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Lectures / Disk 11


Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition (Part VII, The Crisis of Modernit)
Featuring Various Professors

DISK 11.1 
Lecture 73: Introduction/ Staloff
Turning to the later half of the 20th century, philosophy was written in the context of accelerating but also disturbing changes in Western society, politics and culture. This introductory lecture reflects on World War II and the decline of western imperialism, the cold war between the two superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union and the revolution of information that marked this period.

Lecture 74: Hayek and the Critique of Central Planning/Shearmur
Hayek, an economist and philosopher, and his striking views about the use of knowledge in society are discussed in this lecture. Hayek received a Nobel Prize in economics in 1974. He was a well known intellectual who exercised important historical influence on politics (on Thatcher and Reagan). The lecture concludes by discussing some of the continuing effects that his ideas bring to societies.

Lecture 75: Popper – the Open Society and the Philosophy of Science/ Shearmur
What this lecture explores is Karl Popper’s ideas about knowledge, politics and their connection. The lecture also draws on his views concerning social philosophy and his work “The Open Society and its Enemies”, written during World War II.

Lecture 76: Kuhn’s Paradigm Paradigm/Shearmur
Thomas Kuhn is an American historian of science and a philosopher, author of the best seller “The Structure of Scientific Revolution”, that sold more than a million copies. This lecture follows Kuhn’s concerns from his early encounters as a Ph.D. student in Physics with Aristotle’s ideas about motion, through his work on “The Copernican Revolution”. His ideas about scientific education, normal science and scientific revolution are also discussed.

Lecture 77: Quine – Ontological Relativism/Staloff
One of the most profound and important philosophers of the 20th century as well as an eminent logician, Willard Van Orman Quine made major contributions to ontology, epistemology and mathematical logic. This lecture examines Quine’s attempt to turn Anglo-American thought to a pragmatic direction.

Lecture 78: Habermas – Critical Theory and Communicative Action/Kellner
Jurgen Habermas has emerged as one of the most influential philosophers of our day, distinguished for his analyses of language, communication and democracy. Through his work he showed how democracy was made possible by the rise of newspapers, literary journals and public spaces where ideas could be discussed and debated.

DISK 11.2 
Lecture 79: Rawls’s Theory of Justice/Staloff
This lecture explores John Rawls’s “A theory of Justice”, one of the most influential works of social philosophy in the 20th century. Rawls is particularly concerned with the basic structure of society and the moral problem of justice as applied to society.

Lecture 80: Derrida and Deconstruction/Markos
The origins of deconstruction in the theories of Derrida are presented in this lecture. Deconstruction refers to a critical school initiated by Derrida that seeks to deconstruct or break down traditional binaries --a set of two related terms, e.g. soul/body, logos/speech.

Lecture 81: Rotry’s Neo-Pragmatism/Staloff
Another profound and influential philosopher on the current cultural scene is Richard Rorty. Rorty argues that philosophers have traditionally searched to escape from history by looking for the ‘truth’, a pursuit which he believes should end as it cannot be found imbedded in language. He has attempted to move post-analytic American philosophy to a pragmatic direction.

Lecture 82: Gouldner – Ideology and the “New” Class/Staloff
The “Dark Side of the Dialectic”, a remarkable trilogy of books written by Alvin Gouldner in the late 1970s is presented in this lecture. A powerful analysis of the conditions that produced modern ideological discourse along with a Marxist critique of Marxism itself is presented in his work.

Lecture 83: MacIntyre – The Rationality of Traditions/Cary 
Alasdair MacIntyre, a contemporary philosopher of ethics, affirmed the importance of traditions in contrast to the modern rejection of tradition and authority He developed a form called ‘right-wing’ postmodernism, based on an understanding of tradition.

Lecture 84: Nozick’s Defense of Libertarianism/Shearmur
This lecture focuses on Nozick’s controversial book “Anarchy, State and Utopia” a libertarian work with emphasis on rights. In his work Nozick asks us to consider that individuals have rights to their person and their acquired property offering some striking criticism on democracy and justice.

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