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Cross-Party Politics in Britain, 1945-2019 – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/06/2024 - 8:18pm in

In Cross-Party Politics in Britain, 1945-2019, Alan Wager surveys cross-party dynamics in British politics since the end of the Second World War through a blend of archival research and oral history. According to Richard Carr, Wager presents a compelling analysis through seven case studies of key coalitions and re-evaluates the role of the Liberal movement within the two-party system.

Cross-Party Politics in Britain, 1945-2019. Alan Wager. Oxford University Press. 2024.

Cross-party politics in Britain coverAs Britain gears up for an election which, according to all polls, looks set to produce a majority Labour government, Alan Wager’s interesting new work illustrates the significant cross-party currents that have marked Westminster politics since the Second World War.

Wager’s book is built around seven case studies – stretching from Churchill’s “prolonged pursuit” (40) of the Liberal Party as a means of toppling Clement Attlee through to the Conservative-Brexit Party alliance which “Got Brexit Done,” sort of, in 2019-20. Along the way we take in, among others, Ted Heath’s attempts to scramble together an administration in 1974, the road to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and, of course, the Cameron-Clegg coalition. Throughout, this is a strong study which ably mixes archival work and oral history. It is written in an engaging tone that is intellectually rigorous. It holds its central narrative – which, after all, has to manage jumping between case studies – very well.

The First-Past-the-Post-fuelled addiction to proclaiming a “winner” and a “loser” in each election has mitigated against cross-party working in interesting ways

Several key themes emerge. Notably, the First-Past-the-Post-fuelled addiction to proclaiming a “winner” and a “loser” in each election has mitigated against cross-party working in interesting ways. Certainly, the issue of narrative – of having “lost” in both 1974 elections, though narrowly – clearly did for Ted Heath, as it did for Gordon Brown in 2010.

Yet even winners make cross-party mistakes. In that latter election, Wager wisely notes (164), David Cameron’s failure to push for a wider political realignment was also a classic reversion to two-party politics. His real aim was to secure the hegemony of the Tories against their principal opponent, Labour, thus bolstering Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems as part of any political realignment was always going to take second place to squeezing his coalition partners – even if it then emboldened his own pro-Brexit right. The notion that Clegg was ultimately an ally worth defending, certainly compared to Bill Cash, was never given serious enough thought. Tribalism essentially won out – a perennial theme.

David Cameron’s failure to push for a wider political realignment was also a classic reversion to two-party politics.

Cameron included, the role of the leaders takes centre stage throughout the book. The 1977-78 Lib-Lab agreement to sustain Jim Callaghan’s administration was, in reality, more of a “Callaghan-Steel pact” – even in the analysis of its Liberal signatory – than it was a genuine attempt to carry the two parties into anything even approaching ideological homogeneity. Steel subsequently actively discouraged Roy Jenkins from joining the Liberals, paving the way for a separate SDP – even if one soon seeking to pursue an electoral alliance. Fast-forward a little over a decade and Tony Blair’s role as both a pluralist and a control freak – driving through radical constitutional changes such as devolution to Scotland and Wales, a Freedom of Information Act, and significant re-calibration of the House of Lords, all of which had been largely scoped out by his predecessor John Smith – comes across vividly. So too does his differing strategic ends to Ashdown – with the New Labour leader seeking to “gobble up” the Lib Dems, rather than gift them electoral reform (115).

Large parties want to maintain the status quo, and smaller ones want to disrupt it. Cross-party working is often just an avatar in that ever-dominant process.

In a sense, this speaks to a broad theme of the work: that large parties want to maintain the status quo, and smaller ones want to disrupt it. Cross-party working is often just an avatar in that ever-dominant process. This does not preclude sometime co-operation – Steel and Clegg both could claim having got “something” on electoral reform to their parties at the start of their deals, even if neither arrangement delivered the goods in practice – but it does often make it more difficult.

Overall, this is an important contribution to the literature that made me re-think a number of assumptions about post-war British politics. It is not a work of counterfactual history, though inevitably will provoke musings in that direction – rather like Colm Murphy’s recent Futures of Socialism.

This is a matter of personal taste, but I wondered if other case studies could have usefully extended the work. Since the book ends on Brexit – and on both the People’s Vote and Farage wings of politics – an analysis of the origins of the European Movement or, as Robert Saunders has persuasively done, the 1975 Referendum campaign with its various cross-party alliances, may have added much. Equally, the way socially liberal reforms like abortion were managed through Private Members’ Bills brought forward by Liberals but ultimately delivered by Wilson’s Labour government may also have plugged the chronological gap between Churchill and Heath somewhat. Alwyn Turner’s “Blajorism” – with its consensual approach to public service reform (certainly with greater New Labour money), post-Dunblane banning of handguns, and particularly the road to the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland – may have offered an interesting Conservative-Labour way into the themes of the work, though links were clearly different and often mediated through the civil service, and governmental transition – itself an interesting area. Such examples may have bolstered an already excellent analysis.

This work forms an interesting way to re-evaluate the position of the Liberal Party/Liberal Democrats.

As it is, the book’s cover image shows a determined David Cameron sitting next to a rather sheepish Nick Clegg. In a significant sense, this work forms an interesting way to re-evaluate the position of the Liberal Party/Liberal Democrats. As Ed Davey towels himself off after whatever theme park slide he next undertakes as part of the ongoing election campaign, it would really be worth a read for him and his team. Among many astute points this work (140) highlights that the pursuit of political equidistance between the Conservatives and Labour had been an ongoing feature of the Kennedy-Campbell-Clegg Lib Dem leadership continuum in the 2000s – the electorate simply hadn’t noticed, or ascribed it to one off disagreements over the future of the voting system or the Iraq War.

As such, the breathless shock that surrounded the negotiation of the new administration in May 2010 was in part the novelty of post-war coalition, but also represented the failure of political journalism to hammer home that two public school southern English leaders of a similar age, socially liberal disposition, and who had worked together on issues like the Gurkhas could actually translate that into something more concrete. Latterly, when Nick Clegg (196) saw photos of himself sitting next to Cameron at PMQs he experienced something of a personal revelation akin to the end of Animal Farm.

