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1 Burnside American Studies- General

Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline

by

Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this timely book, the first comprehensive study of the modern American public intellectual — that individual who speaks to the public on issues of political or ideological moment — Richard Posner charts the decline of a venerable institution that included worthies from Socrates to John Dewey.

With the rapid growth of the media in recent years, highly visible forums for discussion have multiplied, while greater academic specialization has yielded a growing number of narrowly trained scholars. Posner tracks these two trends to their inevitable intersection: a proliferation of modern academics commenting on topics outside their ken. The resulting scene — one of off-the-cuff pronouncements, erroneous predictions, and ignorant policy proposals — compares poorly with the performance of earlier public intellectuals, largely nonacademics whose erudition and breadth of knowledge were well suited to public discourse.

Leveling a balanced attack on liberal and conservative pundits alike, Posner describes the styles and genres, constraints and incentives, of the activity of public intellectuals. He identifies a market for this activity — one with recognizable patterns and conventions but an absence of quality controls. And he offers modest proposals for improving the performance of this market — and the quality of public discussion in America today.

Review:

"A U.S. Court of Appeals judge and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, Posner (An Affair of State) defines a public intellectual of which he himself is a distinguished example as one who plays the role of critical commentator for nonspecialist audiences on matters of broad public concern. After extensive theoretical and statistical analysis, he concludes that few modern public intellectuals have the requisite temperament, perspective, character, and knowledge to sustain the high level of performance demonstrated by pundits of earlier years." Library Journal

Synopsis:

market--and the quality of public discussion in America today.

About the Author

Richard A. Posner is Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Part One: General Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

1. Setting the Stage

2. The Market for Public Intellectuals

3. Care and Insight

4. Prediction and Influence

5. More Public, Less Intellectual

Part Two: Genre Studies

6. The Literary Critic as Public Intellectual

7. Political Satire

8. The Jeremiah School

9. The Public Philosopher

10. The Public Intellectual and the Law

Conclusion

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674006331
Subtitle:
A Study of Decline
Author:
Posner, Richard A.
Author:
Posner, Richard A.
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Political planning
Subject:
Intellectuals
Subject:
Specialists.
Subject:
History & Surveys - General
Subject:
Intellectuals -- United States.
Subject:
Political planning -- United States.
Subject:
Leadership
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
vol. 3
Publication Date:
January 2002
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 line illustrations, 14 tables
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline Used Hardcover
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Product details 416 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674006331 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A U.S. Court of Appeals judge and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, Posner (An Affair of State) defines a public intellectual of which he himself is a distinguished example as one who plays the role of critical commentator for nonspecialist audiences on matters of broad public concern. After extensive theoretical and statistical analysis, he concludes that few modern public intellectuals have the requisite temperament, perspective, character, and knowledge to sustain the high level of performance demonstrated by pundits of earlier years."
"Synopsis" by , market--and the quality of public discussion in America today.
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