Many contemporary American middle schools are stuck in a state of "arrested development," failing to implement the original concept of middle schools to varying, though equally corruptive degrees. The individual chapters of the book outline in detail how to counter this dangerous trend, offering guidance to those who seek immediate, significant, internal reforms before we lose the unique value of middle schools for our nation's adolescents.
This essay argues for a formative, and not simply abstract, aspect to the philosophy of religion by attending to the practices of writing employed in Søren Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous work Repetition . By locating this text within an ethical tradition that focuses upon the practices that form subjects, rather than simply the formulation of a theory, its seemingly literary performances can be viewed as exercises. In particular, this text deploys and transforms the Stoic practices of self writing, in the form of (...) keeping notebooks and letter writing, so as to cultivate capabilities. This indirect ethical instruction does not, however, lead to the formation of autonomous ethical subjects, but to the cultivation of capabilities that are only possible in the relational space of vulnerability, service and dependence. (shrink)
Though the work of René Girard has highlighted the interrelations between sacrifice and sacrality in the contemporary world, it has yet to engage the work of Walter Benjamin and his heir, Giorgio Agamben, whose project concerning the Homo Sacer has aroused interest in contemporary political thought. By focusing on Benjamin's early description of mimesis and its relation to language, a position can be elaborated that steers mimesis clear of its indebtedness to language and towards a ‘purer’ realm of gesture. Benjamin's (...) formulation of a more proper ‘divine’ language of gestures could then be said to coalesce with certain historical-religious proclamations, something that Agamben's work challenges us to consider as a viable, albeit ‘profane’, political and ethical option for humanity. (shrink)
For Derrida, the ‘‘as if’’, as a regulative principle directly appropriated and modified from its Kantian context, becomes the central lynchpin for understanding, not only Derrida's philosophical system as a whole, but also his numerous seemingly enigmatic references to his ‘‘jewishness’’. Through an analysis of the function of the ‘‘as if’’ within the history of thought, from Greek tragedy to the poetry of Wallace Stevens, I hope to show how Derrida can only appropriate his Judaic roots as an act of (...) mourning that seeks to render the lost object as present, ‘‘as if’’ it were incorporated by the subject for whom this act nevertheless remains an impossibility. As Derrida discerns within the poetry of Paul Celan, bringing a sense of presence/presentness to our experiences, and as a confirmation of the subject which the human being struggles to assert, is the poetic task par excellence. It is seemingly also, if Derrida is to be understood on this point, the only option left to a humanity wherein poetry comes to express what religious formulations can no longer justify. (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines the occupational socialization of hairdressers, secretaries andcaterers. It introduces the term moral positioning to analyse aspects of this socialization. Moral positioning refers to a stance which minimizes the economic/instrumental aspects of an occupation, instead emphasizing moral cues and social skills. We argue that the adoption of such a stance is a distortion of the real situation, where economic and instrumental considerations are of great importance. An active development of an awareness of one's social position is precluded. (...) Instead a specific and narrow range of values and interpretations are called on, related to the task in hand; and that these values are utilized as a guise to organize economic practices by way of a perversion of moral imperatives into bureaucratic forms. (shrink)
Like Mises before him, Hayek challenges the validity of socialism as a centrally planned economic regime typically characterized by state ownership of all means of production. What is typical of Hayek's challenge is that he holds that this question is fully theoretical in nature and that it has consequently to be raised and decided as a scientific question. Sketching the historical background of the socialist calculation debate of the 1920s and 1930s, I first show how this debate is linked with (...) the Menger-Wieser Zurechnungsproblem, which indeed constitutes the very topic of Hayek’s 1923 Ph. D. dissertation. I recall that the Pareto-Barone approach based on General Equilibrium Theory (GET) has determined the conceptual framework of this controversy. I then go on to explore Hayek's impracticability argument against market socialism and try to show how it is related to, but different from, Mises’s logical impossibility argument. I argue that the contexts of discussion were completely different in both cases: if Mises was criticizing the possibility of rational economic decisions in a moneyless economy, Hayek was debating against the Lange-Dickinson-Lerner model of market socialism where the prices of first order goods were supposedly fixed following a GET simulation of the competetive market process. The core of Hayek’s line of reasoning is shown to be related to a clever analysis of the notion of ‘data’: the data on which a Central Planification Board is suppose to work out a production and distribution schema for the whole economy are simply unavailable to him because this kind of economic knowledge (which Michael Polanyi calls “tacit knowledge”) cannot be accumulated and stored up anywhere in society, as if the global economy could be directed by a super-brain possessing complete knowledge of every particular situation and able to compute a perfect solution to any economic problem whatsoever.. (shrink)
