In this provocative book, Susan Bordo untangles the myths, ideologies, and pathologies of the modern female body. Bordo explores our tortured fascination with food, hunger, desire, and control, and its effects on women's lives.
America is experiencing a cultural malaise. As art historians Arthur Pontynen and Rod Miller show in this penetrating new book, our current cultural struggles result from repeated attempts to deny the qualitative foundation for culture that distinguishes civilization from barbarism. Tracing American art, science, and philosophy from the colonial era to the present, WesternCulture at the American Crossroads reveals how a distinctively American culture emerged and where it went wrong. Culture cannot be merely a (...) matter of personal or group preferences; it must be dedicated to the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty. But as Pontynen and Miller skillfully chronicle, modernism and postmodernism have developed dangerously limited understandings of science and reason that do not simply limit art but actually lead to bitter conflict and violence. The authors discuss dozens of works of art and architecture -- many of them featured in this beautifully illustrated work. But WesternCulture at the American Crossroads in no mere art history treatise; it connects many dots in American intellectual history, demonstrating how what a culture believes relates to how it acts and what art it produces. Standing athwart trends that reduce culture to a matter of lifestyle and "taste," WesternCulture at the American Crossroads makes a powerful case that the free and responsible pursuit of wisdom desperately needs to be renewed. Pontynen and Miller ultimately reveal the emerging threats not only to American and Westernculture but to the very possibility of culture itself. - Publisher. (shrink)
By examining selected works by Stephen Gaukroger, Alfred North Whitehead, Lynn White, Jr., Benjamin Farrington, and Paul Gans, the author discusses the formation of Westernculture and the intellectual tools and the social conditions that contributed to its being. He concludes that a metaphysics and a realistic epistemology—based on an ancient Greek confidence in the human intellect, in its ability to reason to truths that acknowledge the immaterial character of human intellection—is required for the West to retain its (...) identity and develop its own culture. (shrink)
Judeo-Christian Westernculture recognizes a legislating, judging and punishing God. The view that a judge separate from man indeed exists, constitutes, among other things, cultural motivation for the pursuit of success, on the one hand, and fear of failure, guilt, on the other. The human-being fears the consequences of judgement, especially those entailing punishment, and attempts with all his might to succeed in the eyes of the judge. This study‟s underlying assumption is that judge-ment constitutes a deep structure (...) in Westernculture and that its religious origins are in the culture‟s Jewish and Christian sources. Although religious judgement under-goes processes of secularization throughout the culture‟s history, it remains a deep cultural construct; while worldviews are deeply embedded in the religious expe-rience, as Jung contends, they have a latent capacity for preservation in the secular experience. A genealogical methodology will be applied to examine the con-cept of judgement. While genealogy deals with the past, its aim is to understand and critique the present reality. The genealogy will scrutinize the Jewish judgement, the Catholic judgement and the Calvinist judgement, while calling attention to their similarities and differences. (shrink)
Considering the basic assumption that the modern Law and State theory does not only bear similarities, but also draws true epistemological parallels to theconstructions of Theology, Hans Kelsen intends to lay bare the ideological meaning that lies at the very core of the traditional dualism which constitutes Law and State into autonomous entities. Taking into account Kelsen´s original perceptions – which are seconded by more recent contributions from Claude Lefort and Hans Lindahl’s political and symbolic concepts and from Carl Schmitt’s (...) notions on political theology – our intention is now to demonstrate the highly conservative role played by the duality of the Law/State structure, whose aim is to remove, from under the sway of legal control, a considerable part of the State’s actions.Herebelow, therefore, we will analyse the very legitimacy of the so-called “Public Law,” which seems to point to a trend towards shunning the legal power regulation. Finally, based on the functional method pioneered by Ernst Cassirer, legal institutions such as “collective will” and “public interest” will be problematised, in order to ascertain whether they contain theological, conservative and authoritarian traits incompatible with the conceptual and substantial unity intrinsic to the Rule of Law. (shrink)
The story of the beliefs and practices called 'magic' starts in ancient Iran, Greece, and Rome, before entering its crucial Christian phase in the Middle Ages. Centering on the Renaissance and Marsilio Ficino - whose work on magic was the most influential account written in premodern times - this groundbreaking book treats magic as a classical tradition with foundations that were distinctly philosophical. Besides Ficino, the premodern story of magic also features Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, Aquinas, Agrippa, Pomponazzi, Porta, Bruno, Campanella, (...) Descartes, Boyle, Leibniz, and Newton, to name only a few of the prominent thinkers discussed in this book. Because pictures play a key role in the story of magic, this book is richly illustrated. (shrink)
