Questioning Authority: Political Resistance and the Ethic of Natural Science

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Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2011 - Political Science - 164 pages
The West is currently witnessing the slow destruction of the classical liberal tradition. The casualties are reason, the willingness to question political or religious authority, and the validity of natural science. Replacing these are a crippling intellectual relativism, political apathy, and a grave misunderstanding of natural science and its concomitant ethic. In this work, Diana M. Judd gets to the root of the matter by directly addressing the following questions: What is modern natural science? What effect did it have on how we think about politics? What are the dangers surrounding the marginalization of natural science and the liberal intellectual and political tradition? This is a work of political theory. It seeks to engage the political by addressing the question first posed by the ancient Greeks: How ought we to live? If we have indeed entered the age of endarkenment where religious dogma, intellectual apathy, and unquestioned authority increasingly hold sway, there is a need now, more than ever, to explore the meaning and significance of the origins of the modern political and scientific traditions Americans take for granted. It is from these traditions that Americans received the ideas of legitimate political resistance, reason, individual rights, religious freedom, and natural science. The importance of modern natural science and its relationship to these tenets of classical liberalism is the central concern of this book. Claims that science is dogmatic and ideological, and that the tenets of liberalism divide individuals, have become commonplace. It is Judd's intention to show how these claims err, by exploring what natural science is and how it evolved. This ethic centers on the radical idea that authority must be questioned. We ignore this to our peril. If individuals do not question what leaders say, we abdicate the rights and responsibility of self-rule and individual freedom.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1
21
Chapter 2
41
Chapter 3
65
Chapter 4
87
Chapter 5
107
Chapter 6
121
Conclusion
135
Bibliography
143
Index
147
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Page 15 - ... and offered to fulfill my every wish, I would not have known what to wish for. If in moments of intoxication I should have not desires but the habits of old desires, in moments of sobriety I knew that it was all a delusion, that I really desired nothing. I did not even want to discover truth anymore because I had guessed what it was. The truth was that life is meaningless. It was as though I had lived a little, wandered a little, until I came to the precipice, and I clearly saw that there was...
Page 22 - I came to know their life, the life of those who are living and of others who are dead of whom I read and heard, the more I loved them and the easier it became for me to live. So I went on for about two years, and a change took place in me which had long been preparing and the promise of which had always been in me. It came...
Page 12 - But strange to say, though I understood this fraud and renounced it, yet I did not renounce the rank these people gave me : the rank of artist, poet, and teacher. I naively imagined that I was a poet and artist and could teach everybody without myself knowing what I was teaching and I acted accordingly.

About the author (2011)

"Diana M. Judd" is professor of political science at William Paterson University. She is chair of the modern political theory section of the Northeastern Political Science Association and her areas of specialization include political philosophyand theory, American political thought, and international relations.

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