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Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of…
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Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of False Knowledge (edition 2002)

by Bruce S. Thornton

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753227,226 (3.08)None
Member:wyliberty
Title:Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of False Knowledge
Authors:Bruce S. Thornton
Info:Intercollegiate Studies Institute (2002), Paperback, 279 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Blue - Politics 31

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Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of False Knowledge by Bruce S. Thornton

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While there is much to agree with in Thornton's admittedly interesting jeremiad, he falls into the trap of false knowledge he accuses others of having fallen into. Filled with clever quotes and wonderful slams at the admitted silliness of environmentalists and postmodernists, he nevertheless consistently makes sweeping generalizations based on often little more than reference to nineteenth century novels. For example, he quotes Herbert Marcuse, using him as a representative of silly thinking during the sixties and then proceeds to blame him (and the sixties) for "sexual disease, sexual degradation in the media and popular culture, unwed teen mothers, feral children raised by moral idiots, . . . (p. 25).

He vilifies the "cleverness with language" of the postmodern antirationalist yet on the same page indulges in the use of words like rodomontade and epiphenomena (47). Isolated anecdotes and examples are used to draw sweeping conclusions. Another example, "This is not to say that contemporary poststructuralists are incipient mass murderes. BUT [emphasis mine:] the connection between their ideas and the dehumanization that makes mass murder possible must be acknowledged." (49) Oh really? This is an example of rational thinking? It's unfortunate, Thornton has some very good points to make, but does not make them satisfactorily. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
I honestly remember nothing about this book... but I know I read it, back in 2001, because I wrote it down. Hm.
  maribou | May 6, 2013 |
A feat of intellectual history and contemporary social analysis and an ingenious diatribe on the new epidemic of false knowledge, this is an impassioned plea for reason amid irrationality,“swallowing falsities for truth, dubiosities for certainties, feasibilities for possibilities, and things impossible as possibilities."

BUY, BORROW, or BURN?
BUY ( )
  spacegod | Mar 27, 2009 |
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Introduction: "The inspiration for this book, Sir Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica, or "Vulgar Errors" as it was more commonly known, appeared in 1646, midway through the century that, literary historian Douglas Bush suggests, started more than half medieval and ended up more than half modern."
Text: "We in the West have an unshakable faith in the power of knowledge to solve any and every problem that besets us."
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A stirring and sobering diagnosis of the challenges that confront anyone laboring to renew America's tradition of ordered liberty. Classicist Bruce Thornton's Plagues of the Mind is a forceful vindication of the West's tradition of rational, critical inquiry-a legacy now largely jettisoned in favor of a host of new deities, environmentalism, feminism, primitivism, New Age, and the cult of the therapeutic among them.… (more)

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