Visionary quests to return to the Garden of Eden have shaped Westernculture from Columbus' voyages to today's tropical island retreats. Few narratives are so powerful - and, as Carolyn Merchant shows, so misguided and destructive - as the dream of recapturing a lost paradise. A sweeping account of these quixotic endeavors by one of America's leading environmentalists, Reinventing Eden traces the idea of rebuilding the primeval garden from its origins to its latest incarnations in shopping malls, theme (...) parks and gated communities. With eloquence and insight, Merchant shows how the drive to conquer nature and to explore and settle the globe, springs from this utopian pastoral impulse throughout Western history. Time and again, human manipulation of the environment is our downfall: Eden is achieved by fencing off pristine beauty in national parks and wildlife preserves, while leaving the majority of the earth in ruins. Challenging both narratives, Merchant argues that the green veneer of city-park conservation has become a cover for the corruption of the earth and the neglect of its environment. Reinventing Eden is a bold new way to think about the earth that includes green political parties, sustainable development and a partnership between humans and earth that is nothing short of an ecological revolution. (shrink)
Humanism built Western civilization as we know it today. Its achievements include the liberation of the individual, democracy, universal rights, and widespread prosperity and comfort. Its ambassadors are the heroes of modern culture—Erasmus, Holbein, Shakespeare, Velázquez, Descartes, Kant, Freud. Those who sought to contain humanism’s pride within a frame of higher truth—Luther, Calvin, Poussin, Kierkegaard—could barely interrupt its torrential progress. Those who sought to reform humanism’s tenets from within—Marx, Darwin, and Nietzsche—were tested by the success of their own (...) prophecies. So runs the approved view. It is not shared by John Carroll. Instead, Carroll articulates a disruptive and compelling alternative narrative of the course of Western civilization since the Renaissance and the Reformation contrived to unleash reason, will, and a superhuman man on the world. The West’s five-hundred-year experiment with humanism has failed, he maintains in this bracing study of humanism’s rise to preeminence and its headlong tumble into contradiction, because humans ultimately need some kind of contact with a higher, or metaphysical, order beyond the confines of their time-bound, mundane selves. And if this wasn’t entirely clear before September 11, 2001, Carroll concludes, it surely is now. His provocative and brilliant arguments will challenge received wisdom on every side. (shrink)
From Odysseus' seduction by the song of the Sirens to Oscar Moore's 1991 novel A Matter of Life and Sex , whose protagonist courts death through sex and dies of AIDS, the frustrated relationship between death and desire has fixated the Western imagination. Philosophers have grappled with it and poets have told of its beauty and pain. In this strikingly original work, cultural critic Jonathan Dollimore once again demonstrates his remarkable ability to take on the complex and reveal its (...) relevance with eloquence and grace. Death, Desire and Loss in WesternCulture is a rich testament to our ubiquitous preoccupation with the tangled web of death and desire. In these pages we find nuanced analysis that blends Plato with Shelley, Hölderlin with Foucault. Dollimore, a gifted thinker, is not content to summarize these texts from afar; instead, he weaves a thread through each to tell the magnificent story of the making of the modern individual. An immensely important book, Death, Desire and Loss in WesternCulture is a challenge to the way we understand desire, sexuality, and the very notion of identity. (shrink)
In this article I argue that the four guiding principles of medical ethics?autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice?reflect the values of westernculture, but do not necessarily apply outside of it. Western medical practitioners faced with the care of nonwestern patients need to examine their own prejudices in order to accept, not merely tolerate, other values. Acceptance of the other requires that the doctor welcome the patient as one welcomes a guest, openly and equally, with a willingness to (...) listen and to be changed by the encounter. It is through the nurture of trusting relationships that ethical dilemmas in clinical medicine may be resolved, without recourse to the colonial moral hegemony of the principlist approach. (shrink)
It is only in Western Europe that the whole pattern of culture is to be found in a continuous succession and alternation of free spiritual movements; so that every century of Western history shows a change in the balance of cultural elements, and the appearance of some new spiritual force which creates new ideas and institutions and produces a further movement of social change (Christopher Dawson).
