Rethinking prejudice

Ashgate (2000)
Authors
Andreas Dorschel
Goethe University Frankfurt
Abstract
The expulsion of prejudice is the centrepiece of intellectual progress, as it has been understood since the Enlightenment. that this fight has not been successful since is obvious, but this does not invalidate it. There is no reason to believe that people in the 20th century had fewer (rather than merely different) prejudices than people had in the 18th century; yet we might simply conclude that the fight has not been conducted resolutely enough. The question whether or not this might be the right conclusion, however, depends on an answer to a more fundamental question; whether prejudices, as such, are a proper object to fight against in the first place. The argument of this book, is an attempt to show that they are not. The author begins by reconstructing the Enlightenment's main objection to prejudice, challenging the conclusion that all prejudices must be destroyed and focusing on the context of decision and action. The book goes on to consider the relationship between prejudice and experience, and explores a particular defence of prejudice developed in hermeneutics. A final chapter drives home the general conclusion of the book. To make the case for a reinterpretation of the concept of prejudice, it addresses particularly contentious issues, exploring dogmatism, fundamentalism and racist prejudices.
Keywords prejudice  Enlightenment  hermeneutics  dogmatism  stupidity
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