Modernity on Endless Trial

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 23, 1997 - History - 261 pages
Leszek Kolakowski delves into some of the most intellectually vigorous questions of our time in this remarkable collection of essays garnished with his characteristic wit. Ten of the essays have never appeared before in English.

"Exemplary. . . . It should be celebrated." —Arthur C. Danto, New York Times Book Review

"This book . . . express[es] Kolakowski's thought on God, man, reason, history, moral truth and original sin, prompted by observation of the dramatic struggle among Christianity, the Enlightenment and modern totalitarianism. It is a wonderful collection of topics." —Thomas Nagel, Times Literary Supplement

"No better antidote to bumper-sticker thinking exists than this collection of 24 'appeals for moderation in consistency,' and never has such an antidote been needed more than it is now." —Joseph Coates, Chicago Tribune

"Whether learned or humorous, these essays offer gems in prose of diamond hardness, precision, and brilliance." —Thomas D'Evelyn, The Christian Science Monitor

A "Notable Books of the Year 1991" selection, New York Times Book Review—a "Noted with Pleasure" selection, New York Times Book Review—a "Summer Reading 1991" selection, New York Times Book Review—a "Books of the Year" selection, The Times.
 

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Modernity on endless trial

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These "semiphilosophical sermons'' by a University of Chicago social theorist consider topics from markets to myth, the devil to Kantian personhood. Ten of the 24 essays have not appeared previously ... Read full review

Contents

The Illusions of Cultural
14
The Intellectuals
32
Why Do We Need Kant?
44
In Praise of Exile
55
The Revenge ofthe Sacred in Secular Culture
63
Can the Devil Be Saved?
75
On the SoCalled Crisis of Christianity
86
The Illusion of Demythologization
95
The Idolatry of Politics
146
The SelfPoisoning ofthe Open Society
162
Politics and the Devil
175
Irrationality in Politics
192
Marxism and Human Rights
204
Revolutiona Beautiful Sickness
215
Why an Ideology Is Always Right
231
The General Theory of NotGardening
240

The Death of Utopia Reconsidered
131

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About the author (1997)

Leszek Kolakowski (1927-2009) was professor of philosophy at the University of Warsaw until the Polish political crisis of March 1968 when he was formally expelled. He then moved to universities in North America and the United Kingdom. From 1981 to 1994 he was a professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the department of philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is best known for his critical analyses of Marxist thought, especially his three-volume history, Main Currents of Marxism (1976). In his later work, he increasingly focused on philosophical and religious questions. He was the author of numerous books.

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