New Ways of Knowing: The Sciences, Society, and Reconstructive Knowledge

Front Cover
In this volume, physicists and social scientists challenge the bedrock of scientific thinking whose applications can prove destructive to existing social systems, and shift the debate to the need for a radical change of direction that would replace traditional "value-free" inquiry and research with a knowledge model that incorporates social responsibility, democratic principles, and comprehensive ethical standards. Presented in this book is a form of inquiry--reconstructive knowledge--concerned with the assumptions and practices of modern science and the politics of scientific discipline. Essays included are: (1) "Reconstruction and Its Knowledge Method" (Marcus Raskin); (2) "Idols of Modern Science and the Reconstruction of Knowledge" (Herbert Bernstein); (3) "Toward a Reconstructive Political Science" (Raskin, Bernstein); (4) "Exchanges on Reconstructive Knowledge" (Noam Chomsky, Raskin); (5) "Ending the Faustian Bargain (Raskin); (6) "The Human Meaning of the Information Revolution" (Michael Goldhaber); (7) "The Selling of Market Economics" (Edward Herman); (8) "Semiotic Boundaries and the Politics of Meaning: Modernity on Tour--A Village in Transition" (Susan Buck-Morss); (9) "Seizing Power/Grasping Truth" (Joseph Turner); and (10) "Conclusion: A Manifesto of Reconstructive Knowledge" (Raskin). The themes of the social construction of reality, the social sciences' ability to determine fates and fortunes, the linkage between the realms of knowledge generation and of political direction, and that economics as a discipline is a rule of human organization (not nature), are included. (KR)

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About the author (1987)

Marcus Goodman Raskin was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 30, 1934. He studied politics at the University of Chicago and later graduated from the university's law school. After law school, he worked on the staff of Representative Robert W. Kastenmeier in Washington. Raskin was part of a group that wrote The Liberal Papers, a book of essays that examined the future of liberal politics. He joined the staff of McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy's national security adviser, in 1961. He was moved to the Bureau of the Budget in 1962. In 1963, Raskin and Richard J. Barnet started the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank that became a source of research about nuclear disarmament, the Vietnam War, economic inequality, civil rights, and national security. Raskin stepped down as director of the institute in 1978, but continued to write, fund-raise, and formulate ideas for social action. He co-wrote several books including Washington Plans an Aggressive War: A Documented Account of the United States Adventure in Indochina written with Richard J. Barnet and Ralph Stavins and The Four Freedoms Under Siege written with Robert Spero. He died from heart failure on December 24, 2017 at the age of 83.

Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1928. Son of a Russian emigrant who was a Hebrew scholar, Chomsky was exposed at a young age to the study of language and principles of grammar. During the 1940s, he began developing socialist political leanings through his encounters with the New York Jewish intellectual community. Chomsky received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. He conducted much of his research at Harvard University. In 1955, he began teaching at MIT, eventually holding the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Language and Linguistics. Today Chomsky is highly regarded as both one of America's most prominent linguists and most notorious social critics and political activists. His academic reputation began with the publication of Syntactic Structures in 1957. Within a decade, he became known as an outspoken intellectual opponent of the Vietnam War. Chomsky has written many books on the links between language, human creativity, and intelligence, including Language and Mind (1967) and Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use (1985). He also has written dozens of political analyses, including Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Chronicles of Dissent (1992), and The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (1993).

Edward Samuel Herman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 7, 1925. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the Wharton School of Business in 1958 and taught finance there until he retired in 1989. He wrote and co-wrote several books including Corporate Control, Corporate Power: A Twentieth Century Fund Study, The Global Media written with Robert McChesney, and The Political Economy of Human Rights and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, both written with Noam Chomsky. He died from complications of bladder cancer on November 11, 2017 at the age of 92.

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