Download and Read Online Cynical Theories How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race Gender And Identityand Why This Harms Everybody Book
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"Outlines the origin and evolution of postmodern thought over the last half century and argues that the unchecked spread and application of postmodern ideas -- from academia, to activist circles, to the public at large - presents an authoritarian ideological threat not only to liberal democracy but also to modernity itself"--
BOOK OF THE YEAR in The Times, the Sunday Times and the Financial Times Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge the very logic of Western society? Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay document the evolution of the dogma behind these ideas, from its origins in French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields. Today this dogma is recognisable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and social-media pile-ons, as by its assertions, which are all too often taken as read: knowledge is a social construct; science and reason are tools of oppression; all human interactions are sites of oppressive power play; and language is dangerous. As they warn, the unchecked proliferation of these beliefs present a threat to liberal democracy. While acknowledging the need to challenge the complacency of those who think a just society has been fully achieved, Pluckrose and Lindsay break down how often-radical activist scholarship does far more harm than good, not least to those marginalised communities it claims to champion.
This is a book about ideas. Specifically, this is a book about the evolution of a certain set of ideas, and how these ideas have come to dominate every important discussion about race, gender, and identity today. Have you heard someone refer to language as literal violence, or say that science is sexist? Or declare that being obese is healthy, or that there is no such thing as biological sex? Or that valuing hard work, individualism, and even punctuality is evidence of white supremacy? Or that only certain people—depending on their race, gender, or identity—should be allowed to wear certain clothes or hairstyles, cook certain foods, write certain characters, or play certain roles? If so, then you've encountered these ideas. As this reader-friendly adaptation of the internationally acclaimed bestseller Cynical Theories explains, however, the truth is that many of these ideas are recent inventions, are not grounded in scientific fact, and do not account for the sheer complexity of social reality and human experience. In fact, these beliefs often deny and even undermine the very principles on which liberal democratic societies are built—the very ideas that have allowed for unprecedented human progress, lifted standards of living across the world, and given us the opportunity and right to consider and debate these ideas in the first place! Ultimately, this is a book about what it truly means to have a just and equal society—and how best to get there. Cynical Theories is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Named a 2020 Book of the Year by The Times, Sunday Times, and Financial Times, it is being translated into more than fifteen languages.
Book How to Have Impossible Conversations Description/Summary:
"This is a self-help book on how to argue effectively, conciliate, and gently persuade. The authors admit to getting it wrong in their own past conversations. One by one, I recognize the same mistakes in me. The world would be a better place if everyone read this book." -- Richard Dawkins, author of Science in the Soul and Outgrowing God In our current political climate, it seems impossible to have a reasonable conversation with anyone who has a different opinion. Whether you're online, in a classroom, an office, a town hall -- or just hoping to get through a family dinner with a stubborn relative -- dialogue shuts down when perspectives clash. Heated debates often lead to insults and shaming, blocking any possibility of productive discourse. Everyone seems to be on a hair trigger. In How to Have Impossible Conversations, Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay guide you through the straightforward, practical, conversational techniques necessary for every successful conversation -- whether the issue is climate change, religious faith, gender identity, race, poverty, immigration, or gun control. Boghossian and Lindsay teach the subtle art of instilling doubts and opening minds. They cover everything from learning the fundamentals for good conversations to achieving expert-level techniques to deal with hardliners and extremists. This book is the manual everyone needs to foster a climate of civility, connection, and empathy.
Book Everybody Is Wrong About God Description/Summary:
A call to action to address people's psychological and social motives for a belief in God, rather than debate the existence of God With every argument for theism long since discredited, the result is that atheism has become little more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. Thus, engaging in interminable debate with religious believers about the existence of God has become exactly the wrong way for nonbelievers to try to deal with misguided—and often dangerous—belief in a higher power. The key, author James Lindsay argues, is to stop that particular conversation. He demonstrates that whenever people say they believe in "God," they are really telling us that they have certain psychological and social needs that they do not know how to meet. Lindsay then provides more productive avenues of discussion and action. Once nonbelievers understand this simple point, and drop the very label of atheist, will they be able to change the way we all think about, talk about, and act upon the troublesome notion called "God."
