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Advancing the Enlightenment in Contemporary Political Theory
How may progressive political theorists advance the Enlightenment after Darwin shifted the conversation about human nature in the 19th century, the Holocaust displayed barbarity at the historical center of the Enlightenment, and 9/11 showed the need to modify the ideals and strategies of the Enlightenment? Kantian Courage considers how several figures in contemporary political theory--including John Rawls, Gilles Deleuze, and Tariq Ramadan--do just this as they continue Immanuel Kant's legacy.Rather than advocate specific Kantian ideas, the book contends that political progressives should embody Kantian courage--a critical and creative disposition to invent new political theories to address the problems of the age. It illuminates Kant's legacy in contemporary intellectual debates; constructs a dialogue among Anglo-American, Continental, and Islamic political theorists; and shows how progressives may forge alliances across political and religious differences by inventing concepts such as the overlapping consensus, the rhizome, and the spaceof testimony. The book will interest students of the Enlightenment, contemporary political theorists and philosophers, and a general audience concerned about the future of the relationship between Islam and the West.
Derrida and the Philosophy of Religion
Kantian Transpositions presents an important new reading of Jacques Derrida’s writings on religion and ethics. Eddis Miller argues that Derrida’s late texts on religion constitute an interrogation of the meaning and possibility of a “philosophy of religion.” It is the first book to fully engage Derrida’s claim, in “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” to be transposing the Kantian gesture of thinking religion “within the limits of reason alone.”
Miller outlines the terms of this “transposition” and reads Derrida’s work as an attempt to enact such a transposition. Along the way, he stakes out new ground in the debate over deconstruction and ethics, showing—against recent interpretations of Derrida’s work—that there is an ethical moment in Derrida’s writings that cannot be understood properly without accounting for the decisive role played by Kant’s ethics. The result is the most sustained demonstration yet offered of Kant’s indispensible contribution to Derrida’s thought.
Karankawa is a collection that explores some of the ways in which we (re)construct our personal histories. Rich in family narratives, myths, and creation stories, these are poems that investigate passage—dying, coming out, transforming, being born—as well as the gaps that also reside in our stories, for, as Rocha suggests, the opportunity to create myths is provided by great silences. Much like the Karankawa Indians whose history works in omissions, Karankawa reconfigures such spaces, engaging with the burden and freedom of memory in order to rework and recontextualize private and public mythologies. First and last, these are poems that honor our griefs and desires, for they keep alive the very things we cannot possess.
Burma and the Politics of Fear
To come to Burma, one of the few places where despotism still dominates, is to take both a physical and an emotional journey and, like most Burmese, to become caught up in the daily management of fear. Based on Monique Skidmore's experiences living in the capital city of Rangoon, Karaoke Fascism is the first ethnography of fear in Burma and provides a sobering look at the psychological strategies employed by the Burmese people in order to survive under a military dictatorship that seeks to invade and dominate every aspect of life.
Skidmore looks at the psychology and politics of fear under the SLORC and SPDC regimes. Encompassing the period of antijunta student street protests, her work describes a project of authoritarian modernity, where Burmese people are conscripted as army porters and must attend mass rallies, chant slogans, construct roads, and engage in other forms of forced labor. In a harrowing portrayal of life deep within an authoritarian state, recovering heroin addicts, psychiatric patients, girl prostitutes, and poor and vulnerable women in forcibly relocated townships speak about fear, hope, and their ongoing resistance to four decades of oppression.
"Karaoke fascism" is a term the author uses to describe the layers of conformity that Burmese people present to each other and, more important, to the military regime. This complex veneer rests on resistance, collaboration, and complicity, and describes not only the Burmese form of oppression but also the Burmese response to a life of domination. Providing an inside look at the madness and the militarization of the city, Skidmore argues that the weight of fear, the anxiety of constant vulnerability, and the numbing demands of the State upon individuals force Burmese people to cast themselves as automata; they deliberately present lifeless hollow bodies for the State's use, while their minds reach out into the cosmos for an array of alternate realities. Skidmore raises ethical and methodological questions about conducting research on fear when doing so evokes the very emotion in question, in both researcher and informant.
The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age
Karl Pearson, founder of modern statistics, came to this field by way of passionate early studies of philosophy and cultural history as well as ether physics and graphical geometry. His faith in science grew out of a deeply moral quest, reflected also in his socialism and his efforts to find a new basis for relations between men and women. This biography recounts Pearson's extraordinary intellectual adventure and sheds new light on the inner life of science.
Theodore Porter's intensely personal portrait of Pearson extends from religious crisis and sexual tensions to metaphysical and even mathematical anxieties. Pearson sought to reconcile reason with enthusiasm and to achieve the impersonal perspective of science without sacrificing complex individuality. Even as he longed to experience nature directly and intimately, he identified science with renunciation and positivistic detachment. Porter finds a turning point in Pearson's career, where his humanistic interests gave way to statistical ones, in his Grammar of Science (1892), in which he attempted to establish scientific method as the moral educational basis for a refashioned culture.
In this original and engaging book, a leading historian of modern science investigates the interior experience of one man's scientific life while placing it in a rich tapestry of social, political, and intellectual movements.
This is the first book-length exploration of Karl Popper’s often-neglected contributions to the philosophy of social science. William A. Gorton situates Popper’s ideas on social inquiry within the broader framework of his thought, including his philosophy of natural science, his ontological theories, and his political thought. Gorton places special attention on Popper’s theory of situational analysis and how it aims to heighten our understanding of the social world by untangling the complex web of human interaction that produces unintended—and often unwanted—social phenomena. Situational analysis, Gorton contends, involves a significant departure from the method of the natural sciences, despite Popper’s plea for the unity of scientific method. Gorton also addresses some common misconceptions concerning Popper’s stance toward economics and Marxism, making the provocative claim that contemporary analytical Marxism provides the best current example of Popperian social science put into practice.
New and Selected Poems
As the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, Karla K. Morton believes that poetry is every man’s art, and has carved her place in Texas Letters with this stunning collection. Her poems take you on a journey; her flowing, storytelling style sparks memories and stirs emotions. This beautiful, linen hardbound book is a word-lover’s dream.
Karma has become a household word in the modern world, where it is associated with the belief in rebirth determined by one’s deeds in earlier lives. This belief was and is widespread in the Indian subcontinent as is the word “karma” itself. In lucid and accessible prose, this book presents karma in its historical, cultural, and religious context.
Initially, karma manifested itself in a number of religious movements—most notably Jainism and Buddhism—and was subsequently absorbed into Brahmanism in spite of opposition until the end of the first millennium C.E. Philosophers of all three traditions were confronted with the challenge of explaining by what process rebirth and karmic retribution take place. Some took the drastic step of accepting the participation of a supreme god who acted as a cosmic accountant, others of opting for radical idealism. The doctrine of karma was confronted with alternative explanations of human destiny, among them the belief in the transfer of merit. It also had to accommodate itself to devotional movements that exerted a major influence on Indian religions.
The book concludes with some general reflections on the significance of rebirth and karmic retribution, drawing attention to similarities between early Christian and Indian ascetical practices and philosophical notions that in India draw their inspiration from the doctrine of karma.
Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South