This is an insightful, readable and clear study of recent decades in Westminster. [] Whether we see any imminent new flowerings of its central messages of course will depend on events on 4 July

All in all, this is an insightful, readable and clear study of recent decades in Westminster. Undergraduate courses on British party politics would benefit from its findings, as would political journalists and party members. Whether we see any imminent new flowerings of its central messages of course will depend on events on 4 July. But the question of how long and how far the “complicated, fragmented, and increasingly volatile British electorate” continue to buy the “artificial construction” of the “two-party system” (202) is unlikely to go away altogether.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: David Cameron and Nick Clegg waving outside No 10 Downing Street in May 2010, courtesy of Number 10 on Flickr License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

 

Science v. Story: Narrative Strategies for Science Communicators – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/06/2024 - 8:00pm in

In Science v. Story: Narrative Strategies for Science Communicators, Emma Frances Bloomfield parses the complexities of conveying scientific knowledge amid rampant misinformation and eroding public trust. Acknowledging the dual power of narrative to inform and divide, Bloomfield’s engaging text shares tools for crafting effective stories and urges inclusive discourse in the face of polarisation, writes Chris Featherman. This blogpost originally appeared … Continued

Book Review: The Conversational Firm

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/06/2024 - 3:45am in

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New hires from the rank-and-file arguing with the CEO in public. Employee-chosen projects and a management team reluctant to say no. Few if any written rules. No offices. Staff arriving and departing when they choose. Messes everywhere. Some companies—especially technology firms—describe their ways of working as remaking the model of the modern business. They describe ways of working that were unthinkable some years ago. But has anything really changed from the organization models of the past, or are these features mostly hype and marketing obscuring the same old bureaucracy and hierarchy?

Although not a Communication scholar, sociologist Catherine J. Turco’s work offers vital insight into how communication structures are reordering relationships, with significant implications for the field and discipline of Communication. In this brief and readable ethnographic study, Turco describes ‘TechCo,’ a social media marketing company, in rich detail. TechCo employees have access to the perks and features familiar to those who study firms in Silicon Valley — hack nights, freedom to experiment, flexible schedules, an open floor plan, a “dogs welcome” policy, free beer, and so on. The company seeks to embody its own industry: positioning itself as open, freewheeling, and engaged, just like the social media platforms they help their customers to use. Beyond this external branding, the founders have made an explicit goal internally: to create a company that is intentionally more `open’ and less hierarchical than traditional firms. How is this goal accomplished—and is it indeed accomplished at all?

Turco’s answer to this question is that these companies accomplish half of this goal. Companies are indeed able to deliberately open their communication, including the disclosure of financial details that in many firms is held exclusively by C-level leadership, as well as allowing for frank, public feedback from rank and file staff to executive leadership. However, they do so while leaving their hierarchical structure for decisionmaking largely intact. Turco argues that staff are satisfied by this arrangement—and in fact prefer to have decisionmaking power left in the hands of executives.

Drawing from theoretical background stretching from Max Weber to Albert Hirschmann to Sherry Turkle, Turco elaborates a theory of the conversational firm. In the conversational firm, voice and decision making power are intentionally decoupled. Therefore, these two factors can be analyzed distinctly and in tension with one another. This poses a particular challenge to lines of research which treat voice and authority as intertwined or interchangeable.

Communication scholars may find much to reflect on in her careful articulation of what is meant by and accomplished by the idea of “openness” in a firm, from her exploration of how employee use of social media can both benefit and harm a firm, and her case study of how efforts to brand and disseminate company culture can be both a marketing boon and an internal headache.

The book opens with conversations with the founders of TechCo and their desire for “radical openness” (p. 2) and anti-bureaucratic approach to structure. Turco describes the company’s experiences with openness and anti-bureaucratic tendencies from a range of perspectives: as reflected in the experiences of an eager young woman who is new to the workforce, as observed in Hack Nights, as visible within the company’s rollicking wiki discussions about everything from financial information to kitchen cleanup duties, and in their grappling with a lack of strict policies (instead, TechCo asks employees to “Use Good Judgment'”).

Through the first three chapters, Turco asks what this openness means, and finds that although the founders’ goal is to be transparent and less hierarchical than traditional firms, hierarchy remains and is even desired by employees: instead, what’s truly different about TechCo is its embrace of employee perspectives, and the employees’ trust that the firm will take them into account. Through long-running discussions on the company wiki and chat platforms, town hall meetings and cross-departmental dinners, we see frank conversations unfold and influence the direction of the company. Turco also observes that employees seem to primarily seek to be heard—they don’t have, and often don’t want, decision rights: they want and receive voice rights.

Turco concludes that despite the findings of prior work that bureaucracy is largely indestructible and reproduces itself, openness in communication allows greater freedom for employees, at least bending the bars of what Weber called the iron cage. The book returns to the limitations of anti-bureaucratic approaches throughout the text, with a series of examples in Chapter Six navigating the limitations of this openness: how the company came to have a traditional human resources department despite the founders’ repeated public expressions of distate for formal HR and concerns about noise, mess, and distraction in open ‘officeless’ seating plans.

In chapter four, Turco turns attention away from TechCo’s internal dialog and to the relationship between TechCo and external audiences—in particular, the absence of a social media policy. Unlike other firms which have strict rules for how employees comport themselves on social media—and the risk that the company faces from public response to employee behavior and disclosures—here again TechCo emphasizes their “Use Good Judgment” guideline. When employees make mistakes that reflect poorly on the company, TechCo’s response is to treat this as a learning opportunity, turning the event into training materials to shape employee understanding of what good judgment looks like (and doesn’t look like).

Chapter five offers a case study of TechCo’s external communication about their company culture. The founders disseminated a `manifesto’ that combined both their beliefs about TechCo’s culture and their beliefs about how companies should be organized to succeed in the current era. Although the document received extensive positive attention and served as a recruiting tool, existing employees were troubled by gaps between their experience and the company’s description of its culture. Employees also voiced the irony of a document developed in a top-down way describing a participatory and bottom-up culture. Satisfaction plummets. Over time, however, continuing conversation about the document and making revisions to it seems to allow employees to regain their sense of voice, eventually resolving the crisis.

Published in 2016 from fieldwork that ended in 2013, this account does not allow us to see how the conversational firm fared during recent events that have disrupted the structure, functioning, and culture of organizations—e.g. the isolation of Covid-19 pandemic, the migration to remote work, and questions about returning to the office.

