Knowledge and Politics
Free Press | ISBN: 0029328705 | 1976-09-01 | PDF | 352 pages | 3 Mb
This book was justly considered a masterpiece when written in the mid 1970s. Of course, history, philosophy, epistomology, and everything else moves on, so it seems pointless to criticize the book based on what has evolved in our thinking since it was written---particulary because this book has influenced much of that thinking. Unger, however, took a great step forward in applying (primarily to law) Foucault's ideas about the political value judgments inherent in every choice we make between degrees of particularity and degrees of abstraction. In simple terms, do we describe a car as a four-wheeled motor vehicle or as a 1998 red Dodge two-door coupe? Unger demonstrates that we have the choice to describe it either way, depending on what values we are trying to promote. He can be---and has been---fairly criticized for not attributing the obvious influence Foucault must have had on his thinking. But it is definitely a book worth reading, first for its own merits and second for a better understanding of what has evolved from it. And that none of our policiticans has had, or likely ever will have, the courage to try to implement the book's conclusions is not the fault of the messenger.
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