s encounters with God.
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A transformative book about the lives we wish we had and what they can teach us about who we are
All of us lead two parallel lives: the one we are actively living, and the one we feel we should have had or might yet have. As hard as we try to exist in the moment, the unlived life is an inescapable presence, a shadow at our heels. And this itself can become the story of our lives: an elegy to unmet needs and sacrificed desires. We become haunted by the myth of our own potential, of what we have in ourselves to be or to do. And this can make of our lives a perpetual falling-short.
But what happens if we remove the idea of failure from the equation? With his flair for graceful paradox, the acclaimed psychoanalyst Adam Phillips suggests that if we accept frustration as a way of outlining what we really want, satisfaction suddenly becomes possible. To crave a life without frustration is to crave a life without the potential to identify and accomplish our desires.
In this elegant, compassionate, and absorbing book, Phillips draws deeply on his own clinical experience as well as on the works of Shakespeare and Freud, of D. W. Winnicott and William James, to suggest that frustration, not getting it, and and getting away with it are all chapters in our unlived lives—and may be essential to the one fully lived.
The lectures comprising Abnormal begin by examining the role of psychiatry in modern criminal justice, and its method of categorizing individuals who "resemble their crime before they commit it." Building on the themes of societal self-defense in "Society Must Be Defended," Foucault shows how and why defining "abnormality" and "normality" were preorogatives of power in the nineteenth century.
The College de France lectures add immeasurably to our appreciation of Foucault's work and offer a unique window into his thinking.
Throughout The Uses of Pleasure Foucault analyzes an irresistible array of ancient Greek texts on eroticism as he tries to answer basic questions: How in the West did sexual experience become a moral issue? And why were other appetites of the body, such as hunger, and collective concerns, such as civic duty, not subjected to the numberless rules and regulations and judgments that have defined, if not confined, sexual behavior?
This brilliantly conceived and organized book is Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s classic text on the abstract principles and practical applications of Objectivism, based on his lecture series “The Philosophy of Objectivism.” Ayn Rand said of these lectures: “Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff’s course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism—that is, the only one that I know of my knowledge to be fully accurate.”
In Objectivism, Peikoff covers every philosophic topic that Rand regarded as important—from certainty to money, from logic to art, from measurement to sex. Drawn from Rand’s published works as well as in-depth conversations between her and Peikoff, these chapters illuminate Objectivism—and its creator—with startling clarity. With Objectivism, the millions of readers who have been transformed by Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead will discover the full philosophical system underlying Ayn Rand’s work.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
By the author of the modern classic The Black Swan, this collection of aphorisms and meditations expresses his major ideas in ways you least expect.
The Bed of Procrustes takes its title from Greek mythology: the story of a man who made his visitors fit his bed to perfection by either stretching them or cutting their limbs. It represents Taleb’s view of modern civilization’s hubristic side effects—modifying humans to satisfy technology, blaming reality for not fitting economic models, inventing diseases to sell drugs, defining intelligence as what can be tested in a classroom, and convincing people that employment is not slavery.
Playful and irreverent, these aphorisms will surprise you by exposing self-delusions you have been living with but never recognized.
With a rare combination of pointed wit and potent wisdom, Taleb plows through human illusions, contrasting the classical values of courage, elegance, and erudition against the modern diseases of nerdiness, philistinism, and phoniness.
“Taleb’s crystalline nuggets of thought stand alone like esoteric poems.”—Financial Times
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Everyone blames his memory, no one his judgment.
Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.
It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are
We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us.
The more than 500 brief musings included here make for entertaining and thought-provoking reading. This invaluable collection will also serve as a sourcebook for writers, speakers, or anyone who needs a quick quip.
Nicholson finds people who walk only at night, or naked, or in the shape of a cross or a circle, or for thousands of miles at a time, in costume, for causes, or for no reason whatsoever. He examines the history and traditions of walking and its role as inspiration to artists, musicians, and writers like Bob Dylan, Charles Dickens, and Buster Keaton. In The Lost Art of Walking, he brings curiosity, imagination, and genuine insight to a subject that often strides, shuffles, struts, or lopes right by us.