In elaborating a theory of how firms can be conversational, decoupling decisionmaking power and voice, the book offers a useful framework for scholars examining the future of work and organizations, as well as other topics of enduring interest in Communication: the shifting relationship between firms and publics and the continued blurring of the public and the private in social media. Of key interest is the extent to which Communication theories about voice, the constitutive power of communication, and factors such as concertive control can be applied to these organizations.

Graduate students with an interest in ethnographic methods will find particular value in the blunt personal narratives that comprise an extended methodological appendix. Turco describes the process of gaining access to the company, gathering observations and interview data, and iteratively analyzing her notes and memos, all of which will be familiar to many. However, this section is unique in offering a series of self-critical reflections on the work of organizational ethnography, explicit description of the personal toll the work exacted from her, and the sometimes painful experience of receiving feedback from her subjects as the analysis emerged.

Ultimately, Turco argues that embracing open communication in firms is a transformative way forward. While we in Communication may agree, what remains for us is to investigate what it means: for how we understand voice in organizations and how we assess the role of technology and platforms for communication.

Pragmatism and Methodology: Doing Research That Matters with Mixed Methods – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/06/2024 - 9:24pm in

In Pragmatism and MethodologyAlex Gillespie, Vlad Glăveanu and Constance de Saint Laurent advocate for pragmatism as a flexible framework for impactful social science research. Balancing philosophical and psychological depth with accessibility, the book effectively shows how a blend of methodologies grounded in real life can enable researchers to navigate contemporary challenges, writes Job Allan Wefwafwa in his review.

Pragmatism and Methodology: Doing Research That Matters with Mixed Methods. Alex Gillespie, Vlad Glăveanu and Constance de Saint Laurent. Cambridge University Press. 2024.

Pragmatism and MethodologyPragmatism and Methodologies: Doing Research That Matters with Mixed Methods draws from philosophical perspectives to provide both foundational and contemporary understandings of research methodology. It takes a realistic point of view, clearly stating its aim “to outline practical consequences of pragmatism in social science” methodology. The clarity of the aim enables the reader to easily visualise what to expect in the book: an analysis of pragmatism as an emergent middle ground between the much acknowledged theoretical and philosophical approaches (x).

The nine-chapter book convincingly proposes pragmatism as a, “coherent, flexible, and robust framework” for creating useful knowledge that can enhance society (xii).It traces the origin of pragmatism to US scholars such as Charles Peirce, John Dewey, Jane Addams, William James and George Mead, whose  heterogenous belief  held that “science within the context of democracy” could improve society (1). The book then conceptualises pragmatism as a methodological approach based on human activity (142), arguing that people directly affect research processes and findings, making objectivity unattainable. It uses the philosophical premise that “every philosophy has to start with something”; to illustrate that pragmatism begins with people’s “everyday actions and experiences that comprise the world as we know it” (6).

The book [] conceptualises pragmatism as a methodological approach based on human activity, arguing that people directly affect research processes and findings, making objectivity unattainable.

The first chapter engages the reader in situating pragmatism within a process paradigm that emphasises temporality and change and prioritises timeless things. Here, the authors contrast the pragmatic approaches that emphasise temporality with the ones that centre timelessness, to allow for multimethod research. They use figurative language such as “is the oak superior to the acorn?”, to argue about which of the two came first in terms of reproduction, thereby illuminating the importance of processes in research. This enables the reader to relate to the methodological arguments at the human experience level, effectively simplifying some philosophically opaque concepts such as “paradigms” and “epistemology” discussed in Chapter Two.

The authors’ ability to delicately balance between articulating complex philosophical concepts and writing accessibly is perhaps best demonstrated through the discussion of res extensa and res cogitans (3), things with three dimensions and things that appear in mind, respectively. The authors highlight the increasing citation of the phrase “there is nothing as practical as good theory” (ix) in the academic realm. They use the phrase to refer to the misconceptions researchers hold about theory, but it also arouses the reader’s interest in the unlikely pairing of these contrasting concepts – practice and theory. They analyse this paradox in the subsequent chapters, demonstrating that theory is not just about how knowledge is made, but also a guide on methodological decisions. The analysis anchors contemporary arguments on traditional philosophical conceptions in an accessible way.

Theory is not just about how knowledge is made, but also a guide on methodological decisions.

Although the authors rightfully acknowledge that their social and cultural psychology background influenced their writing, this gives the reader two contrasting experiences. First, the infusion of a psychology perspective into the book simplifies complex philosophical concepts using general human-life experiences, for the reader to easily understand. However, it also makes the reader from a non-psychology background wonder if the book is appropriate for them. As a reader from the media background, I easily understood the philosophical concepts such as paradigms, as explained from the psychological point of view (1, 2 and 4). However, they seemed too removed from media research to be able to apply them there. I I had to read the discussions on disinformation, conspiracy theories (Chapter Two), the emergence of “big data” (109), including “Social media data, video footage, live data, and digital archives” (110-111), to learn how the concepts might apply.

The book’s most outstanding aspect is that the reader can easily draw from lived experiences such as US electoral politics in 2016, to relate to the arguments therein.

Arguably, the book’s most outstanding aspect is that the reader can easily draw from lived experiences such as US electoral politics in 2016, to relate to the arguments therein. This is especially visible in Chapter Two which explores what it means to live in a “post-truth” society where factual basis of truth can be undetermined (26-27). Although the book’s pragmatic approach may be criticised for portraying ethics as a “box-ticking” exercise (162), it creates a basis for common ground around effective knowledge, while also avoiding presenting science as something beyond critical questioning.

The book effectively shows how practical methodologies can enable researchers to navigate contemporary challenges amid increasing relativist and realist contentions. It persuasively navigates the division between qualitative and quantitative extremists; and adds to the justification for mixed methods research (19). Chapter Three describes the division as “bypassing the subjective-objective dualism” to focus on human activity (49). For instance, the book’s allegorical discussions in Chapter Four, enables the reader to see beyond the traditional quantitative (realism) and qualitative (relativism) divide, which simplifies the concept of theory (74). It argues that research should be about “creating questions as answering them” (75). The argument enables the book’s conceptualisation of theory as a “tool in the world that dis/empowers human activity” rather than a mirror of the world (50). In this way, the book figures theory in terms of what it enables them to do, rather than whether it belongs to the real or relative duality.

