Get Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual PDF

By Barbara Herrnstein Smith

ISBN-10: 0674064925

ISBN-13: 9780674064928

Fact, cause, and objectivity--can we live on with out them? What occurs to legislations, technological know-how, and the pursuit of social justice while such principles and beliefs are rejected? those questions are on the center of the controversies among traditionalists and "postmodernists" that Barbara Herrnstein Smith examines in her wide-ranging booklet, which additionally deals an unique point of view at the perennial--perhaps eternal--clash of trust and skepticism, on our want for highbrow balance and our event of its inevitable disruption. targeting the jointly problematical impasses to which those controversies frequently lead and at the charges--"absurdity," "irrationalism," "complicity," "blindness," "stubbornness"--that in most cases accompany them, Smith stresses our tendency to provide self-flattering purposes for our personal ideals and to or demonize the causes of these who disagree with us. Her account of the ensuing cognitive and rhetorical dynamics of highbrow clash attracts on fresh study and idea in evolutionary biology, neuroscience, developmental psychology, and the background and sociology of technology, in addition to on modern philosophy and language thought. Smith's analyses take her into vital ongoing debates over the opportunity of an target grounding of criminal and political judgments, the continued price of Enlightenment rationalism, major demanding situations to dominant rules of clinical fact, and correct responses to denials of the factuality of the Holocaust. As she explores those and different controversies, Smith develops clean how one can comprehend their causes and energies, and extra confident how you can see the operations of highbrow clash extra more often than not.

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Additional resources for Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy

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By indicating these matters, we might alter the meaning of many of those people's experiences for them and introduce a new set of desires into their desires. We might, in other words, change their "felt experiences and desires" in a direction that we think is preferable; and we will have done so without having "run roughs110d" over those experiences, desires, or people in the process. Moreover, precisely because we do not posit the objective truth of our knowledge and the objective falseness of their consciousness, we might, in the same process, discover something about their experiences and desires that made us change our analyses and proposals.

Look you how pale he glares! Do you see nothing there? Queen: Nothing at all; yet all that is I see. Hamlet, Act III, scene iv Q1testions of evidence-including the idea, still central to what could be called informal epistemology, that our beliefs and claims may be duly corrected by our encounters with autonomously resistant objects (for example, bricks, rocks, facts, and texts themselves)-are inevitably caught up in more general views of how beliefs are produced, maintained, and transformed. 1 In recent years, substantially new accounts of these cognitive dynamics-and, with them, more or less novel conceptions of what we might mean by "beliefs"-have been emerging from various non-philosophical fields (for example, theoretical biology, cognitive and developmental psychology, neuroscience, and the sociology of knowledge) as well as from disciplinary epistemology.

He continues: 'What [Lyotard] thus fails to recognize-for reasons bound up with his doctrinaire postmodernist stance-is the fact that in the great majority of cases there is no such conflict between truth-telling motives ... "21 Perhaps in most cases the conflicts-or differences 22 -of genres, idioms, motives, assumptions, and so on are not especially significant for any of the parties involved. Lyotard, however, is concerned with just those cases where they are. 23 Constructing Knowledge Contrary to recurrent misapprehension and a certain amount of determined misrepresentation, constructivist accounts of the pro- 32 Belief and Resistance duction and stabilization of belief do not maintain or imply that truth is the prize ofpolitical power or just what's handy for someone to believe.

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Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy by Barbara Herrnstein Smith


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