Contingencies of the early nuclear arms race Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-23 DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9495-z Authors S. S. Schweber, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Science Center 371, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Alex Wellerstein, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Science Center 371, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Ethan Pollock, Department of History, Box N, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Barton J. Bernstein, History Department, Building 200, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2024, USA Michael D. Gordin, (...) History Department, 305 Dickinson Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years has explored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness—buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being. A Handmade Life (...) carries Coperthwaite’s ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life. (shrink)
Europe's leading existential thinkers -- Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus -- all felt that Americans were too self-confident and shallow to accept their philosophy of responsibility, choice, and the absurd. "There is no pessimism in America regarding human nature and social organization," Sartre remarked in 1950, while Beauvoir wrote that Americans had no "feeling for sin and for remorse" and Camus derided American materialism and optimism. Existentialism, however, enjoyed rapid, widespread, and enduring popularity among Americans. No less (...) than their European counterparts, American intellectuals participated in the conversation of existentialism. In Existential America , historian George Cotkin argues that the existential approach to life, marked by vexing despair and dauntless commitment in the face of uncertainty, has deep American roots and helps to define the United States in the twentieth-century in ways that have never been fully realized or appreciated. As Cotkin shows, not only did Americans readily take to existentialism, but they were already heirs to a rich tradition of thinkers -- from Jonathan Edwards and Herman Melville to Emily Dickinson and William James -- who had wrestled with the problems of existence and the contingency of the world long before Sartre and his colleagues. After introducing this concept of an American existential tradition, Cotkin examines how formal existentialism first arrived in America in the 1930s through discussion of Kierkegaard and the early vogue among New York intellectuals for the works of Sartre, Beauvoir, and Camus. Cotkin then traces the evolution of existentialism in America: its adoption by Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison to help articulate the African-American experience its expression in the works of Norman Mailer and photographer Robert Frank its incorporation into the tenets of the feminist and radical student movements of the 1960s and its lingering presence in contemporary American thought and popular culture, particularly in such films as Crimes and Misdemeanors , Fight Club and American Beauty . The only full-length study of existentialism in America, this highly engaging and original work provides an invaluable guide to the history of American culture since the end of the Second World War. (shrink)
In spite of these efforts in the 1920s and 1930s to initiate ongoing research on contraception, the subject of birth control remained a problem of concern primarily to the social activist rather than to the research scientist or practicing physician.80 In the 1930s, as has been shown, American scientists turned to the study of other aspects of reproductive physiology, while American physicians, anxious to eliminate the moral and medical dangers of contraception, only reluctantly accepted birth control as falling within their (...) professional domain.As a result, the problem of cheap, effective, and safe contraception was not solved by these earliest attempts. Consideration of the subject was initiated afresh by private philanthropy after World War II, sparked by a new wave of interest in population studies.81 Summarizing such efforts to support research in the reproductive sciences, a recent Ford Foundation study has noted: “To initiate and sustain serious research in the reproductive sciences has required for more than half a century concerted effort by interested individuals and private organizations, mainly from outside the mainstreams of the biomedical research community.”82The early laboratory research on chemical contraception described in this paper was but one important outcome of the concerted effort made by reformers in the 1920s to eliminate a variety of social problems thought to derive from excessive fertility. Scientific arguments and expertise were employed to advocate reform as well as to define the appropriate solution to such social problems. Scientists were recruited as advocates for the movement, but they were also employed as researchers in laboratory investigations sponsored by these same reformers.Sponsors of these early laboratory studies noted the difficulty of obtaining first-class investigators.83 The routine analyses necessary for such research, as well as the traditional scientific aversion to applied problems, provide only a partial explanation for this response. The real difficulty lay in recruiting investigators to a field (reproduction and human sexuality) that had previously been taboo. Once opened up — first as socially relevant, and finally as scientifically sound — there was much interest in this area, and the appeal to researchers of the scientific issues surrounding fertility and reproduction soon