The book [conceptualises] theory as a ‘tool in the world that dis/empowers human activity’ rather than a mirror of the world.

This view enables researchers to rise above paradigmatic wars between quantitative and qualitative methods. For instance, Chapter Seven advocates for multi-resolution research that uses “qualitative analysis to zoom in, revealing contextualised particulars, and quantitative analysis to zoom out, revealing statistical patterns” (135). The book successfully argues that our lived experiences can be combined with qualitative and quantitative approaches to provide “breadth and depth”, that bring rigor, robustness and insight in research (117).

Although the book attempts to simplify its philosophically anchored arguments for the reader, some arguments remain shrouded in philosophical jargon, especially in Chapter One. This may discourage unseasoned researchers who may not yet be grounded in the philosophical foundations of research methodology. That notwithstanding, the book remains a must-read for students and researchers interested in a contextual understanding of pragmatic methodology.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: UX Indonesia on Unsplash.

 

The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society – review

In The Road to FreedomJoseph Stiglitz considers the relationship between capitalism and freedom, evaluating democracy, economics and what constitutes a good society. According to Danny Dorling, the book’s lack of a coherent structure and an outline of what measures could enable a more free and equal society will leave many readers wanting.

Joseph Stiglitz came to LSE in May to speak about the book – watch it back on YouTube.

The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society. Joseph E. Stiglitz. Allen Lane. 2024.

The Road to Freedom by Joseph Stiglitz coverJoseph Stiglitz has a message, and it’s worth listening to. It is that humans are not selfish. Or to be a little more precise, they’re “ …not as selfish as the Right claim” (82). That is the central point of his valedictory volume The Road to Freedom, titled with a pun on Hayek’s 1944 The Road to Serfdom. Published almost exactly 80 years later, this new book is intended as the long-awaited counterargument to emerge from within the centre of the discipline of economics. But in this endeavour, it disappoints.

Stiglitz’s argument in The Road to Freedom is that right-wing economists are “almost poisonous”, by which he means that often that his opponents make malicious arguments such as to suggest that poor children have chosen the wrong parents (83). He reiterates his long-held claim (and obvious truism) that, both in the past and today, “markets were, in fact, not efficient; that … in general the economy is inefficient.” (78-79, emphasis in the original). It is admirable that Stiglitz battles on trying to explain this to those of his readers who have unevidenced faith in “market efficiency”. However, what alternative is he offering them?

It is admirable that Stiglitz battles on trying to explain this to those of his readers who have unevidenced faith in ‘market efficiency’. However, what alternative is he offering them?

The book is mostly about one man’s “lifetime of scholarship” at places including Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Oxford (295-297). It is more that, than a set of new ideas. According to the author, this scholarship extends the work of John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Antonio Gramsci, Thomas Hobbs, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, John Keynes, and John Galbraith (the most mentioned ten, xv-xviii, 22,23, 25, 87, 131). We do learn that his next book, being written now with colleagues, is to be titled The Other Invisible Hand (154). Presumably this will be an elaboration on his previous comments arguing that most people are not as selfish as most economists are.

So why was this book published? The key reason is because of who its author is. Joseph Stiglitz is currently professor of economics and finance at Columbia University. He was the the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, and is the author of many other books, notably Globalization and its Discontents (2002). He was formerly chairman of the council of economic advisers to President Clinton and the chief economist at the World Bank from 1997 to1999; (He left the World Bank after having been outspoken in his criticism of the US’s approach to the Asian financial crisis).

In 2011 Time Magazine ranked Stiglitz among the 100 most influential people in the world, and the (then recently departed from office) British Prime Minster Gordon Brown suggested that he “…got the Asian crisis right, foresaw the bubble that caused such havoc in 2008 and is advocating global answers to a host of problems that can no longer be solved at the local or national level […] his work goes on challenging us all to rethink our ideas, he will always be a controversialist wherever he goes.”

In 2024 ScholarGPS ranked Stiglitz as the world’s most productive social scientist in terms of the “profound impact” (his citations) and the quality (his h-index) of his publications. However, the Scholar GPS ranking does seem a little biased towards the works of white men in the whiter parts of the west, Stiglitz included.

But what are Stiglitz’s priorities as an intellectual today? He explains: “The most important example of a global public good is protecting the world from climate change” (83). Much in the book takes this tone: pronouncements from on high that erase the more pressing concerns of those who live without basic needs being met today, such as safety, shelter and food.

The book lacks a global outlook and substantive depth to its enquiry.

The book lacks a global outlook and substantive depth to its enquiry. There are only a very few references to places other than the US (or to Oxford in England). Stiglitz claims that Finns like paying tax (82), but he does not suggest why. He chastises the French for “…continu[ing] to contribute to global warming unabated” (68) after a tax on diesel use was not implemented; but does not set it in context, for instance, by comparing France’s decarbonisation policy record to that of the US. He suggests that economic growth in China has nothing to do with communism (209) without explaining why. It is hard to imagine China having had such a highly coordinated economy and such determined long-term economic planning without communism.

The book concludes by suggesting that “we can do much better than the current form of capitalism” (277) and that we need a new global economic architecture. As a reader, it is somewhat frustrating to wade through hundreds of pages only to discover that: “This is not the place to delve into what that architecture would fully look like.” (260). Clearly, he is not suggesting that other countries copy China. So, what is Stiglitz advocating, other than a little more kindness and humanity? There are many economies in Europe and elsewhere (such as  Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia,  Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, and Japan) that have, by historic standards, achieved high levels of economic equality which he could have suggested as models for the future of the US; however, perhaps to do so would appear unpatriotic.

The primary purpose of the book, then, remains vague. Stiglitz writes that “we don’t have to answer the question of what every possible good society might look like. We begin where we are. We respect honesty, kindness, other-regardingness, cooperativeness, and empathy. We dislike suffering and deprivations, injustices, and so forth” (213). But the book suffers from not being grounded in a proper examination of at least one different society and its current trajectory or alternative future, and how that currently differs from the US.

There is little new to be learned from this book by economists or students of economics [] a more general audience may gain insight from its analysis of right-wing economists.

