Postmodern Rationality, Social Criticism, and Religion / Edition 1

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Overview

"This is an excellent, exciting work that performs the invaluable service of situating some of the most important thinkers of the last century and a half in one overarching account of the uses and abuses of ‘instrumental rationality' and the consequences for genuine human spirituality and interpersonal relationships. It marks the detailed theoretical payoff on the promise of Religion,
Ontotheology, and Deconstruction and on Huston Smith's popular
Why Religion Matters." —David Taffel, author of Nietzsche Unbound:
The Struggle for Spirit in the Age of Science
"...should be required reading for all philosophy graduate students.
Indeed, it should be required reading for graduate students in both the humanities and social sciences. In clear and concise language he explores and explains the differences in approach and perspective of those of the modern school of social analysis and those writers of the post-modern school of social criticism. Ruf's point that there is much to be learned by reading the works of scholars of both schools... . Persons interested in the history of Western intellectual thought will be well served by reading Postmodern Rationality, Social Criticism, and
Religion." —Bill E. Lawson, Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University
"It is the rare philosopher today who can write such a clear and panoramic study of the relevance of pragmatism and postmodernism for today. This wonderful book will engage the general reader and scholar alike with its accessibility and insights born of years of careful reading and thinking." —Roderick M.
Stewart, Professor of Philosophy, Austin College

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Editorial Reviews

Book News - Assigned Reviewer
"...explains some of the ways philosophers have been trying to make sense of things over the past 150 years. ...analyzes, criticizes, selectively appropriates, and reconstructs writings of existentialists, social and cultural critics, pragmatists, and postmodernists in order to find a coherent interpretation of the current human form of life and its future possibilities."
author of Critical Resistance - David Hoy
"Henry Ruf’s book displays impressive scholarship and lucid exposition. The accounts of Rorty, Derrida, and Foucault were particularly valuable to me. This is an important contribution to current social theory that should help to establish religion at the heart of postmodern theory. The book also establishes Ruf as a major philosopher in the intersection of religion and continental social theory."
author of Nietzsche Unbound - David Taffel
"This is an excellent, exciting work that performs the invaluable service of situating some of the most important thinkers of the last century and a half in one overarching account of the uses and abuses of 'instrumental rationality' and the consequences for genuine human spirituality and interpersonal relationships. It marks the detailed theoretical payoff on the promise of Religion, Ontotheology, and Deconstruction and on Huston Smith's popular Why Religion Matters."
Michigan State University - Bill E. Lawson
"...should be required reading for all philosophy graduate students. Indeed, it should be required reading for graduate students in both the humanities and social sciences. In clear and concise language he explores and explains the differences in approach and perspective of those of the modern school of social analysis and those writers of the post-modern school of social criticism. Ruf's point that there is much to be learned by reading the works of scholars of both schools.... Persons interest
Stony Brook University - Kelley Oliver
"In his impressive new book Postmodern Rationality, Social Criticism and Religion, Henry Ruf gracefully takes up some of the most pressing questions of our age: What is the relation between science and religion? How can we negotiate different religions and cultural belief systems? How can a notion of reason accommodate the differences between peoples and cultures? The breadth and dexterity of Ruf's textual engagements is magnificent. And the clarity of his style and insight make this book not on
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557788399
  • Publisher: Paragon House Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Series: Paragon Issues in Philosophy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Henry L. Ruf is adjunct professor of English and Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at West Virginia University. He is the author of Investigating Philosophy and Moral Investigations and has contributed numerous articles to magazines such as The Philosophical Forum and Philosophical Studies.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Chapter One Introduction
  I. Locating Texts in Historical Time
  II. Dialogue in a Pluralistic World
  III. Ordinary People in Dialogue with Texts by Intellectual "Experts"
  IV. Defending a Postmodern Interpretation of Rationality Itself
  V. Institutionalized Obstacles to Reading Postmodern Texts Dialogically
Chapter Two The Debate Between Modernism and Postmodernism
  I. What Is the Modernism that Postmodernism Opposes?
  II. Early Postmodern Criticisms of Modernism
    A. Kierkegaard’s and Nietzsche’s Existential Rejections of Metaphysical Explanations
    B. Classical Pragmatism’s Rejection of Modernist Theories of Knowledge
  III. Modernist Counterattacks with "Sciences of Meaning"
  IV. Postmodernist Social and Historical Interpretations of Language
    A. Wittgenstein’s Dissolution of Modernist Problems with Meaning
    B. Heidegger’s Descriptions of Experiential Meaning
    C. Postmodernism as Poststructuralism
  V. Derrida’s Deconstruction of Modernist Theories of Signs
  VI. Foucault’s Interpretation of Discourse
  VII. Neopragmatism’s Challenges to Modernist Theories
Chapter Three Postmodernism’s Passion for Personal Freedom and Beauty
  I. Postmodernism’s Appropriation of Earlier Freedom Fighters
  II. Kierkegaard as Social/Cultural Critic
  III. Nietzsche’s Critique of Social/Cultural Barriers to Free Life
  IV. Heidegger on Revolutionizing Decadent Western Culture
  V. Foucault’s Ethic of Self-Discipline in the Practice of Freedom
  VI. Zizek on Working through Our Cravings for Unity and Enjoyment
Chapter Four Postmodernism’s Resistance to Social Oppression and Domination
  I. A Postmodernist Marxist Call for the Democratization of Economic Practices
  II. Postmodernist Elements in Habermas’s Search for a Democratizing of Governmental Policymaking
  III. Foucault’s Challenge for Local Resistance to the Social Practices Making Domination Possible
  IV. American Intellectual Freedom Fighters
    A. Alvin Gouldner
    B. Iris Marion Young
    C. bell hooks
    D. Lucius Outlaw and Michael Eric Dyson
    E. Cornell West
Chapter Five Postmodernist Interpretations of Faithfulness to Religious Encounters
  I. Kierkegaard on Faithful Response to the Invasion of the Nonrational Infinite into the Rational Finite
  II. Levinas on the Priority of Ethical Face-to-Face Interpersonal Encounters to Social Practices
  III. Zizek on Revolutionary Christianity
  IV. A Postmodernist Interpretation of Buddhist and Mystic Traditions
    A. Mark Taylor on Sacred Alterity and a Divine Milieu
    B. Huston Smith on the God of Mysticism as the Necessary Condition for Everything Finite
  V. A Postmodern Fusion of Pragmatic Rationality and Existential Religion: A Wittgensteinian Interpretation of Everyday Religious Discourse
Notes
Bibliography
Glossary
Index
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