Book A Critique of Anti-racism in Rhetoric and Composition Description/Summary:
A Critique of Anti-racism in Rhetoric and Composition: The Semblance of Empowerment critiques current antiracist ideology in rhetoric and composition, arguing that it inadvertently promotes a deficit-model of empowerment for both students and scholars. Erec Smith claims that empowerment theory—which promotes individual, communal, and strategic efficacy—is missing from most antiracist initiatives, which instead often abide by what Smith refers to as a "primacy of identity”: an over-reliance on identity, particularly a victimized identity, to establish ethos. Scholars of rhetoric, composition, communication, and critical race theory will find this book particularly useful.
Are your kids being indoctrinated in school? Unfortunately, it’s increasingly likely. From “social justice” to critical race theory, and from advocacy and activism campaigns to planned “action weeks,” teachers and schools nationwide are abandoning neutrality in the classroom, embracing political agendas and partisan aims, and expecting students to get on board. Meanwhile, students with doubts or misgivings decline to voice objections due to fears of lowered grades, impacted college recommendation letters, social ostracism, “cancellation,” public shaming, ridicule, and other formal and informal means of “correcting” them and making them toe the ideological line. Is this what we want for our kids? Will this kind of “education” produce able citizens or independent thinkers capable of self-government? The range of opinion has been narrowing in higher education for some time; now, heavy-handed thought constriction and chilled speech are choking our secondary, middle, and even elementary schools. The situation is dire—and America urgently needs a response. This book provides the tools we need to confront and remove hidden agendas, to uproot and reject educational biases, and to restore balance and integrity to America’s classrooms. It’s time to undoctrinate our schools!
Book Critical Theory: The Key Concepts Description/Summary:
Critical Theory: The Key Concepts introduces over 300 widely-used terms, categories and ideas drawing upon well-established approaches like new historicism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and narratology as well as many new critical theories of the last twenty years such as Actor-Network Theory, Global Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Speculative Realism. This book explains the key concepts at the heart of a wide range of influential theorists from Agamben to Žižek. Entries range from concise definitions to longer more explanatory essays and include terms such as: Aesthetics Desire Dissensus Dromocracy Hegemony Ideology Intersectionality Late Capitalism Performativity Race Suture Featuring cross-referencing throughout, a substantial bibliography and index, Critical Theory: The Key Concepts is an accessible and easy-to-use guide. This book is an invaluable introduction covering a wide range of subjects for anyone who is studying or has an interest in critical theory (past and present).
Life is short, and it can be sweet. Contemplating death is looking into a mirror that allows us to see these simple facts clearly, as if for the first time. We have every reason to believe that we have but one life to live—and no good reasons to believe otherwise—and death marks the termination of each life. Examining this reality opens doors to understanding ourselves, each other, connection, love, and life itself in an entirely new way. Life in Light of Death offers a short exploration of the sweetness and opportunity available to those who understand and embrace this fact. By looking at life as reflected by death, we can see what really matters and how best to live.
In 1996 physicist Alan Sokal published an essay in Social Text--an influential academic journal of cultural studies--touting the deep similarities between quantum gravitational theory and postmodern philosophy. Soon thereafter, the essay was revealed as a brilliant parody, a catalog of nonsense written in the cutting-edge but impenetrable lingo of postmodern theorists. The event sparked a furious debate in academic circles and made the headlines of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. Now in Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Sokal and his fellow physicist Jean Bricmont expand from where the hoax left off. In a delightfully witty and clear voice, the two thoughtfully and thoroughly dismantle the pseudo-scientific writings of some of the most fashionable French and American intellectuals. More generally, they challenge the widespread notion that scientific theories are mere "narrations" or social constructions.