There is little new to be learned from this book by economists or students of economics. Compelling insights – such as the fact that in the US, unlike in most countries, resources below land are not owned by the state (109) – are few and far between. That said, a more general audience may gain insight from its analysis of right-wing economists. If intended for general readers, however, its broad-stroke approach is undercut by the book’s lack of a clear and logical structure. Instead, it takes a stream-of-consciousness approach that is difficult to follow and belies the structured approach (of three parts and distinct chapters) indicated in the table of contents. Beyond that, the book’s referencing is severely wanting. it is in several places unconvincing (such as where it just suggests that all that is needed is a little more humanity), vague (see note 17 on page 319) and often self-indulgent (see notes 18, 19 and 20 on 322).

Admittedly, economics appears today to be only just able to begin to take tiny steps out of the mess the discipline is in; at least the kind of economics that still dominates university departments in the US and UK. Students of economics worldwide have rebelled against the orthodox teachings of the old men at the top of the discipline in declining western countries. They have called for more heterodox views to be included in their syllabi. As yet, at least in the most elite of academic institutions, these calls have been largely ignored.

This is not Stigltiz at his finest, and it reflects a hollowness to the so-called international debate, which is currently presented as mainly being held within US Universities

This is a book that might look good on your shelf. Friends and visitors may be impressed by the literary company you keep. But this is not Stiglitz at his finest, and it reflects a hollowness to the so-called international debate, which is currently presented as mainly being held within US Universities. An observer viewing the debate that Stiglitz is part of, where he has to spend so much of his time and so many words in this book countering free-market maniacs, might conclude that by the year 2024, there is still no road to freedom in sight.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: Daniel Avram on Shutterstock.

 

Online Philosophy Resources Weekly Update

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 03/06/2024 - 7:00pm in

Tags 

book reviews

The weekly report on new and revised entries at online philosophy resources and new reviews of philosophy books…

(If you notice something missing from the weekly update, let us know. Thanks.)

SEP

New:        ∅

Revised:

    1.  Christian Wolff by Matt Hettche and Corey Dyck.
    2. Human Rights by James Nickel and Adam Etinson.
    3. Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by Jan Faye.
    4. Pragmatics by Kepa Korta and John Perry.
    5. Marsilio Ficino by Christopher S. Celenza.

IEP

  1. Abelard: Logic by Wolfgang Lenzen.

NDPR

  1. William of Ockham: On Heretics, Books 1-5, and Against John, Chapters 5-16 by William of Ockham, translated by John Kilcullen and John Scott, is reviewed by Monica Brinzei.

1000-Word Philosophy

  1. Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems by John Charry.

Project Vox        ∅

BJPS Short Reads        ∅

Open-Access Book Reviews in Academic Philosophy Journals        ∅

Recent Philosophy Book Reviews in Non-Academic Media

  1. Liberalism as a Way of Life by Alexandre Lefebvre is reviewed by Matt McManus at Jacobin.
  2. The Occasional Human Sacrifice: Medical Experimentation and the Price of Saying No by Carl Elliott is reviewed by Jack Goulder at Literary Review.

Previous Edition

Compiled by Michael Glawson

BONUS: Early Wittgenstein Becomes Late Wittgenstein

The post Online Philosophy Resources Weekly Update first appeared on Daily Nous.

China Incorporated: The Politics of a World Where China is Number One – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 31/05/2024 - 8:44pm in

Kerry Brown‘s China Incorporated examines how China’s rise has reshaped the global political order, previously dominated by the US. Examining the impacts of Cold War modernisation paradigms and conflicting values between East and West, this book is an excellent resource for those interested in researching beyond the traditional narratives about China, writes Burak Elmalı.

China Incorporated: The Politics of a World Where China is Number One. Kerry Brown. Bloomsbury Academic. 2023.

Kerry Brown’s China Incorporated: The Politics of a World Where China is Number One offers a thought-provoking perspective on the implications of China’s rise in a global context dominated by the long-standing leadership of the United States. Comprising eight chapters, Brown’s analysis encourages readers to adopt a fresh mindset through a comprehensive examination of China’s dynamics from start to finish.

The book delves deeply into the often-overlooked theme of values within the realm of great power competition between China and the US

The book’s contribution is twofold. Firstly, it delves deeply into the often-overlooked theme of values within the realm of great power competition between China and the US, notably highlighted through Brown’s frequent use of the term “Enlightenment West” to describe the US-led Western perspective in contrast to China. Secondly, it prompts us to question the established modernisation paradigm (a theory that posits that economic development in societies is a catalyst for democratisation) inherited from Cold War, stressing the inseparability of economic development and democratisation, thereby giving way to a re-evaluation of traditional viewpoints.

The first chapter provides a comprehensive overview of key themes, which are detailed in the rest of the book. It delineates three critical aspects: China is no longer weak, its ascendancy in both land and naval capabilities, and the distinctiveness of its value system vis-à-vis the West. This exposition transcends the commonplace discourse surrounding China’s rise, which has become the talk of the town in the last decade, directing attention to how to make sense of this reality. The recognition of China’s transition from a perceived state of weakness is contextualised as a simultaneously relative decline of Western powers, stimulating parallel discussions concerning China, the US, and European powers. Moreover, the emphasis on the burgeoning maritime power of China underscores the necessity of broadening the discourse on China-West relations beyond the confines of the Taiwan issue to encompass a broader naval domain, the South China Sea.

The recognition of China’s transition from a perceived state of weakness is contextualised as a simultaneously relative decline of Western powers, stimulating parallel discussions concerning China, the US, and European powers.

As mentioned earlier, the emphasis on values and philosophy compared with the Enlightenment is most intriguing. This undoubtedly reminds us that we need to question the less inclusive and intriguing aspects of the ideational pillars of a global actor that is often touted as a future superpower, such as “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,” “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,” and “Harmonious Society,” which are frequently used by Beijing.

The second chapter illustrates China’s behaviour in the virtual domain and cyberspace amid its global growth, showcasing its ability to create Made in PRC versions of domains with high levels of censorship and surveillance, a significant capability. It also discusses the overestimation of Confucius Institutes (hosted by universities, Confucius Institutes are educational and cultural organisations affiliated with the Chinese government, established around the world with the aim of promoting Chinese language and culture, supporting Chinese language teaching, and facilitating cultural exchanges) as examples of China’s soft power, cautioning against exaggerating their impact. These examples highlight China’s subtle, exclusionary actor behaviour and its challenges in attracting interest in its values. It is, therefore, highly unlikely for a passionate researcher or enthusiast to solely emerge from Confucius Institutes in a university with a rich liberal arts tradition.