surpassed that of the reforming value of birth control.A survey of the kinds of experimental investigations sponsored by birth control advocates indicates the range of physiological problems explored by contraceptive research. The most definitive work was done on the efficacy and safety of spermicides, but the potential of other contraceptive methods was also examined. Investigators attempted to develop spermatoxins that would effectively immunize women against sperm, and they also tried to elucidate the mechanism of hormonal control of reproduction. In fact, speculations about the possible hormonal manipulation of fertility were expressed at the Seventh International Birth Control Conference held in Zurich in 1930.84In the 1920s, clinical studies were undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the various birth control methods. Laboratory investigators complemented this work by screening spermicides for safety and testing for their ability to kill sperm. There were a variety of birth control preparations on the market (most of which were sold as feminine hygiene products), but no one really knew whether these were effective or even safe.85 Although the physiology of other major organ systems was well advanced, the scientific study of reproductive physiology and contraceptive technology was clearly in its infancy in this period. Routine analyses simply could not be conducted, because the fundamental research establishing baselines had not yet been done. Scientists used this fact to redirect attention to basic research on reproduction.Laboratory research on contraception indicated important unexplored areas for physiological investigation. Social activists, who had encouraged prominent scientists to become interested in both the social value and the genetic implications of birth control, found these investigators revising the goals of their research. The biologists had formed their own network and had begun to seek out funding, reformulating the justification for sponsorship of further investigations. The eugenic motivations underlying these studies, which had initially made them theoretically attractive to biologists, were gradually eroded. Concern with “human evolution” ceded its place to interest in physiological mechanisms. Crew and others began to note that the use of biological theory to justify essentially political decisions had serious limitations. Biologists had become uncomfortable with those very arguments which had originally captured their interest. Recognition of the potential political abuse wrought by applying scientific principles to society was expressed by Crew just one year after the Zurich meeting. Referring to previous assessments of the role of sex in reproduction, he generalized: “In the past the biologist has justified feudalism, Manchester Liberalism, socialism and every other type of social organization and political programme by reference to selected biological phenomena.”86 By 1932 Crew had also begun to question the biological logic of regulated breeding, and had made it clear to his American sponsor that there was no simple correspondence between the practice of birth control and the genetic improvement of the human race.87Biologists further began to recognize, however, that although the hopeful genetic solution to human problems was probably an illusion, contraception still remained one tangible means to alleviate, human misery. Some laboratory scientists, like Crew, acknowledged the applicability of their own particular skills to this problem. For a few brief years, social needs and scientific goals were mutually supportive and closely intertwined. But as laboratory researchers gained interest in the study of reproduction and established their own priorities in this field, they temporarily withdrew from the arena of debate over birth control as an important mechanism for social reform.With the rise of Hitler, the genetic arguments for birth control rapidly lost their appeal. But by that time the scientific problem of how to achieve effective contraception had entered the professional consciousness. Both physicians and scientists began to be aware of birth control as a subject within their domain of expertise, although outside the principal focus of their research. Scientific discussion of birth control permanently altered from a question of justification to a problem of method: How could one achieve reliable and safe contraception? This had been Sanger's and Dickinson's goal from the beginning. Laboratory scientists had indeed been persuaded to undertake this work; this research had in turn affected biologists' perceptions of the whole field of reproductive physiology, encouraging further study of reproductive mechanisms. The promise of new knowledge provided for continued funding of this research, despite the caution by scientists that the social benefits would not be as immediate or as far-reaching as advocates and they themselves had first argued.The activities of birth control activists and their supporting agencies, and the financial backing of private contributors and foundations, notably the Rockefeller philanthropies, provided an important new stimulus to the development of research on the biology of reproduction in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Biologists were able to claim an enlarged realm of issues for scientific study through their activities as advocates and as investigators for the birth control movement. At the same time, they promised as-yet-undiscovered possibilities for regulating human reproduction once its physiology was understood. The knowledge and control that they promised lay in understanding the whole reproductive cycle — not merely in evaluating the toxic effects of presumptive spermicides.Chemical spermicides never summoned the interest of scientists as the contraceptive pill was to do, yet