Each of us exists in three-dimensional, physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection.
Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives?
Laurence Scott—hailed as a “New Generation Thinker” by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC—shows how this four-dimensional life is dramatically changing us by redefining our social lives and extending the limits of our presence in the world. Blending tech-philosophy with insights on everything from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, Scott stands with a rising generation of social critics hoping to understand our new reality. His virtuosic debut is a revelatory and original exploration of life in the digital age.
Edited by a noted Nietzsche scholar, this authoritative compendium is a vital assembly of nearly all of Nietzsche's early works. Marking the advent of his mature philosophy, these aphorisms and prose poems examine the impulses that lead human beings to seek the comforts of religion, morality, metaphysics, and art. Nietzsche proposes greater individualism and personality development, addresses issues of society and family, and discusses visions of free spirits with the courage to be rid of idealist prejudices. Written in his distinctive, often paradoxical style, The Dawn of Day presents practically every theme touched upon in Nietzsche's later philosophical essays. It is an essential guide and a fundamental basis for the understanding of the great philosopher and his work.
Challenging readers to consider the human condition and our own choices, Galeano elevates the little-known heroes of our world and decries the destruction of the intellectual, linguistic, and emotional treasures that we have all but forgotten.
Readers will discover many inspiring narratives in this collection of vignettes: the Brazilians who held a "smooch-in" to protest against a dictatorship for banning kisses that "undermined public morals;" the astonishing day Mexico invaded the United States; and the "sacrilegious" women who had the effrontery to marry each other in a church in the Galician city of A Coruna in 1901. Galeano also highlights individuals such as Pedro Fernandes Sardinha, the first bishop of Brazil, who was eaten by Caete Indians off the coast of Alagoas, as well as Abdul Kassem Ismael, the grand vizier of Persia, who kept books safe from war by creating a walking library of 117,000 tomes aboard four hundred camels, forming a mile-long caravan.
Beautifully translated by Galeano's longtime collaborator, Mark Fried, Children of the Days is a majestic humanist treasure that shows us how to live and how to remember. It awakens the best in us.
David Swartz focuses on a central theme in Bourdieu's work—the complex relationship between culture and power—and explains that sociology for Bourdieu is a mode of political intervention. Swartz clarifies Bourdieu's difficult concepts, noting where they have been misinterpreted by critics and where they have fallen short in resolving important analytical issues. The book also shows how Bourdieu has synthesized his theory of practices and symbolic power from Durkheim, Marx, and Weber, and how his work was influenced by Sartre, Levi-Strauss, and Althusser.
Culture and Power is the first book to offer both a sympathetic and critical examination of Bourdieu's work and it will be invaluable to social scientists as well as to a broader audience in the humanities.
In this compelling account, the French Revolution stands once again as a culmination of the emancipatory and democratic ideals of the Enlightenment. That it ended in the Terror represented a betrayal of those ideas—not their fulfillment.
Starting with his polemic against Kant's ethics of duty, Schopenhauer anticipates the latter-day critics of moral philosophy. Arguing that compassion forms the basis of morality, he outlines a perspective on ethics in which passion and desire correspond to different moral characters, behaviors, and worldviews. In conclusion, Schopenhauer defines his metaphysics of morals, employing Kant's transcendental idealism to illustrate both the interconnectiveness of being and the affinity of his ethics to Eastern thought.
The study of anthropology, as presented in Anthropology of Sport and Human Movement, provides a scope that offers a critical and discerning perspective on the complex calculus involving human biological and cultural variation that produces human movement and performance. Each chapter of this compelling collection resonates with the theme of a tightly woven relationship of biology and culture, of evolutionary implications and contemporary biological and cultural expression.