Brown underscores two turning points in China’s perception of the West: the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the Arab Spring, highlighting the failures of Western capitalism and interventionist foreign policies in the post-Cold War era.

The third chapter outlines a significant shift in the Enlightenment West’s attitude towards China, evolving from patronising to openness for collaboration and eventually seeing China as a threat. This last attitude reflects what we saw in the long communique issued after last year’s NATO Summit in Vilnius. Brown underscores two turning points in China’s perception of the West: the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the Arab Spring, highlighting the failures of Western capitalism and interventionist foreign policies in the post-Cold War era. They solidified China’s reluctance to heed Western advice, resonating with critiques of interventionist liberalism in John Mearsheimer’s The Great Delusion. The notion of a crusader state promoting liberal values, with each Western failure now serving as rhetorical leverage for China, stands as a noteworthy observation.

In the fourth and fifth chapters, we observe a dual analysis, which is highly necessary. These chapters, elaborated upon with the questions “What Does the World Want from China?” and “What Does China Want from the World?” clearly illustrate the stark contrast between China’s ambition to wield power without taking too much responsibility with binding commitments in global issues like climate change and the Western perception of a China constrained within the boundaries of the liberal international order. This inherent disparity is central to understanding how China and the West perceive each other. The sixth chapter presents a rich and necessary example, both from Brown’s own experiences and in the context of the discussions on China and the alternative global order. Accordingly, the Xinjiang issue, where the Chinese government is accused of a series of ongoing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang, serves as a microcosm for understanding China’s stance on human rights within the international system. The vast disparity between how the Enlightenment West and China perceive the surveillance state mechanism in this autonomous region underscores the differing perceptions detailed in the fourth and fifth chapters.

The seventh and eighth chapters are crucial, especially concerning the future of modernisation theory and whether China will adopt a paradigm-shifting approach. The assertion that, “We have been using Stone Age tools to address a space age problem. Getting rid of the ‘evil/good’ dichotomy is a great place to start addressing this,” (170) is particularly noteworthy. Brown conveys the message that differentiating our observations and analyses from the past is no longer optional, but a necessity to understand and contextualise China.

Though his enquiry is robust, Brown’s analysis lacks examples of China’s actor behaviour through global regimes and international institutions. For instance, China’s behaviour under the UNFCCC regarding global climate change, its stance in WTO negotiations, or its voting behaviour in the UNSC could have been included in the discussion. Comparing China’s nuanced approach of exploiting or utilising existing potentials within UN frameworks to the goal-oriented strategies of the West, as mentioned in the second chapter, could have made the differences clearer and more understandable. For example, contrasting the EU’s stance with the Green Deal against China’s revisionist approach in COPs as the leader of the G-77 would give readers a better understanding of the contrasting engagements with international institutions at play.

Comparing China’s nuanced approach of exploiting or utilising existing potentials within UN frameworks to the goal-oriented strategies of the West [… ] could have made the differences clearer and more understandable.

Overall, the author’s emphasis on values and the call to evaluate China’s rise concurrently with the relative weakening of the West are thought-provoking and significant. This book provides an excellent resource for those interested in researching beyond the traditional narratives about China. Additionally, through this work, Brown highlights the need for new methods in examining China’s rise in international politics literature.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: The White House on flickr.

Fluke: Chance, Chaos, and Why Everything We Do Matters – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/05/2024 - 6:52pm in

In Fluke, Brian Klaas explores the phenomenon of chance, examining how seemingly random happenings and actions can profoundly shape our lives. Klaas skilfully interweaves different perspectives – from physics, neuroscience and philosophy to real-life stories – to persuade readers that we live within a complex, interconnected system rather than a predictable one driven by cause and effect, writes Ulviyya Khalilova.

Brian Klaas spoke about the book at a public LSE event earlier this year – watch it back on YouTube.

Fluke: Chance, Chaos, and Why Everything We Do Matters. Brian Klaas. John Murray. 2024.

“We control nothing, but influence everything”, writes Brian Klaas in his new book, Fluke: Chance, Chaos, and Why Everything We Do Matters (30). What distinguishes this book from others on the same or related subjects is its skilful integration of real-life experiences, paradigms, and insights gleaned from research across different disciplines. By seamlessly interweaving these narratives, the book fosters a deeper connection between the ideas and thoughts it presents, thereby rendering it more relatable and impactful for readers.

The author critiques individualism, asserting that every minute detail in the world, from atoms and cells to more intricate systems, is interconnected.

The book comprises 13 chapters which explore how different elements such as time, geography, environment, culture, society, and individuals influence the course of events in the world.  Klaas starts with the discourse on contingency (contingent changes can stem from randomness) and convergence (convergent changes occur in respect to the relatively ordered and stable occurrences, producing same or similar outcomes), delving into the complexities of interconnectedness in the modern world. He critiques individualism, asserting that every minute detail in the world, from atoms and cells to more intricate systems, is interconnected. This interconnectedness reveals the potential causes affecting us and our surroundings, highlighting the importance of taking a relational view. While reality remains beyond human control, humans exert influence in numerous ways, leading to uncertainty and ambiguity regarding the future.

Klaas also examines the gap between human perception and actual reality, highlighting how our evolved brains selectively process information and seek causality, sometimes leading to teleological bias in complex environments.

Klaas also examines the gap between human perception and actual reality, highlighting how our evolved brains selectively process information and seek causality, sometimes leading to teleological bias in complex environments. Teleological bias results form a propensity to incorrectly assume the causal relationships between the unrelated events, such as children’s belief that mountains are made of people climbing them. Education is essential to overcome biases such as teleological ones. The author advocates that not everything occurs for a specific reason, and even the smallest random or arbitrary alterations in the course of events could result in numerous potential outcomes. Contingent changes can stem from randomness, potentially leading to significant alterations in the world. Even in the presence of order and structure, minor decisions and changes can still exert significant effects on individuals’ lives and societies. Klaas, however, does not view convergence as redundant.

Klaas introduces ‘self-organised criticality’ to elucidate the complex interconnectedness and diverse factors shaping reality, challenging the notion of singular causality.