that research did reinforce the widespread perceptions of scientific research as essential to social reform. Spermicide investigations focused research efforts in reproductive biology by challenging traditional taboos, defining problems for further study, and providing laboratory investigators the opportunity to assert the social and scientific value of their own skills. Crew echoed this attitude as he observed in 1934:Man has turned from the adventurous conquest of his environment to the conquest of himself. To-day is the day of biological invention, eagerly used for the control of the undesirable and the unwanted. Sex and reproduction are no longer hedged around by myth and taboo; they are no longer accepted as mysteries that defy understanding. They are matters inviting examination and explanation; they are regarded as expressions of physico-chemical forces, the nature of which is to be displayed. It is accepted that when knowledge is sufficient, control will be absolute, and, though knowledge is not yet sufficient, readers ... must be persuaded to the view that this will not always be so.88The synergism between reproductive biology and social needs has been temporary and sporadic, but recurring, since the 1920s. Scientific research programs have clearly been influenced by issues raised by public debate. Nevertheless, reproductive biologists have continued to assert their own professional goals. For the most part, they have rejected problems without inherent scientific interest and have spurned applied research except as it has had a direct bearing on current research themes. This attitude, apparent among American and British investigators in the 1930s, created the intellectual context for the invention and acceptance of the technically sophisticated oral contraceptive pill. It did not foster the production and improvement of the simple, safe, effective, and cheap vaginal contraceptive desired by early birth control advocates. (shrink)
Plato. Crito.--Mill, J. S. Utilitarianism.--Rawls, J. Two concepts of rules.--Kant, I. Fundamental principles of the metaphysic of morals.--Rawls, J. Justice as fairness.--Benn, S. I. and Peters, R. S. Society and types of social regulation.--Hobbes, T. Leviathan, abridged.--Hayek, F. A. The principles of a liberal social order.--Marx, K. Alienation and its overcoming in Communism.--Lukes, S. Alienation and anomie.--Garver, N. What violence is.--Zinn, H. The force of nonviolence.--Caudwell, C. Pacifism and violence; a study in bourgeois ethics.--Bennett, J. Whatever the consequences.--Foot, P. Abortion (...) and the doctrine of the double effect.--Benn, S. I. Punishment.--Mill, J. S. Selection from On liberty.--Mill, J. S. Selection from Considerations on representative government.--Marcuse, H. The new forms of control.--Mill, J. S. The subjection of women, abridged.--Dickinson, J. A working theory of sovereignty, abridged.--Rawls, J. The justification of civil disobedience. (shrink)
In terms of its impact on Britain, historians have long treated the American Revolution as the poor cousin of the French Revolution. Following E P Thompson's Marxist emphasis on the 1790s as the start of The making of the English working class (1963), scholars have devoted enormous amounts of time and energy to studying British popular politics and intellectual developments in the last decade of the eighteenth century. The American Revolution has traditionally attracted less attention outside American national historiography.
In (...) British history, the American war has been studied mostly as a problem of high politics. British historians have written many fine studies of the complex politics of the 1760s through to the war of 1775-83. While American historians have searched long and hard for long term social and economic causes of their revolution, British historians have tended to view the war as primarily a failure of politics. Ian Christie argued that 'the Revolution was a human tragedy, for which certain men were responsible, more particularly because, in Great Britain, the politicians who had the common sense and vision were out of power (owing to their own weakness and limitations) and those who were in power lacked the vision'. John Cannon has argued that Britain was little affected by the loss of America. Economic ties reconnected after 1783 and Britons moved on with their lives at the centre of an empire that was still strong in the West Indies and Canada, and expanding in the eastern hemisphere.
There have been some impressive studies of the impact of the American Revolution on British popular politics. H T Dickinson has written a number of influential studies of popular politics in the eighteenth century and edited an important volume of essays on _Britain and the American Revolution_ (1988). James E Bradley has analysed a wealth of empirical detail on Dissenting religion and political agitation during the American crisis. Eliga H Gould's _The persistence of empire: British political culture in the age of the American Revolution_ (2000) has provided an insightful study of the strength of loyalism. While of high quality, however, the quantity of such studies has long been dwarfed by the 1790s industry.
In recent years, however, scholars have begun to emphasise the importance of the period before the French Revolution. The impact of war on the development of state and society in the middle decades of the eighteenth century is now attracting attention. In _The British Isles and the War of American Independence_ (2000) Stephen Conway has detailed the significant impact the war had on state and society in Britain. In British history, according to Sarah Knott, 'where once the French Revolution, and its ricochets, was the fin-de-siècle story of transformation, now the years of the American war are the location of all manner of historical change.'. (shrink)