Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault

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9781592476466: Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
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Tracing postmodernism from its roots in Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant to their development in thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Richard Rorty, philosopher Stephen Hicks provides a provocative account of why postmodernism has been the most vigorous intellectual movement of the late 20th century. Why do skeptical and relativistic arguments have such power in the contemporary intellectual world? Why do they have that power in the humanities but not in the sciences? Why has a significant portion of the political Left -- the same Left that traditionally promoted reason, science, equality for all, and optimism -- now switched to themes of anti-reason, anti-science, double standards, and cynicism? Explaining Postmodernism is intellectual history with a polemical twist, providing fresh insights into the debates underlying the furor over political correctness, multiculturalism, and the future of liberal democracy.

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About the Author:

Stephen Hicks is a Professor of Philosophy at Rockford College, Illinois. A native of Toronto, Canada, he received his Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington. He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., a visiting scholar at the social Philosophy and Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, and a senior fellow at the Objectivist Center in New York. He is co-editor of Readings for Logical Analysis (W.W. Norton & Co.) and has published widely in academic journals and other publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Baltimore Sun.


"By the end of the book, the reader may remain ill at ease with the postmodernist malaise, but Hicks's lucid account will demystify the subject. Hicks's impressive grasp of the history of philosophy over the past few centuries enables to explain postmodernism by identifying its signposts. He lets sensitive analysis of the memorable episodes of postmodernism speak to the essential issues that drive it. His treatment of the importance of Kant s skepticism in getting the postmodernist engine going down the track is especially instructive." --Professor Curtis Hancock, Review of Metaphysics (December 2005)

"Readers of Explaining Postmodernism will find much to reflect upon and engage with in the pages of this lucid study of the background, themes, and consequences of postmodernist thought and practice. With clarity, concision, and an engaging style, Hicks exposes the historical roots and philosophical assumptions of the postmodernist phenomenon. More than that, he raises key questions about the legacy of postmodernism and its implications for our intellectual attitudes and cultural life." --Professor Steven Sanders, Reason Papers (Spring 2006)

"Stephen Hicks has written a trenchant and provocative book on a vital topic. ... Though I have at times disagreed with Hicks, he has an excellent eye for essential issues and his views always repay careful consideration." --Dr. David Gordon, The Mises Review (Fall 2005)

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