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Closing of the American Mind (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 15. Mai 1988

3.7 von 5 Sternen 32 Kundenrezensionen

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Taschenbuch, 15. Mai 1988
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

“Brilliant. . . . No other book combines such shrewd insights into our current state. . . . No other book is at once so lively and so deep, so witty and so thoughtful, so outrageous and so sensible, so amusing and so chilling.. . . An extraordinary book.”

—William Kristol, The Wall Street Journal

“Rich and absorbing. . . . A grand tour of the American mind.”

The Washington Post Book World

Synopsis

A critique of the intellectual and moral confusions of this age argues that the social/political crisis of twentieth-century America is actually an intellectual crisis, and shows how American democracy has hosted ideas of nihilism, despair, and relativism disguised as tolerance.

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Format: Taschenbuch
Philosophy professor Bloom points out that the one virtue in America these days seems to be openness to anything and everything as equally valid behaviours or point of view. Any and every opinion is greeted with equal tolerance - not conviction, but tolerance. It would be unacceptable dogmatism in most circles today to say that truth exists. That would mean that those who did not accept it would be wrong - and no one must be wrong. Dr Bloom shows that we have become so open to everything that our minds have been closed to the idea that something may indeed be true and something else false. The closing of the American mind through openness to everything! That is exactly what is happening in the post-rational era that has overtaken our universities and seminaries and the thinking of many church leaders.
He criticizes this behaviour of randomness in beliefs and convictions because it will lead to a gradual dissolution of all virtues that kept the society together. His message is, that the American society should urgently find back to its roots before it is too late.
It cannot be denied that he sees in feminism a helper for the closing of the American mind.. He says that feminism favors equality over freedom. "Its goals are so unlimited and constrained that it ends as do many modern social movements that want abstract justice, in forgetting nature and using force to refashion human beings to secure that justice."
As utopians and advocates of state intervention to eradicate what they see as "inequality" produced by "male oppression", feminists show a remarkable affinity to Marxism and socialism. Another aspect would be the attention given to Eastern mysticism, paga beliefs and New Ageism.
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Format: Taschenbuch
Nearly all of us Americans say that we believe in liberty and equality. But how many of us would be able to defend these beliefs against an attack by a really intelligent anti-egalitarian such as Nietzsche? Our regime was founded on the idea that reason, not religion or brute force, should rule. It was not always obvious that such a regime was either good or possible, and arguments had to be made to convince people to support its creation. The Enlightenment philosophers provided those arguments. As Bloom notes, the Enlightenment brought the philosopher (i.e., reason) and the regime into harmony as they never had been before. (Socrates, the archetypical philosopher, had of course been executed for impiety.) Rousseau, while agreeing with the the fundamental Enlightenment idea of equality, argued forcefully that reason alone could not found and sustain a society, and in the process invented the modern idea of the bourgeois, the product of the reason-based society, hatred of which was an important element of both Marxism and fascism. But it was Nietzsche who provided the really devastating attack, arguing that listening to our heads rather than our hearts had killed what was really worthwhile in us, that we need to stop reasoning and start coming up with new "values."
The middle chapters of the book are the best overview of political philosophy that I have come across. Bloom understands Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Nietzsche as I believe they would have wanted to be understood. Especially Nietzsche, whose ideas are described with the utmost respect, even though it is implicit that if we are to keep our regime we ultimately must reject those ideas.
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Format: Taschenbuch
Allan Bloom's work will most likely evoke feelings of detest and discomfort from the reader, as he, in typical iconoclastic form, unrelentlessly attacks modern america, thought, and metaphysical mindlessness. Bloom stands in the vein of Kierkegaard; his melancholic discussion of the dissipated need for authority and cultural direction places him among the great moral thinkers, who have ardently attempted to place the individual within the context of a community -- while he searches for an eternal teleology and heirarchy. Bloom, unfortunatley, will appear excessively erudite to most of his readers; the reader, trapped within the fetters of modern scepticism and over-analytic thought, will be unable to accurately assess his place WITHIN Bloom's criticism. Is the book void of relevance? Certainly not. Consider this text a barometer of both heart and conviction. There is anything but a paucity of implications, and this book provokes an insurgency of conversation about the permanent possibilities of man and his role within the eternal.
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Format: Taschenbuch
Alan Bloom articlated masterfully the incohate rumblings of my heart and mind. One reviewer accuses him of using 'weighty words" to elicit emotional responses. Yes, it's true Bloom repeatedly talks of soul, heart and moral without defining them, but it's tragic if one cannot undestand their meaning intuitively, from context. His brave critique of the 'liberal' and pop culture hit home even to someone who'd never set foot on US soil. Then again, maybe it was because I was privvy to two civilizations that I found so much meaning in what his words. Yes, he overgeneralizes, and yes, he fails to see the good that is born even of reactionary pop culture, but the kernel of his thesis is as true and as important as any political philosophy I have read. I found the book particularly helpful, as someone on the border of two civilizations, one blindly accelerating toward the other.
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