Category Archives: Books

Some surprising conclusions regarding creativity and innovation

Howard Gardner is well known for his theory of multiple intelligences. He is less well known for a fascinating book on creativity.  [This is obviously anecdotal, but I don’t know a single educator who has even heard of this book.] In his Creating Minds (1993), Gardner explores the lives of seven famous persons from the 20th […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 2

One of the strongest objections to Foucault’s philosophy is that his theory of discourse appears to resemble an old sociological perspective: structural functionalism. Structural functionalism is a sort of biological approach to understanding society: all parts of society work together to allow that society to function. The emphasis is on equilibrium, harmony and interdependence (though […]

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Examining Paul Veyne’s Foucault: Chp. 1

One of the most celebrated philosophers of the 20th century is Michel Foucault. At once both vilified and lauded, Foucault is a fascinating and demanding thinker. He certainly proved to be a challenge when his conception of the Self became the centerpiece of my Master’s thesis. Yet I’ve always maintained that his philosophy (or should […]

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Gabor Maté: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

One of my favourite books of 2010 is Dr. Gabor Maté’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. The following is a series of interviews with Maté, a Vancouver doctor who treats drug addicts in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver. The interviews are conducted by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now: Posted by Colin Welch at […]

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A Review of John Gray’s False Dawn

John Gray’s popular critique of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism, False Dawn*, was originally published in 1998. It has enjoyed a resurgence as a “prophetic” account of our current global economic problems, but I think the book is better viewed as an incomplete analysis, and one that is riven with contradictions and equivocations. Gray’s clearest and […]

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A.J. Polan: Lenin and the End of Politics

One of the more stimulating and thoughtful examples of progressive “left wing” pluralism is A.J. Polan’s Lenin & the End of Politics*. Polan’s book is not merely an attack on the political and historical outcomes of Bolshevism; it’s an attack on the very logic that underlies Lenin’s most democratic and emancipatory analysis of the state, […]

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Mark Bauerlein’s The Dumbest Generation

Mark Bauerlein’s The Dumbest Generation* argues that modern western society (and particularly American society) is moving from a relatively literate print-based culture to a post-literate technology culture. Bauerlein’s specific focus is on the new realm of social technologies (“e-mails, text messages, blog-postings and comments, phone calls, tweets, feeds, photos and songs” (p. x)) that he […]

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Notes and commentary on “No Contest? Assessing the Agonistic Critiques of Jürgen Habermas’s Theory of the Public Sphere”

Notes and commentary on: Brady, John. “No Contest? Assessing the Agonistic Critiques of Jürgen Habermas’s Theory of the Public Sphere.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 30.3 (2004): 331-354. ———————- John Brady’s article, “No Contest? Assessing the Agonistic Critiques of Jürgen Habermas’s Theory of the Public Sphere”, is a defence of Jurgen Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy. […]

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Some thoughts on Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s Contingencies of Value

  The sceptic still continues to reason and believe, even tho’ he asserts that he cannot defend his reason by reason. (David Hume) One of the best accounts of post-modern epistemology that I’ve read comes from Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s Contingencies of Value*. She provides a plausible and thorough explanation of what a “post-axiological” epistemology would look […]

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My Review of Neil Bissoondath’s Selling Illusions

Neil Bissoondath’s book, Selling Illusions, offers an unusual argument for a Canadian book, particularly since a non-white immigrant writes it. Selling Illusions opposes Canada’s official, sacred cow policy of multiculturalism. Generally speaking, Bissoondath’s book is a well-written treatise that discusses a potentially dry subject in clear, jargon-free prose. Nevertheless, his arguments suffer from some surprising […]

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