He contrasts pre-modern and modern societies, noting how in the former, local instability coexisted with global stability, whereas the latter exhibit local stability alongside global instability due to intricate interrelations across fields. Despite our tendency to confirm cause-effect relations, effects can arise from multiple causes. Klaas introduces “self-organised criticality” to elucidate the complex interconnectedness and diverse factors shaping reality, challenging the notion of singular causality. While probabilities are often linked to cause-and-effect relationships to mitigate future uncertainty and anxiety, the complexities of the world render this approach insufficient. Klaas justifies this by noting that past events do not always provide reliable information about future possibilities.

Due to diverse personalities shaped by various factors such as environment, culture, and society the outcomes of events can vary. The book also emphasises that the individual matters, meaning actions and thoughts, are likely to yield diverse outcomes depending on who thinks and acts. What is equally important is how the recipient of information perceives and responds to it. As an individual, we, our body, and mind are constantly changing and evolving. In light of this, interpersonal dynamics can influence individual actions, leading to diverse outcomes. Hence, the individual and the specific moment hold significance, influencing and shaping the future.

Time, among the influential factors, plays a pivotal role in our lives and alters the outcomes of events. Klaas delineates the impact of time by using COVID-19 as an example. He contrasts productivity in the 1990s, where remote work was less feasible due to limited technology, with the present, where modern information and communication technology enables it. Similarly, had COVID-19 emerged in 1950, its spread might have been slower compared to today’s hyperconnected world. He underscores the significance of human mobility within these time scenarios. Time emerges as a crucial factor shaping actions, events, and outcomes.

According to determinists, everything happens as a result of past or initial conditions or forces of physics. A deterministic view asserts that nothing happens randomly and everything that happens stems from a cause-effect relationship. The indeterminist paradigm rejects the deterministic view of reality, and instead holds that small or tiny changes in the trajectory of things might engender various results. Opponents of determinist philosophy, or indeterminists, argue that some events lack deterministic causes and occur randomly, arguing that the future is unpredictable. Klaas discusses the concept of free will within this context, which contradicts the laws of physics, alongside the compatibility thesis, suggesting that free will and determinism can coexist. According to this thesis, human actions are formed by both first and second-order desires.

First-order desires entail wanting something or acting in a particular way, while second-order desires are not based on desiring something or acting in a particular way. Second-order desires result from human interactions with others, their surroundings, or their social and cultural environment, shaping perceptions and influencing decisions. Klaas, challenging the concept of free will, reiterates his argument from previous chapters that outcomes are not solely determined by our behaviour and actions, but are open to other influences.

The book highlights the world’s inherent disorder and uncertainty, which makes it fascinating. This uncertainty fuels our excitement for exploration.

We are often so immersed in virtual reality that we overlook the real world, limiting our exploration. The book highlights the world’s inherent disorder and uncertainty, which makes it fascinating. This uncertainty fuels our excitement for exploration. The world is inherently complex and chaotic, and not everything operates according to precise calculations. Every small step or decision we take has significance and helps to shape our lives. Uncertainty sparks curiosity, prompting us to explore the world and contemplate numerous potential outcomes.

Technical rationality often directs us towards exploitation rather than exploration. However, exploration is the foundation of creativity, allowing things to unfold naturally and revealing the world’s complexity. Seeking to control everything restricts our ability to perceive alternative realities. Klaas highlights the importance of prioritising exploration over exploitation. He notes our tendency to oversimplify the world into a predictable system driven by cause and effect. Yet, it is the world’s immense complexity and inherent unpredictability that keep us enthralled.

In our fast-paced world, it is easy to miss what truly unfolds around us. This book is invaluable for a wide audience, offering insights into how the world operates and prompting reflection on our own personal experiences. It encourages readers to recognise moments of flukes, chance encounters or unexpected events that can profoundly shape our lives.

Acknowledgement: I would like to express my gratitude to Anna D’Alton, Managing Editor, LSE Review of Books for editing the draft of this book review and providing invaluable feedback for improving its readability.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image creditMarco Martins on Shutterstock.

A Nation of Shopkeepers – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/05/2024 - 9:39pm in

Dan Evans’s A Nation of Shopkeepers explores the growth of the “petty bourgeoisie” in the UK following Thatcherism, as the rise of home ownership, small landlordism and changes to the world of work instilled individualist tendencies among this section of the middle class. According to Vladimir Bortun, the book is an intellectual tour de force, though he questions aspects of how Evans analyses Britain’s class structure.

A Nation of Shopkeepers: The Unstoppable Rise of the Petty Bourgeoisie. Dan Evans. Repeater Books. 2023.

A Nation of Shopkeepers by Dan Evans book coverA Nation of Shopkeepers is not your typical sociology book. Rather, it feels like a long letter written by Evans to his fellow leftists about how they’re not “getting” the petty bourgeoisie. It was not always like that. As he shows in Chapter One, Marxist classics – from Marx himself to Trotsky to Poulantzas – paid close attention to the socio-economic and political characteristics of the petty bourgeoisie. Unlike the working class, it owned its means of production (shopkeepers, artisans, small landlords, farmers) but, unlike the bourgeoisie, was always at risk of being pushed into the ranks of the proletariat by capitalism’s inherent tendency towards monopoly and proneness to crisis. As a result of that, the petty bourgeoisie would eventually wither as a distinct class.

Over the past century, [the petty bourgeoisie] expanded and diversified, as key developments such as the growth of the (welfare) state, the massification of education or the rise of cultural industries have added new layers to the proverbial ‘shopkeeper’.

However, as Evans points out, the opposite has happened: over the past century, this class expanded and diversified, as key developments such as the growth of the (welfare) state, the massification of education or the rise of cultural industries have added new layers to the proverbial “shopkeeper” – this is what Evans calls the “new petty bourgeoisie”’. This class fraction is, despite some similarities, distinct from the so-called “professional-managerial class”, which sits below the capitalist class and is defined by its role in managing the affairs of the latter (executives, lawyers, accountants, journalists).

Thus, due to its unprecedented expansion, the ideology and values of the petty bourgeoisie have spread throughout society, including within the contemporary left. As Evans notes, “this is why it is so important to understand the petty bourgeoisie itself” (300). What are these values, then, and what are they rooted in?