In this paper we articulate a growing awareness within the field of the ways in which medical humanities could be deemed expressive of Western cultural values. The authors suggest that medical humanities is culturally limited by a pedagogical and scholarly emphasis on Western cultural artefacts, as well as a tendency to enact an uncritical reliance upon foundational concepts (such as ‘patient’ and ‘experience’) within Western medicine. Both these tendencies within the field, we suggest, are underpinned by a (...) humanistic emphasis on appreciative or receptive encounters with ‘difference’ among patients that may unwittingly contribute to the marginalisation of some patients and healthcare workers. While cultural difference should be acknowledged as a central preoccupation of medical humanities, we argue that the discipline must continue to expand its scholarly and critical engagements with processes of Othering in biomedicine. We suggest that such improvements are necessary in order to reflect the cultural diversification of medical humanities students, and the geographical expansion of the discipline within non-Western and/or non-Anglophone locations. (shrink)
The paper provides valuable accounts of the general concepts underlying privacy law in both cultures, and great detail about the impact of criminal procedure and evidence rules on privacy in reality rather than legal theory. It is, in this sense, a “realist” approach to privacy, particularly but not exclusively in relation to sexual activity. The distinction which the article draws between the frameworks within which privacy is conceived broadly, self-determination and limited government in the USA, protection of one’s persona in (...) Europe, and reputation in Islamic law. However, the paper argues that Western and Islamic traditions share many of the same concepts about the tests to be applied when deciding how far an intrusion on privacy is justified and value many of the same interests in doing so. At the same time, it will highlight those areas where they differ which are not ones of crucial importance when deciding, for example, what are the proper limits on mass surveillance. Indirectly, this shows that even though there may be stark differences between the cultures on some points, there is enough agreement on some aspects of privacy to make comparisons in relation to issues such as mass surveillance. (shrink)
With his remarkable range of vision, the author takes us on a voyage of discovery that leads from Eden to Fellini, from paradise to parody - plotting the various models of the imagination as: Hebraic, Greek, medieval, Romantic, existential and post-modern.
In this article we aim to show the potential of cross-continental dialogues for a decolonizing feminism. We relate the work of one of the major critics of the Western metaphysical patriarchal order, Luce Irigaray, to the critique of the colonial/modern gender system by the Nigerian feminist scholar Oyĕrónké Oyĕwùmí. Oyĕwùmí's work is often rejected based on the argument that it is empirically wrong. We start by problematizing this line of thinking by providing an epistemological interpretation of Oyĕwùmí's claims. We (...) then draw Irigaray and Oyĕwùmí into conversation, and show how this bolsters and helps to further illuminate and contextualize Oyĕwùmí's critique of gender. But the dialogue between these thinkers also reveals significant limitations of Irigaray's philosophy, namely her presumption of the priority of sexual difference, its rigid duality, and her failure to take into account the inextricable intertwinement of gender and race in the Western patriarchal order. Relating Irigaray's critique of Westernculture's forgetting of sexual difference to Oyĕwùmí's critique hence demonstrates to what extent Irigaray's philosophy remains typically Western and how she therefore fails to escape the paradigm that she is so critical of. (shrink)
In _Images of Savages,_ the distinguished psychologist Gustav Jahoda advances the provocative thesis that racism and the perpetual alienation of a racialized 'other' are a central leagacy of the Western tradition. Finding the roots of these demonizations deep in the myth and traditions of classical antiquity, he examines how the monstrous humanoid creatures of ancient myth and the fabulous "wild men" of the medieval European woods shaped early modern explorers' interpretations of the New World they encountered. Drawing on a (...) global scale the schematic of the Western imagination of its "others," Jahoda locates the persistent identification of the racialized other with cannibalism, sexual abandon and animal drives. Turning to Europe's scientific tradition, Jahoda traces this imagery through the work of 18th century scientists on the relationship between humans and apes, the new racist biology of the 19th century studies of "savagery" as an arrested evolutionary state, and the assignment, especially of blacks, to a status intermediate between humans and animals, or that of children in need of paternal protection from Western masters. Finding in these traditional tropes a central influence upon the most current psychological theory, Jahoda presents a startling historical continuity of racial figuration that persists right up to the present day. Far from suggesting a program for the eradication of racial stereotypes, this remarkable effort nevertheless isolates the most significant barriers to equality buried deep within the Western tradition, and proposes a potentially redemptive self-awareness that will contribute to the gradual dismantling of racial injustice and alienation. Gustav Jahoda demonstrates how deeply rooted Western perceptions going back more than a thousand years are still feeding racial prejudice today. This highly original socio-historical contextualisation will be invaluable to scholars of psychology, sociology and anthropology, and to all those interested in the sources of racial prejudice. (shrink)