Before and After 9/11: A Philosophical Examination of Globalization, Terror, and History

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9781441148919: Before and After 9/11: A Philosophical Examination of Globalization, Terror, and History
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A philosophical analysis of the 9/11 events against the ongoing historical background.

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About the Author:

Tom Rockmore is McAnulty College Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA, and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at Peking University, China. He is the author of many books, including Kant and Phenomenology (Chicago, 2010). One of his research interest is the relation between philosophy and politics.

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"In Before and After 9/11 Rockmore offers a much awaited philosophical perspective on the epoch-making events of 9/11. The book is proof of the far-reaching power of analysis and critique that a historically informed philosophy can have on our current reality. Indeed, with this work Rockmore masterfully fulfills the Hegelian claim that philosophy is the rational comprehension of our historical world. Rockmore frames the events of 911 going to the religious roots of G.W. Bush's view of terrorism and discussing Lewis's and Huntington's appraisals of the clash of civilizations, but he also invites us to reflect on the implications of the war on terror in our globalized world." - Angelica Nuzzo, CUNY Brooklyn.
In this highly readable and factually very well documented book, a distinguished philosopher takes a broad view of the major events that have shaped our contemporary political world, putting them in a socioeconomic and historical context that makes much more sense of them than other recent authors with comparable intentions (e.g., S.P. Huntington and B. Lewis, whom he cogently criticizes) have done. It is sure to help stimulate debate, so badly needed today, about just where "we," the global entity of which we are all a part, are headed.- William L. McBride, Arthur G. Hansen Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Purdue University
It continues to be surprising that American philosophers have said little or nothing of consequence regarding 9/11 during the decade following this horrendous event. Tom Rockmore redresses this deficit with a new book entitled, Before and After 9/11, arguing that prevailing conceptual models of analysis, whether political, cultural, or religious, are inadequate apart from a more sophisticated philosophical hermeneutic whereby we can better comprehend the antecedents leading to this historic event and their consequences for America and the world. In order to do so, Rockmore develops what he calls "a model of historical knowledge in which human beings are the actors of human history...[and] because human activity is teleological, directed to realizing goals, history is the record of that activity, hence rational, even in its darkest moments." Rockmore's analysis and interpretation is informed by what he calls "epistemological constructivism," a model heavily influenced by what he takes from Aristotle, Hegel, Marx, and Weber in order to more accurately understand not only the events leading to 9/11, but the economic context of these events, and especially the consequences of the vague and ambiguous American response to 9/11 known as the so-called "global war on terror". Rockmore argues that "economic globalism and Islamic terror are dialectical opposites" — an opposition bringing about "a new social construction" the implications of which are only faintly understood by its principal agents. Professor Rockmore is uniquely qualified to proffer his analyses as to the world historical significance of 9/11 not only because of his extensive and impressive writings on Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Marx, but also because of his current joint appointment with Duquesne University and the University of Peking. Thus Before and After 9/11 is a first-hand philosophical witness of the transformation that has and is taking place during the past decade, and Rockmore's assessment is not to be missed. - Alan M. Olson, Professor, Philosophy of Religion, Boston University.
"Finally we have a full account of America's evolving role in the Middle East that refuses to cast the conflict between Islam and America in simplistic terms. Rockmore explodes the myth that this conflict is all about religion and culture while at the same time showing that religion and culture form the backdrop for understanding how the protagonists in this drama justify their respective actions. Most importantly, this exceptionally well-written and well researched book underscores the primary contradiction between global capitalism, whose propagation has become America's chief national security interest - more traditional Muslim economies. In sum, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the religious, cultural, political, and economic causes underlying America's on-going military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan." - David Ingram, Department of Philosophy, Loyola University.

In this highly readable and factually very well documented book, a distinguished philosopher takes a broad view of the major events that have shaped our contemporary political world, putting them in a socioeconomic and historical context that makes much more sense of them than other recent authors with comparable intentions (e.g., S.P. Huntington and B. Lewis, whom he cogently criticizes) have done. It is sure to help stimulate debate, so badly needed today, about just where “we,” the global entity of which we are all a part, are headed.- William L. McBride, Arthur G. Hansen Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Purdue University
It continues to be surprising that American philosophers have said little or nothing of consequence regarding 9/11 during the decade following this horrendous event.  Tom Rockmore redresses this deficit with a new book entitled, Before and After 9/11, arguing that prevailing conceptual models of analysis, whether political, cultural, or religious, are inadequate apart from a more sophisticated philosophical hermeneutic whereby we can better comprehend the antecedents leading to this historic event and their consequences for America and the world.  In order to do so, Rockmore develops what he calls “a model of historical knowledge in which human beings are the actors of human history...[and] because human activity is teleological, directed to realizing goals, history is the record of that activity, hence rational, even in its darkest moments.”  Rockmore’s analysis and interpretation is informed by what he calls “epistemological constructivism,” a model heavily influenced by what he takes from Aristotle, Hegel, Marx, and Weber in order to more accurately understand not only the events leading to 9/11, but the economic context of these events, and especially the consequences of the vague and ambiguous American response to 9/11 known as the so-called “global war on terror”. Rockmore argues that “economic globalism and Islamic terror are dialectical opposites” – an opposition bringing about “a new social construction” the implications of which are only faintly understood by its principal agents.  Professor Rockmore is uniquely qualified to proffer his analyses as to the world historical significance of 9/11 not only because of his extensive and impressive writings on Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Marx, but also because of his current joint appointment with Duquesne University and the University of Peking.  Thus Before and After 9/11 is a first-hand philosophical witness of the transformation that has and is taking place during the past decade, and Rockmore’s assessment is not to be missed.  - Alan M. Olson, Professor, Philosophy of Religion, Boston University.
"Finally we have a full account of America's evolving role in the Middle East that refuses to cast the conflict between Islam and America in simplistic terms. Rockmore explodes the myth that this conflict is all about religion and culture while at the same time showing that religion and culture form the backdrop for understanding how the protagonists in this drama justify their respective actions. Most importantly, this exceptionally well-written and well researched book underscores the primary contradiction between global capitalism, whose propagation has become America's chief national security interest - more traditional Muslim economies. In sum, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the religious, cultural, political, and economic causes underlying America's on-going military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan." - David Ingram, Department of Philosophy, Loyola University. 

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