“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.” So writes Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors, which has challenged readers for more than twenty years with its bracing and provocative exploration of the issues surrounding attempts to limit free speech. In it, Rauch makes a persuasive argument for the value of “liberal science” and the idea that conflicting views produce knowledge within society. In this expanded edition of Kindly Inquisitors, a new foreword by George F. Will strikingly shows the book’s continued relevance, while a substantial new afterword by Rauch elaborates upon his original argument and brings it fully up to date. Two decades after the book’s initial publication, while some progress has been made, the regulation of hate speech has grown domestically—especially in American universities—and has spread even more internationally, where there is no First Amendment to serve as a meaningful check. But the answer to bias and prejudice, Rauch argues, is pluralism—not purism. Rather than attempting to legislate bias and prejudice out of existence or to drive them underground, we must pit them against one another to foster a more vigorous and fruitful discussion. It is this process that has been responsible for the growing acceptance of the moral acceptability of homosexuality over the last twenty years. And it is this process, Rauch argues, that will enable us as a society to replace hate with knowledge, both ethical and empirical. “It is a melancholy fact that this elegant book, which is slender and sharp as a stiletto, is needed, now even more than two decades ago. Armed with it, readers can slice through the pernicious ideas that are producing the still-thickening thicket of rules, codes, and regulations restricting freedom of thought and expression.”—George F. Will, from the foreword
The theory of white fragility is one of the most influential ideas to emerge in recent years on the topics of race, racism, and racial inequality. White fragility is defined as an unwillingness on the part of white people to engage in the difficult conversations necessary to address racial inequality. This “fragility” allegedly undermines the fight against racial inequality. Despite its wide acclaim and rapid acceptance, the theory of white fragility has received no serious and sustained scrutiny. This book argues that the theory is flawed on numerous fronts. The theory functions as a divisive rhetorical device to shut down debate. It relies on the flawed premise of implicit bias. It posits a faulty way of understanding racism. It has serious methodological problems. It conflates objectivity and neutrality. It exploits narrative at the expense of facts. It distorts many of the ideas upon which the theory relies. This book also offers a more constructive way to think about Whiteness, white privilege, and “white fragility,” pointing us to a more promising vision for addressing racial inequality.
Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Have you read that certain people shouldn’t practice yoga or cook Chinese food? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge the very logic of Western society? In this probing and intrepid volume, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay document the evolution of the dogma behind these ideas, from its coarse origins in French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields. Today this dogma is recognizable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and social-media dogpiles, as by its tenets, which are all too often embraced as axiomatic in mainstream media: knowledge is a social construct; science and reason are tools of oppression; all human interactions are sites of oppressive power play; and language is dangerous. As Pluckrose and Lindsay warn, the unchecked proliferation of these anti-Enlightenment beliefs present a threat not only to liberal democracy but also to modernity itself. While acknowledging the need to challenge the complacency of those who think a just society has been fully achieved, Pluckrose and Lindsay break down how this often-radical activist scholarship does far more harm than good, not least to those marginalized communities it claims to champion. They also detail its alarmingly inconsistent and illiberal ethics. Only through a proper understanding of the evolution of these ideas, they conclude, can those who value science, reason, and consistently liberal ethics successfully challenge this harmful and authoritarian orthodoxy—in the academy, in culture, and beyond.
Book Giving the Devil his Due Description/Summary:
Who is the 'Devil'? And what is he due? The Devil is anyone who disagrees with you. And what he is due is the right to speak his mind. He must have this for your own safety's sake because his freedom is inextricably tied to your own. If he can be censored, why shouldn't you be censored? If we put barriers up to silence 'unpleasant' ideas, what's to stop the silencing of any discussion? This book is a full-throated defense of free speech and open inquiry in politics, science, and culture by the New York Times bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer. The new collection of essays and articles takes the Devil by the horns by tackling five key themes: free thought and free speech, politics and society, scientific humanism, religion, and the ideas of controversial intellectuals. For our own sake, we must give the Devil his due.