In Familiar Strangers, Gotham Chopra travels from China, Sri Lanka, and Kashmir to Chechnya and the Yucatán in search of answers to these age-old spiritual questions. Everywhere he goes, he encounters people who have had to dig within themselves to survive horrible realities and bear heart-wrenching losses. From his New York to Los Angeles flight on September 11, 2001 to a harrowing week spent among young boys toting guns in the contested hills of Kashmir and a sojourn in a small Yucatán village where he witnesses firsthand the collision between the romance of the past and the uncertain promise of the future, Chopra shares the wisdom, idealism, and sense of purpose he found in ordinary people living under extraordinary circumstances.
Rich in drama and insights into cultures far different from our own, the stories Chopra recounts articulate, as well, anxieties and fears we all share. While acknowledging that his travels often take him to the extreme edges of civilized society, Chopra shows that the questions that arise in times of peril or in the face of great dangers are not so different from what many of us ask in the course of our daily lives–whether after a grueling eighty-hour work week, a six-hour exam, or a fiery argument with a lover. The challenge, he argues, is to use these moments of revelation as the first step in moving beyond self-imposed fears and limits and embracing new opportunities for spiritual growth.
From the Hardcover edition.
The book is divided into two major sections. The first part summarizes Ayn Rand’s philosophy with respect to three basic areas of inquiry: (1) knowing and the known, (2) personal value and the nature of man, and (3) the ethics of objectivism. The second part consists primarily of a critical analysis of the ideas presented in the earlier pages.
The purpose of the study is to deal with Ayn Rand’s basic premises; only secondary consideration is given to the way in which these premises apply to specific problems in such areas as politics, economics and esthetics. Throughout, O’Neill is less concerned with criticizing what Rand says than with determining whether what she says makes sense in terms of established procedures for rational and semantic analysis and with respect to generally accepted principles for the scientific verification of evidence.
In this classic introduction to existentialist thought, French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir’s The Ethics of Ambiguity simultaneously pays homage to and grapples with her French contemporaries, philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, by arguing that the freedoms in existentialism carry with them certain ethical responsibilities. De Beauvoir outlines a series of “ways of being” (the adventurer, the passionate person, the lover, the artist, and the intellectual), each of which overcomes the former’s deficiencies, and therefore can live up to the responsibilities of freedom. Ultimately, de Beauvoir argues that in order to achieve true freedom, one must battle against the choices and activities of those who suppress it.
The Ethics of Ambiguity is the book that launched Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist and existential philosophy. It remains a concise yet thorough examination of existence and what it means to be human.
Mark Sundeen's new book, The Unsettlers, is coming in January 2017 from Riverhead Books
In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings-all thirty dollars of it-in a phone booth. He has lived without money-and with a newfound sense of freedom and security-ever since. The Man Who Quit Money is an account of how one man learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent. Suelo doesn't pay taxes, or accept food stamps or welfare. He lives in caves in the Utah canyonlands, forages wild foods and gourmet discards. He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs-for shelter, food, and warmth-but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement. In retracing the surprising path and guiding philosophy that led Suelo into this way of life, Sundeen raises provocative and riveting questions about the decisions we all make, by default or by design, about how we live-and how we might live better.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In his previous national bestsellers, The Discoverers and The Creators , Daniel J. Boorstin first told brilliantly how e discovered the reality of our world, and then he celebrated man's achievements in the arts. He now turns to the great figures in history who sought meaning and purpose in our existence.
Boorstin says our Western culture has seen three grand epics of Seeking. First there was the heroic way of prophets and philosophers--men like Moses or Job or Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as those in the communities of the early church universities and the Protestant Reformation--seeking salvation or truth from the god above or the reason within each of us.
Then came an age of communal seeking, with people like Thucydides and Thomas More and Machiavelli and Voltaire pursuing civilization and the liberal spirit.
Finally, there was an age of the social sciences, when man seemed ruled by the forces of history. Here are the absorbing stories of exceptional men such as Marx, Spengler, and Toynbee, Carlyle and Emerson, and Malraux, Bergson, and Einstein.
