The Western Illusion of Human Nature

Author: Marshall David Sahlins
Publisher: Prickly Paradigm
ISBN: UCSC:32106017480564
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Social Science

Reflecting the decline in college courses on Western Civilization, Marshall Sahlins aims to accelerate the trend by reducing "Western Civ" to about two hours. He cites Nietzsche to the effect that deep issues are like cold baths; one should get into and out of them as quickly as possible. The deep issue here is the ancient Western specter of a presocial and antisocial human nature: a supposedly innate self-interest that is represented in our native folklore as the basis or nemesis of cultural order. Yet these Western notions of nature and culture ignore the one truly universal character of human sociality: namely, symbolically constructed kinship relations. Kinsmen are members of one another: they live each other's lives and die each other's deaths. But where the existence of the other is thus incorporated in the being of the self, neither interest, nor agency or even experience is an individual fact, let alone an egoistic disposition. "Sorry, beg your pardon," Sahlins concludes, Western society has been built on a perverse and mistaken idea of human nature.

Red Black and Objective

Author: Sal Restivo
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317069935
Release Date: 2016-04-08
Genre: Political Science

Drawing on the empirical findings generated by researchers in science studies, and adopting Kropotkin's concept of anarchism as one of the social sciences, Red, Black, and Objective expounds and develops an anarchist account of science as a social construction and social institution. Restivo's account is at once normative, analytical, organizational, and policy oriented, in particular with respect to education. With attention to the social practices and discourse of science, this book engages with the works of Feyerabend and Nietzsche, as well as philosophers and historians of objectivity to ground an anarchistic sociology of science. Marx and Durkheim figure prominently in this account as precursors of the contemporary science studies perspective on the perennial question, "What is science?" The result is an approach to understanding the science-and-society nexus that is at once an extension of Restivo's earlier work and a novel adaptation of the anarchist agenda. Red, Black, and Objective is an exploration by one of the founders of the science studies movement of questions in theory, practice, values, and policy. As such, it will appeal to those with interests in science and technology studies, social theory, and sociology and philosophy of science and technology.

Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Xunzi

Author: Eric L. Hutton
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9789401777452
Release Date: 2016-11-09
Genre: Religion

This volume presents a comprehensive analysis of the Confucian thinker Xunzi and his work, which shares the same name. It features a variety of disciplinary perspectives and offers divergent interpretations. The disagreements reveal that, as with any other classic, the Xunzi provides fertile ground for readers. It is a source from which they have drawn—and will continue to draw—different lessons. In more than 15 essays, the contributors examine Xunzi’s views on topics such as human nature, ritual, music, ethics, and politics. They also look at his relations with other thinkers in early China and consider his influence in East Asian intellectual history. A number of important Chinese scholars in the Song dynasty (960–1279 CE) sought to censor the Xunzi. They thought that it offered a heretical and impure version of Confuciansim. As a result, they directed study away from the Xunzi. This has diminished the popularity of the work. However, the essays presented here help to change this situation. They open the text’s riches to Western students and scholars. The book also highlights the substantial impact the Xunzi has had on thinkers throughout history, even on those who were critical of it. Overall, readers will gain new insights and a deeper understanding of this important, but often neglected, thinker.

The Language of Economics

Author: Robert E. Mitchell
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783319339818
Release Date: 2016-07-27
Genre: Business & Economics

This Palgrave Pivot demonstrates that the inherited vocabularies of economics and other social sciences contain socially constructed words and theories that bias our very understanding of history and markets, bridging the empirical and moral dimensions of economics in general and inequality in particular. Wealth, GDP, hierarchies, and inequality are socially constructed words infused with moral overtones that academic philosophers and policy analysts have used to raise questions about "fairness" and "justice." This short intellectual and epistemological history explores and elaborates a limited number of key inequality-related terms, concepts, and mental images invented by centuries of economists and others. The author challenges us to question the assumptions made concerning presumably value-free concepts such as inequality, wealth, hierarchies, and the policy goals a nation can be pursuing.

Children s Literature Domestication and Social Foundation

Author: Layla AbdelRahim
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781135104603
Release Date: 2014-12-05
Genre: Literary Criticism

This study of children's literature as knowledge, culture, and social foundation bridges the gap between science and literature and examines the interconnectedness of fiction and reality as a two-way road. The book investigates how the civilized narrative orders experience by means of segregation, domestication, breeding, and extermination, arguing instead that the stories and narratives of wilderness project chaos and infinite possibilities for experiencing the world through a diverse community of life. AbdelRahim engages these narratives in a dialogue with each other and traces their expression in the various disciplines and books written for both children and adults, analyzing the manifestation of fictional narratives in real life. This is both an inter- and multi-disciplinary endeavor that is reflected in the combination of research methods drawn from anthropology and literary studies as well as in the tracing of the narratives of order and chaos, or civilization and wilderness, in children's literature and our world. Chapters compare and contrast fictional children's books that offer different real-world socio-economic paradigms, such as A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh projecting a civilized monarcho-capitalist world, Nikolai Nosov's trilogy on The Adventures of Dunno and Friends presenting the challenges and feats of an anarcho-socialist society in evolution from primitivism towards technology, and Tove Jansson's Moominbooks depicting the harmony of anarchy, chaos, and wildness. AbdelRahim examines the construction, transmission, and acquisition of knowledge in children’s literature by visiting the very nature of literature, culture, and language and the civilized structures that domesticate the world. She brings radically new perspectives to the knowledge, culture, and construction of human beings, making an invaluable contribution to a wide range of disciplines and for those engaged in revolutionizing contemporary debates on the nature of knowledge, human identity, and the world.

Sins and Sinners

Author:
Publisher: BRILL
ISBN: 9789004232006
Release Date: 2012-08-17
Genre: Religion

Sins and Sinners: Asian Perspectives brings together essays by leading scholars of Asian religions to explore the diversity of beliefs about sin and its remedies.

The Great Debate about Art

Author: Roy Harris
Publisher: Prickly Paradigm
ISBN: STANFORD:36105215393112
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Art

In this lucid and insightful essay, renowned linguist Roy Harris reflects on the early nineteenth-century doctrine of “art for art’s sake.” This was attacked by Proudhon and Nietzsche, but defended by Théophile Gautier and E. M. Forster. It influenced movements as diverse as futurism and Dada. Over the past two centuries, three main positions have emerged. The “institutional” view declares art to be a status conferred upon certain works by the approval of influential institutions. The “idiocentric” view gives absolute priority to the judgment of the individual. The third is the “conceptual” view of art, which insists that what counts is the idea that inspired a work, not the physical execution. But as Harris shows, the tacit assumptions which once supported this Debate and these positions have now collapsed. “Art” as a coherent category has imploded, leaving behind a historical residue of empty questions that contemporary society can no longer answer. The Great Debate about Art provides much needed signposts for understanding this sorry state of affairs.

American Counterinsurgency

Author: Roberto J. Gonzalez
Publisher: Prickly Paradigm
ISBN: STANFORD:36105132251948
Release Date: 2009-01-01
Genre: Philosophy

Critiques the Pentagon's Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which offered a blueprint for mobilizing the cultural expertise of anthropologists for the war in Iraq. Explores the ethical and intellectual conflicts of the Pentagon's Human Terrain System, and probes the increasing militarization of academic knowledge.