Book The Counterweight Handbook Description/Summary:
Over the last several years, organisations and institutions throughout the West - both public and private - have adopted comprehensive diversity and inclusion policies and new forms of employee and student training on antiracism, unconscious bias, gender diversity, cultural sensitivity and other related topics. The stated goals of these programs are often reasonable if not noble - to create a more welcoming space and inclusive environment for all. But such training, when based on the activist ideology known as Critical Social Justice, crosses a clear line when participants are required to affirm beliefs they do not hold. The mildest questions about or objections to common teachings in the sessions - that all white people are racists, that all underrepresented minorities are oppressed or useful tools of the majority, that sex and gender differences have no biological basis - are regularly met with pat commands: 'Educate yourself, ' 'Do the work, ' 'Listen and learn.' At work, raises, promotions and even future employment may well depend on nodding approval during such training. At school, grades, nominations and awards may be contingent upon active agreement with these ideological beliefs. When faced with such a predicament - between silent submission and risky if ethical opposition - what is a person to do? The Counterweight Handbook provides individuals with a practical and easily navigable guide to understanding and addressing the issues that are likely to arise when this activist ideology is implemented in their organisation or institution. It also teaches them what to do when they are being expected to affirm their commitment to beliefs they simply do not hold, undergo training in an illiberal ideology they cannot support, or submit themselves to antiscientific testing and retraining of their 'unconscious' minds. It is for everyone who wishes to push back against the hostile work and educational environments such training inevitably creates - or who fears being fired, censored or cancelled for their deeply held beliefs and principled convictions.
International sex researcher, neuroscientist, and columnist Debra Soh debunks popular gender myths in this scientific examination of the many facets of gender identity that “is not only eminently reasonable and beautifully-written, it is brave and vital” (Ben Shapiro, #1 New York Times bestselling author). Is our gender something we’re born with, or are we conditioned by society? In The End of Gender, neuroscientist and sexologist Dr. Debra Soh uses a research-based approach to address this hot-button topic, unmasking popular misconceptions about the nature vs. nurture debate and exploring what it means to be a woman or a man in today’s society. Both scientific and objective, and drawing on original research and carefully conducted interviews, Soh tackles a wide range of issues, such as gender-neutral parenting, gender dysphoric children, and the neuroscience of being transgender. She debates today’s accepted notion that gender is a social construct and a spectrum, and challenges the idea that there is no difference between how male and female brains operate. The End of Gender is conversation-starting “required reading” (Eric R. Weinstein, PhD, host of The Portal) that will arm you with the facts you need to come to your own conclusions about gender identity and its place in the world today.
One day Raymond Francis, a chemist and a graduate of MIT, found himself in a hospital, battling for his life. The diagnosis: acute chemical hepatitis, chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivities, and several autoimmune syndromes, causing him to suffer fatigue, dizziness, impaired memory, heart palpitations, diarrhea, numbness, seizures and numerous other ailments. Knowing death was imminent unless he took action, Francis decided to research solutions for his disease himself. His findings and eventual recovery led him to conclude that almost all disease can be both prevented and reversed. In Never Be Sick Again, Francis presents a seminal work based on these findings — a revolutionary theory of health and disease: there is only one disease (malfunctioning cells), only two causes of disease (deficiency and toxicity), and six pathways to health and disease (nutrition, toxins, psychological, physical, genetic, and medical). This remarkable book answers the questions: What is health? What is disease? Why do people get sick? How can disease be prevented? How can it be reversed? It will teach readers, in one easy lesson, an entirely new way to look at health and disease — an approach that is easy to understand, yet so powerful that they may, indeed, never have to be sick again. Providing a basic understanding of health and disease, this book takes the mystery out of disease. It provides readers, no matter what their present physical condition, a holistic approach to living that will empower them to get well — and stay well.
"Not unlike some of Ralph Ellison’s or Richard Wright’s best work. White Guilt, a serious meditation on vital issues, deserves a wide readership.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer In 1955 the killers of Emmett Till, a black Mississippi youth, were acquitted because they were white. Forty years later, despite the strong DNA evidence against him, accused murderer O. J. Simpson went free after his attorney portrayed him as a victim of racism. The age of white supremacy has given way to an age of white guilt—and neither has been good for African Americans. Through articulate analysis and engrossing recollections, acclaimed race relations scholar Shelby Steele sounds a powerful call for a new culture of personal responsibility.
Book Symphony for the City of the Dead Description/Summary:
The true story of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who wrote a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens--the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory during World War 2.