In Pursuit of Relevance

In Pursuit of Relevance

  • Hardback
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 150 x 230mm
  • Bloomington, United Kingdom
  • facsims
  • 0253141907
  • 9780253141903

Review Text

"No effort is more relevant today than the effort to maintain standards of excellence and principles of order - intellectual, moral, esthetic." Professor Muller faces the real du siecle with this conviction, and gently restates his values - rationality, individuality, personal freedom. He takes seriously students' feelings about an uncertain future, but instead of looking hard at the origins of this conviction, he wanders through the curriculum, pointing out, for example, the limitations of science but also its glory, and remarking on the deficiencies of behaviorism. Drawing on a theme from his Spirit of Tragedy, Muller affirms the relevance of tragic literature, but, quoting Kurtz's last words in Heart of Darkness, adds "One may wonder whether the military and political leaders implied in the horrors of our war in Vietnam will ever manage to be as honest with themselves." Most of the time, however, Muller doesn't strain for cheap shots; the trouble with the book is that he hasn't all that much to say, and says it hesitantly, which is disarming but not very bracing. Thus he has reservations about Roszak's praise of the counterculture but prefers to look on the brighter side of it; he addresses himself ("an old liberal") to the new left, but while upholding liberalism as a "creed" seems unable to elaborate a programmatic liberal campaign for the country with any conviction. Owing to the high and wide reputation of his earlier books, including Freedom In the Modern World and The Uses of the Past, this still should attract attention. (Kirkus Reviews)show more