Postmodernism Rightly Understood: The Return to Reason in American Thought

Overview

Postmodernism Rightly Understood is a dramatic return to realism—a poetic attempt to attain a true understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the postmodern predicament. Prominent political theorist Peter Augustine Lawler reflects on the flaws of postmodern thought, the futility of pragmatism, and the spiritual emptiness of existentialism. Lawler examines postmodernism by interpreting the writings of five respected and best selling American authors—Francis Fukuyama, Richard Rorty, Allan Bloom, Walker ...

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Overview

Postmodernism Rightly Understood is a dramatic return to realism—a poetic attempt to attain a true understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the postmodern predicament. Prominent political theorist Peter Augustine Lawler reflects on the flaws of postmodern thought, the futility of pragmatism, and the spiritual emptiness of existentialism. Lawler examines postmodernism by interpreting the writings of five respected and best selling American authors—Francis Fukuyama, Richard Rorty, Allan Bloom, Walker Percy, and Christopher Lasch. Lawler explains why the alternatives available in our time are either a 'soulless niceness,' which Fukuyama, Rorty, and Bloom described as the result of modern success, or a postmodern moral responsibility that accompanies love in the ruins, as articulated by Percy and Lasch. This is a fresh and compelling look at the crisis of the human soul and intellect accompanied by the onset of postmodernity.

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Editorial Reviews

The Weekly Standard
...admirably ambitious...

But Lawler is a gadfly—of that distinctively southern sort, with an eviable combination of intelligence, learning and wit.

Lawler's account far surpasses the leading scholarship on Percy.
— Steven J. Lenzner, Political Theorist, Cambridge, Massachussetts

Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Lively and engaging . . . represents something of great importance to the authenticity and reality of modern realism. . . . Lawler has, I think, presented a very powerful argument about the real needs of postmodernity.
— James V. Schall, Georgetown University
American Political Science Review
Deeply serious and richly thought-provoking
— Thomas Pangle
Modern Age
Since many conservatives might be intimidated by such a risky and ambitious project, they can be greatful that Peter Augustine Lawler has shown them the way in his new book. It challenges religious and cultural conservatives to take postmodernism away from the academic Left and to develop it themselves—"rightly understood," of course. Each essay is elegantly writtnen, the five esays hang together nicely because of the way Lawler frames the unifying isuue...
The Weekly Standard - Steven J. Lenzner
...admirably ambitious...

But Lawler is a gadfly—of that distinctively southern sort, with an eviable combination of intelligence, learning and wit.

Lawler's account far surpasses the leading scholarship on Percy.

Robert P. Kraynak
Lawler challenges us to take Post-Modernism away from the academic left and give it to those who see the end of the modern Enlightenment as an opportunity for recovering the truth about God and man formerly known as "moral and metaphysical realism. His work inspires hope that our age of disillusionment can be followed a new age of faith.
The Weekly Standard - Steve Lenzner
Postmodernism Rightly Understood is an admirable, and admirably ambitious, book. Not the least of its ambitions is to show what it is about the character of modern life—and "postmodern" thought— that

renders it so difficult to address the twin problems of love and death and why our humanity requires that we make the effort. Lawler employs an enviable mix of intelligence, learning and wit to make his case. For this reason alone, Postmodernism Rightly Understood deserves to be read widely and debated thoroughly, and not simply by academics.

James V. Schall
Lively and engaging . . . represents something of great importance to the authenticity and reality of modern realism. . . . Lawler has, I think, presented a very powerful argument about the real needs of postmodernity.
Kenneth Deutsch
Lawler's book on a number of contrasting writers on post-war society and politics of the West is an excellent one. I found Lawler's chapters on Fukuyama, Percy, and Lasch to be models of intellectually provocative commentary. Postmodernism Rightly Understood is a necessary panegyric for competent and dignified citizens for our times.
Perspectives on Political Science, Vol. 29, No. 2 - Paul Howard
Enlightening treatment of contemporary American intellectual thought in Postmodernism Rightly Understood. The work will be eminently interesting not only to specialists in political philosophy and specialists in political philosophy and students of postmodernism, but even to casual observers of American letters.
American Political Science Review - Thomas Pangle
Deeply serious and richly thought-provoking
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847694259
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/5/1999
  • Series: American Intellectual Culture Series
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Augustine Lawler is professor of government at Berry College and associate editor of Perspectives on Political Science, is the author and editor of eight books and over 100 articles and chapters.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Francis Fukuyama versus the End of History 15
2 Allan Bloom's Ineffectual Response to Richard Rorty 41
3 Walker Percy's Twentieth-Century Thomism 77
4 Sex, Drugs, Politics, Love, and Death 115
5 Moral Realism versus Therapeutic Elitism 157
6 The Return to Realism 179
Index 189
About the Author 195
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