Evans contrasts the stability that has historically characterised both the working class and the bourgeoisie with the inherently precarious condition of the petty bourgeoisie. This class is perpetually faced with uncertainty, striving to climb the social ladder or at least avoid falling down it. In turn, this breeds an individualist outlook which consolidated and spread during the neoliberal era and is today often translated – particularly among the “old” fraction of this class – into voting for right-wing populist parties. Countering that would require the left to build an alliance between the working class and the petty bourgeoisie, as both have interests that objectively clash with those of the capitalist class.

But there is something problematic in how Evans justifies the existence of petty bourgeoisie’s two fractions. If shopkeepers and farmers are part of the (old) petty bourgeoisie because they own their means of production, then with public servants or academics (the new petty bourgeoisie) it is their supposed individualism that places them in this same social class (150). In other words, the former is part of the petty bourgeoisie due to its objective class location, but the latter is so due to its subjective class outlook. Making the latter the top criterion of class is not just analytically inconsistent but also inconsistent with the Marxist tradition that Evans seems to align himself to.

Perhaps more problematic is Evans’ relative lack of evidence of said individualism. Indeed, he does not explain how that claim squares up with the increased levels of unionisation and left-wing affinities observable in recent years among some of these new layers of the petty bourgeoisie. As Evans himself acknowledges, “it is the declassed, downwardly mobile graduates who march, who have placards, who have adopted the accoutrements and iconography of socialism, the working class and collectivism” (141).

Only in the concluding chapter does the author attempt to makes sense of this apparent contradiction: the left-wing orientation of the layers of graduates in non-graduate jobs – who in Britain, as he correctly points out, have formed the main social base of Corbynism – would still be down to their individualist outlook, a by-product of their frustration at being denied the upward social mobility that their university degrees once bore the promise of. Yet again, the author hardly provides any evidence for this conjecture. Instead, he invites us to consider a hypothetical situation:

“The fundamental difference between the graduate call centre worker and the non-graduate call centre worker is that the proletarianized graduate did not expect to be in a low-paid, deskilled job. … It is unlikely that the proletarian colleague with no degree has a LinkedIn profile, for example, or is continually applying for other jobs. While they are sharing the same experience now, their experiences and ideology are not the same as the static life experience of the working class” (281).

Even if this difference was true, though, would it be enough to designate to different social classes people working in the same job? Are people’s career aspirations or educational backgrounds more defining of their class status than their objective location in the economic system? Also, as Evans points out, the “proletarianized graduate” is proletarianised because they face job insecurity, relatively low wages and restricted access to the housing market. Is bemoaning these things rooted in upwardly mobile aspirations? Or is it rather about simply wanting basic living standards that an advanced capitalist country like Britain accustomed most of its citizens to in previous eras?

Are people’s career aspirations or educational backgrounds more defining of their class status than their objective location in the economic system?

Moreover, Evans often seems to operate with a rather essentialist analysis of the working class, portrayed as inherently collectivist and content in its lack of upward mobility. Not only does this ignore the rich sociological literature on the (complex) process of social mobility among the working class, it seems to assume that the “non-graduate worker” is content with working in a call centre, which is at odds with the body of research documenting the alienation of workers (graduates or not) in this specific sector and its impact on their class consciousness. Equally important, it sidelines how the neoliberal transformations over the past few decades, which Evans aptly documents with regards to work (Chapters Two and Three), education (Chapter Four) and housing (Chapter Five), have impacted the outlook of the working class in Britain (as illustrated by its disengagement with, and exclusion from, the political process).

The only significant and demonstrable difference between the working class and what Evans calls the ‘proletarianized new petty bourgeoisie’ is a university degree, which inadvertently lends support to the very ‘Blairite’ narrative about social-mobility-through-higher-education that the book otherwise sharply criticises.

In the end, the only significant and demonstrable difference between the working class and what Evans calls the “proletarianized new petty bourgeoisie” is a university degree, which inadvertently lends support to the very “Blairite” narrative about social-mobility-through-higher-education that the book otherwise sharply criticises. Perhaps, given the shared objective location of both the working class and the new petty bourgeoisie in the capitalist mode of production (ie, the need to sell their labour in order to pay the bills), the similar material conditions they face, their broad orientation towards the trade unions and the political left, these groups might be different fractions of the same class. Perhaps making that analytic move – rather than artificially separating these groups in a way that arguably reflects (and reinforces) neoliberal hegemony – would render even more feasible the kind of political unity that Evans forcefully calls for in his conclusion. Perhaps the new petty bourgeoisie is, after all, the new working class.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: OlgaUA on Shutterstock.

 

Online Philosophy Resources Weekly Update

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 27/05/2024 - 7:30pm in

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book reviews

The weekly report on new and revised entries at online philosophy resources and new reviews of philosophy books…

(If you notice something missing from the weekly update, let us know. Thanks.)

SEP

New:

  1. Ibn Taymiyya by Jon Hoover.

Revised:

  1. Socialism by Pablo Gilabert and Martin O’Neill.
  2. Time Machines by John Earman, Christian Wüthrich, and JB Manchak.
  3. Divine Illumination by Robert Pasnau.
  4. Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy by Natalie Stoljar.

IEP         ∅

NDPR     ∅

1000-Word Philosophy       ∅

Project Vox        ∅

BJPS Short Reads        ∅

Open-Access Book Reviews in Academic Philosophy Journals

  1. Mechanisms in Science: Method or Metaphysics? by Stravos Ioannidis and Stathis Psillos is reviewed by Katherine Valde at The British Society for the Philosophy of Science.

Recent Philosophy Book Reviews in Non-Academic Media

  1. Wisecracks: Humor and Morality in Everyday Life by David Shoemaker is reviewed by Kieran Setiya at The Atlantic.
  2. Philosophers on God: Talking About Existence, edited by Jack Symes, is reviewed by John Saxbee at Church Times.
  3. Spinoza: Freedom’s Messiah by Ian Buruma is reviewed at The Nation.
  4. Liberalism as a Way of Life by Alexandre Lefebvre, Free and Equal: A Manifesto for a Just Society by Daniel Chandler, and The New Leviathans: Thoughts After Liberalism by John Gray are together reviewed by Adam Gopnik at The New YorkerFree and Equal is also reviewed by Jeroen Bouterse at 3 Quarks Daily and by Patrick Luciani at The Hub.

Compiled by Michael Glawson

Previous Edition

BONUS: How to use the experience machine

 

The post Online Philosophy Resources Weekly Update first appeared on Daily Nous.

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