Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings

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Doubleday Canada, Jul 7, 2009 - Political science - 496 pages
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The essential thoughts of today’s most provocative philosopher.

Why is the human reason to blame for the worst crimes of the twentieth century?
Why is progress a pernicious myth?
Why is contemporary atheism just a hangover from Christian faith?

John Gray, author of Straw Dogs and Black Mass, is one of the most original and iconoclastic thinkers of our time. In this pugnacious and brilliant collection of essays from across his career, he smashes through humanity’s most cherished beliefs to overturn our view of the world and our place in it.

From Gray’s Anatomy:
“If humans are different from other animals, it is chiefly in being governed by myths, which are not creations of the will but creatures of the imagination.”

“All prevailing philosophies embody the fiction that human life can be altered at will. Better aim for the impossible, they say, than submit to fate. Invariably, the result is a cult of human self-assertion that soon ends in farce.”
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Modus vivendi
21
John Stuart Mill and the idea of progress
52
Santayanas alternative
62
Oakeshott as a liberal
78
Notes towards a definition of the political
87
the value of decency 9 5
95
George Soros and the open society
108
The original modernizers
261
The Jacobins of Washington
275
a modest proposal
280
A modest defence of George W Bush
286
Evangelical atheism secular Christianity
292
PART FIVE After Progress
306
An agenda for Green conservatism
307
Joseph Conrad our contemporary
384

Hayek as a conservative
123
A conservative disposition
132
The strange death of Tory England
161
ri Tony Blair neocon
172
PART THREE From PostCommunism to Deglobalization
190
The system of ruins
191
Cultural origins of Soviet Communism
205
a fictionalist deconstruction
209
The end of history again? 21 7
217
What globalization is not
224
The world is round
248
PART FOUR Enlightenment and Terror
260
Theodore Powys and the life of contemplation 39 t 27 Homo rapiens and mass extinction
397
A report to the Academy
404
The body disassembled in Damien Hirst
410
As it is 41 3
413
Notes
418
Acknowledgements
443
263
451
280
453
286
456
292
459
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About the author (2009)

John Gray is Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics. From 1998 to 2007 he was Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. He is the acclaimed author of Black Mass: How Religion Led the World into Crisis, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, and False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism.

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