These great thinkers still have the power to speak to us, not always so much for their answers as for their way of asking the questions that never cease either to intrigue or to obsess us.
In this impressive climax to a monumental trilogy, Daniel J. Boorstin once again shows that his ability to present challenging ideas, coupled with sharp portraits of great writers and thinkers, remains unparalleled.
From the Hardcover edition.
The fifth edition retains from previous editions an illuminating interpretation of the enduring relations between the social sciences and philosophy, and reflects on developments in social research over the past two decades that have informed and renewed debate in the philosophy of social science. An expanded discussion of philosophical anthropology and modern and postmodern critical theory is new for this edition.
In this provocative cri de coeur, the philosopher John Armstrong rescues the idea of civilization from irrelevance and connects it to our search for individual happiness. "Civilization" once referred to a society's technological prowess, its political development, or its cultural achievement. In the modern era, however, the word became burdened by the legacy of colonialism and connotations of elitism. For it to have value once again, according to Armstrong, we must understand that a society balances material prosperity with spiritual prosperity if it is to merit the term "civilized"—and currently we are impoverished.
In Search of Civilization is his corrective. As he roams from anecdote to aesthetic appreciation—from the banality of an early job at an insurance company to the redemptive wonders of a seventeenth-century church spire visible out an office window, from Adam Smith's philosophy to the Japanese tea ceremony—Armstrong reminds us that culture lies within us and that its nourishment is essential to a flourishing society.
What does it mean for someone to be an asshole? The answer is not obvious, despite the fact that we are often personally stuck dealing with people for whom there is no better name. Try as we might to avoid them, assholes are found everywhere—at work, at home, on the road, and in the public sphere. Encountering one causes great difficulty and personal strain, especially because we often cannot understand why exactly someone should be acting like that.
Asshole management begins with asshole understanding. Much as Machiavelli illuminated political strategy for princes, this book finally gives us the concepts to think or say why assholes disturb us so, and explains why such people seem part of the human social condition, especially in an age of raging narcissism and unbridled capitalism. These concepts are also practically useful, as understanding the asshole we are stuck with helps us think constructively about how to handle problems he (and they are mostly all men) presents. We get a better sense of when the asshole is best resisted, and when he is best ignored—a better sense of what is, and what is not, worth fighting for.
The book has three sections—the first, on picturebooks; the second, on chapter books; and the third, on two sets of paired readings of two very popular picturebooks. By means of its three sections, the book sets forth as its goal to show how philosophy can be helpful in reappraising books aimed at children from early childhood on. Particularly in the third section, the book emphasizes how philosophy can help to multiply the type of interpretative stances that are possible when readers listen again to what they thought they knew so well.
The kinds of questions this book raises are the following: How are children’s books already anticipating or articulating philosophical problems and discussions? How does children’s literature work by means of philosophical puzzles or language games? What do children’s books reveal about the existential situation the child reader faces?
In posing and answering these kinds of questions, the readings within the book thus intersect with recent, developing scholarship in children’s literature studies as well as in the psychology and philosophy of childhood.
Drawing on history, politics, psychology, literature, pop culture, and current events, this book--a best seller in France--exposes and dissects these paradoxes. With his customary brilliance and wit, Bruckner traces the roots of sexual liberation back to the Enlightenment in order to explain love's supreme paradox, epitomized by the 1960s oxymoron of "free love": the tension between freedom, which separates, and love, which attaches. Ashamed that our sex lives fail to live up to such liberated ideals, we have traded neuroses of repression for neuroses of inadequacy, and we overcompensate: "Our parents lied about their morality," Bruckner writes, but "we lie about our immorality."
Mixing irony and optimism, Bruckner argues that, when it comes to love, we should side neither with the revolutionaries nor the reactionaries. Rather, taking love and ourselves as we are, we should realize that love makes no progress and that its messiness, surprises, and paradoxes are not merely the sources of its pain--but also of its pleasure and glory.