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Citizenship and democratic doubt : the legacy of progressive thought /
Bob Pepperman Taylor.
imprint
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2004.
description
xi, 196 p.
ISBN
070061348X (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2004.
isbn
070061348X (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Democratic doubt -- The heavenly city of the twentieth-century philosophers -- Jane Addams : "a modern Lear" -- Carl Becker : the heavenly city of the eighteenth-century philosophers -- Aldo Leopold : a Sand County almanac -- Conclusion.
catalogue key
5283964
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-05-01:
"Two pernicious ideas haunt the democratic imagination in America," says Taylor (Univ. of Vermont); they are scientism and utopianism. Like all ideologies, they provide false hope and unrealistic expectations, and they are predicated on a certainty that is fatal to democratic practice and perhaps to politics itself. American Progressives were the first intellectuals to be significantly possessed by these haunting spirits, and Taylor closely vets six of them: Herbert Croly, Walter Lippman, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Carl Becker, and Aldo Leopold. In Croly, Lippman, and Dewey, Taylor discovers not so much ideological wolves in democratic sheep's clothing, as wolves genuinely and tragically convinced they are really sheep. Their fatal error is not only their certainty (harmful enough to democratic inquiry), but their certainty that democracy as they conceive it will finally solve the problems of politics. In Becker, Leopold, and especially Addams, Taylor finds hope; their anguished and at times inconsistent positions offer the best chance for schooling democratic practice while retaining its necessary messiness. But Taylor's work is not really about these thinkers: it is rather a subtle--and slightly alarmed--meditation on the requirements of a democratic society, and as such, it is simply first-rate. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Berheide Berea College
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Choice, May 2005
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Bob Pepperman Taylor looks closely at six key thinkers in the Progressive tradition whose work helps illuminate the essential flaws in our current thinking about democracy. The six thinkers are Herbert Croly, Walter Lippman, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Carl Becker and Aldo Leopold.
Main Description
Much of the world today views America as an imperialist nation bent on global military, economic, and cultural domination. At home few share this negative view, largely because of a widespread belief in the irreproachable purity of our goals. Bob Pepperman Taylor, however, argues that our moral self-righteousness may potentially imperil our democratic ideals and threaten democracy itself by plunging us into illiberalism. Taylor looks closely at six key thinkers in the Progressive tradition whose work helps illuminate the essential flaws in our current thinking about democracy. Their writings, he contends, offer insights that can reinforce and strengthen a vigorous democratic faith, warn us of the dangers inherent in various forms of democratic arrogance, and counsel a kind of doubt or humility that would make us much better democratic citizens. All six thinkers-Herbert Croly, Walter Lippmann, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Carl Becker, and Aldo Leopold-were active in the first half of the twentieth century and grew out of and reflect the temper of American Progressivism, which spawned the most creative, optimistic, and committed generation of democratic theorists and activists in American history. Their writings, in Taylors view, illuminate harmful beliefs that constrain and even delude the popular democratic imagination in America. Taylor argues that Croly, Lippmann, and Dewey overestimate the normative value of science and underestimate the utopianism of their democratic visions. On the other hand, Addams, Becker, and Leopold resisted these scientific and utopian temptations. By advocating a kind of humility, they offered reform-minded Americans a stronger understanding of what it meant to practice democratic citizenship, however imperfectly. Addams counsels us to "walk humbly before God"; Becker embraces the Progressive faith in equality and justice but discards its dogma of certain progress; and Leopold employs moral authority rather than his scientific training to defend our natural inheritance in what he recognizes is an ambiguous political debate. These three, Taylor argues, by aiming less at the grand transformation of the human condition than at practical solutions, show greater respect for democratic possibilities than did their more messianic counterparts. They promote a much more modest understanding of the possibilities both for democracy and the role of science in informing democratic practice. They also point to a clearer understanding of the virtues that citizens should cultivate if democracy is to prosper.
Unpaid Annotation
Much of the world today views America as an imperialist nation bent on global military, economic, and cultural domination. At home few share this negative view, largely because of a widespread belief in the irreproachable purity of our goals. Bob Pepperman Taylor, however, argues that our moral self-righteousness may potentially imperil our democratic ideals and threaten democracy itself by plunging us into liberalism. Taylor looks closely at six key thinkers in the Progressive tradition whose work helps illuminate the essential flaws in our current thinking about democracy. Their writings, he contends, offer insights that can reinforce and strengthen a vigorous democratic faith, warn us of the dangers inherent in various forms of democratic arrogance, and counsel a kind of doubt or humility that would make us much better democratic citizens. All six thinkers--Herbert Croly, Walter Lippmann, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Carl Becker, and Aldo Leopold--were active in the first half of the twentieth century and grew out of and reflect the temper of American Progressivism. Their writings, in Taylor's view, illuminate harmful beliefs that constrain and even delude the popular democratic imagination in America. Taylor argues that Croly, Lippmann, and Dewey overestimate the normative value of science and underestimate the utopianism of their democratic visions. By contrast, Addams, Becker, and Leopold resisted these scientific and utopian temptations and offered reform-minded Americans a stronger understanding of what it meant to practice democratic citizenship. Addams counsels us to "walk humbly before God"; Becker embraces the Progressive faith in equality and justice but discards its dogma ofcertain progress; and Leopold employs moral authority rather than his scientific training to defend our natural inheritance in what he recognizes is an ambiguous political debate. These three, Taylor argues, by aiming less at
Table of Contents
Democratic doubtp. 1
The heavenly city of the twentieth-century progressivesp. 19
Jane Addams : "a modern Lear"p. 64
Carl Becker : The heavenly city of the eighteenth-century philosophersp. 86
Aldo Leopold : A Sand County almanacp. 110
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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