Barbara Herrnstein Smith

An incomplete review, notes only from this excellent article. Hat tip to Sam Norton in his comment below. And some good links in the piece, eg to Stanley Fish.

Explanation … avoiding reductionism.

Terry Lectures on video – nb Terry Eagleton joke ?

“It was I felt, characteristic of the delightfully informal nature of American society that I should receive a letter from Yale inviting me to deliver the Terry Lectures. I had of course long been accustomed to the instant-first-name culture, but this long-range intimacy nevertheless came as something of a surprise.”
Terry Eagleton “Reason, Faith and Revolution”
The Terry Foundation Lectures, Yale, 2009

Flattening out “important differences” … finding difference is easy, synthesising common value is harder – Mary Parker-Follett.

Determinedly symmetrical. Refusing to take a stand on big issues “of our time”. (see also Zizek’s Empty Wheelbarrow.)

Keep mixed groups (with important differences) talking on common ground – Mary Parker-Follett again and conflict resolution (integration, as opposed to compromise)

James & Nietzsche, Metaphysical Poets and the Poetics, B.F.Skinner (vs Chomsky “impoverished”), Dewey, Hume, Burkert, Gombrich, Meyer, Sokal (“mischief, unrepresentative”, “mutual ignorance and caricature”, “demonizing”.)

Cognitive science of religion … “The New Naturalism” Distinction between New Atheism of Dawkins and New Naturalism of Dennett, though even Dennett limited – a misunderstanding – “correspondingly dubious conception of beliefs—religious and otherwise—as static, discrete items of cerebral furniture” – far from static or discrete, just useful …. misplaced reductionism again.

Excellent piece.

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