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Cultural Revolutions


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Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction: The Return of the Repressed1. Liberalism and La Revanche de la Culture2. Kingdoms of Ends3. Who Is Culture?4. Modernity: Culture of Reason or Reason Against Culture?5. Postmodernity: Too Much Culture or Not Enough?6. Playing Reality7. Why There Is No Problem of Cultural Relativism8. What Is the Opposite of Jihad? Conclusion: Culture's Reasons References Index

About the Author

Lawrence E. Cahoone is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross.


"In this remarkably well-written and closely argued book, Larry Cahoone offers a truly original account of the relation between culture and reason. After providing a reliable and critical analysis of the current literature on the subject, he offers an alternative theoretical perspective of his own that helps us both to understand and criticize religious, especially Islamic, fundamentalism. This important book shows how to construct a culturally sensitive but non-relativist theory of rationality."

-Bhikhu Parekh, University of Westminster and House of Lords

"Cahoone rethinks all the basic categories of philosophy of culture in a breathtaking critical analysis of the major contending positions and articulates a clear, though complicated, new theory. It pays off brilliantly in his concluding analysis of Islam in the contentious battle of cultures (and arms). This book should be required reading not only for philosophers of culture but also for social scientists, theologians, historians, journalists, and political leaders."

-Robert Cummings Neville, author of Normative Cultures and Boston Confucianism

"In this engagingly written book, Cahoone addresses an eminently timely topic with a clearheadedness that is often lacking in such discussions. With arguments that are unfailingly provocative, he points out that acknowledging the cultural embeddedness of reason by no means requires us to accept a disabling relativism or to abandon our commitments to critical rationality and to intercultural dialogue and understanding. Meaningful forms of rationality can be salvaged in the wake of postmodernism and of the 'cultural turn,' he argues. Through a painstaking examination of the seemingly recalcitrant case of genuine or deep cultural difference, Cahoone deftly wends his way between, on the one hand, a liberal culturalism that refuses to take seriously those differences that transgress the compass of liberalism and, on the other, a postmodernism that holds cultures to be bounded, homogenous wholes. He is led to elaborate a conception of culture that allows him to carve out a distinctive and compelling position on the vexed relationship between liberalism and cultural tradition."

-Lorenzo Simpson, SUNY-Stony Brook

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