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  1.  13
    Democracy and the Epistemic Limits of Markets.Kevin J. Elliott - 2019 - Critical Review 31 (1):1-25.
    ABSTRACTA recent line of argument insists that replacing democracy with markets would improve social decision making due to markets’ superior use of knowledge. These arguments are flawed by unrealistic assumptions, unfair comparisons, and a neglect of the epistemic limits of markets. In reality, the epistemic advantages of markets over democracy are circumscribed and often illusory. A recognition of markets’ epistemic limits can, however, provide guidance for designing institutions in ways that capture the advantages of both.
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  2.  6
    Ideas, Ideology, and the Roots of the Islamic State.Mohammad Fadel - 2019 - Critical Review 31 (1):83-94.
    ABSTRACTThe ideals that gave rise to Daesh are not so much those of pre-modern Sunni Islam, including Salafism, as they are the ideals that post-colonial Arab states have propagated since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In contravention to long-established ideals of Islamic law, post-colonial Arab states have attempted to legitimate their own despotisms through a formal commitment to a certain kind of Islamic normativity. Inasmuch as Islam provides a ready political discourse to resist despotism, it is unsurprising that pan-Arab (...)
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  3.  37
    Against Epistocracy.Paul Gunn - 2019 - Critical Review 31 (1):26-82.
    ABSTRACTIn Against Democracy, Jason Brennan argues that public ignorance undermines the legitimacy of democracy because, to the extent that ignorant voters make bad policy choices, they harm their own and one another’s interests. The solution, he thinks, is epistocracy, which would leave policy decisions largely in the hands of social-scientific experts or voters who pass tests of political knowledge. However, Brennan fails to explain why we should think that these putative experts are sufficiently knowledgeable to avoid making errors as damaging (...)
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  4.  10
    Dangerous Ideas: The Force of Ideology and Personality in Driving Radicalization.Steffen Hertog - 2019 - Critical Review 31 (1):95-101.
    ABSTRACTGraeme Wood’s The Way of the Strangers gets as close as is humanly possible to an ethnography of recruiters and sympathizers of the Islamic State. Contrary to much writing on radical Islamism, Wood convincingly shows that the Islamic State’s ideas—rooted in a literalist reading of ancient Islamic sources—are central in motivating many of the movement’s followers. His accounts of individual adherents also suggests, however, that ideas are not the only factor, as certain personality traits influence who is attracted to radical (...)
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  5.  15
    Do Religious Ideas Cause Violence?Mark Juergensmeyer - 2019 - Critical Review 31 (1):102-112.
    ABSTRACTSocial science seldom takes religion seriously. Graeme Wood shows the folly of this neglect in The Way of the Strangers, his portrayal of the apocalyptic religious ideas held by some of the most ardent ISIS followers. The actions and devotion of members of the Islamic State cannot be understood without grasping what Wood is telling us. Still, a central question remains: Do these religious ideas inevitably lead to violence? Here the jury is still out, since a focus solely on religion, (...)
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  6.  10
    Knowing and Not Knowing ISIS.J. Judd Owen - 2019 - Critical Review 31 (1):113-122.
    ABSTRACTGraeme Wood’s The Way of the Strangers suggests that many scholars have denied or downplayed the Islamic State’s own account of its emphatically religious foundation. This tendency is heir to the Enlightenment strategy of defanging illiberal religion by claiming that only religions conforming to liberal principles are genuinely religious—raising anew questions that arose at the dawn of liberalism, in the wake of the Wars of Religion.
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  7.  4
    ISIS and Ideology: Reply to Fadel, Hertog, Juergensmeyer, and Owen.Graeme Wood - 2019 - Critical Review 31 (1):123-134.
    ABSTRACTMy critics and I agree that ideology is understudied, though I think it is the most important factor while they reserve a lesser role for it. Hertog’s analysis of personality traits is suggestive and valuable, though it illuminates a path that leads to the Islamic State's ideology rather than to its violence. Owen correctly identifies the challenge the Islamic State – and other forms of revivalist religion – pose for Lockean toleration. Fadel's swerve toward an “ideology” of Arab despotism is (...)
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