In this Book

Punctum Books
summary
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” These words from Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming” provide Why the Center Can’t Hold with its organizing theme. And although Yeats was describing the grim atmosphere of post-World War I Europe, O’Neill regards the poem’s pronouncements as eerily predictive of the state of the world as we are currently observing it. O’Neill takes them as predictive of the agency in particular of the United States—the “Center”—in bringing about in the world the more general chaos we are now observing (relative to various refugee and migrant crises, the emergence of sophisticated and even postmodern forms of militant and cyber terrorism, banking and other monetary crises, environmental catastrophes under the aegis of climate change, the defunding of public higher education, the persistence of virulent forms of racism and other types of intolerance, the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, the marginalisation and even outright elimination of human labor forces, etc.). O’Neill provides historical analyses that illuminate why this is the case, and he also asks what changes in the United States — in its politics, in its socio-cultural formations, and in its beliefs and (supposedly common) values — might help us to avoid the inevitable (and lamentable) destruction that seems ahead

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title, Copyright
  2. pp. i-viii
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Dedication, Epigraph
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Section One Signs of Accelerating Incoherence
  2. pp. 1-2
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  1. 1. Our Accelerating Disinvestment in Education
  2. pp. 3-30
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  1. 2. The Growing Ascendance of the Rich
  2. pp. 31-72
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  1. 3. Our Tenaciously Expanding Belief in Force
  2. pp. 73-140
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  1. 4. The Sense Nature Can Take Whatever We Dish Out
  2. pp. 141-166
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  1. 5. How the Signs of Incoherence Cohere in Pointing Toward Disintegration
  2. pp. 167-186
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  1. Section Two Convenient Skepticisms as Facilitators of Incoherence
  2. pp. 187-190
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  1. 6. Skepticism About History
  2. pp. 191-208
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  1. 7. Skepticism About Beauty
  2. pp. 209-216
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  1. 8. Skepticism About Morality
  2. pp. 217-226
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  1. 9. Skepticism About Anything Being Known Absolutely (Absolute Skepticism)
  2. pp. 227-236
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  1. Section Three False Hopes Regarding an Escape From Incoherence
  2. pp. 237-238
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  1. 10.“Fundamentalism Will Save Us!”
  2. pp. 239-270
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  1. 11. “God Will Save Us From Ourselves!”
  2. pp. 271-280
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  1. 12.“The Next Election (Or the One After That) Will Save Us!”
  2. pp. 281-296
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  1. 13. “I’ve Decided to Be a Survivor!”
  2. pp. 297-302
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 303-334
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 335-338
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  1. About the Author
  2. pp. 339-340
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 341-350
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780692725474
MARC Record
OCLC
1183730412
Pages
364
Launched on MUSE
2020-08-14
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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