Plough, Sword, and Book: The Structure of Human History

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University of Chicago Press, Mar 2, 1992 - History - 288 pages
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"Philosophical anthropology on the grandest scale. . . .Gellner has produced a sharp challenge to his colleagues and a thrilling book for the non-specialist. Deductive history on this scale cannot be proved right or wrong, but this is Gellner writing, incisive, iconoclastic, witty and expert. His scenario compels our attention."—Adam Kuper, New Statesman

"A thoughtful and lively meditation upon probably the greatest transformation in human history, upon the difficult problems it poses and the scant resources it has left us to solve them."—Charles Larmore, New Republic
 

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Plough, sword, and book: the structure of human history

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British philosopher/anthropologist Gellner offers a comprehensive theory of history: humans settle into agriculture, produce surpluses, and divide into complex subgroups. Communication becomes ... Read full review

Contents

IN THE BEGINNING
13
The Structure of History
18
Trinitarianisms
21
Production Coercion Cognition
22
Which Way Will the Stone Age Vote Swing?
25
The Suspect Witness
37
COMMUNITY TO SOCIETY
41
Multiple Sensitivities
52
THE COERCIVE ORDER AND ITS EROSION
147
Conditions of the Exit
156
General Summary
172
PRODUCTION VALUE AND VALIDITY
174
Production and Coercion
178
The Three Stages of Economy
182
The Ideological Transition to the Generalized Market
184
The ReEntry Problem
191

Generic Types of Strand
55
Social and Logical Coherence
60
The Terminus
64
The Overall Plot
69
THE COMING OF THE OTHER
72
The Disembodied Word
73
Platonism
78
The Indirect Route
79
The First Unification
81
The Authority of Concepts
86
Platos Sociological Mistakes
88
THE TENSION
93
Church and State and their Separability
95
Protestantism Generic and Specific
102
CODIFICATION
115
The Sovereignty of Knowledge
118
The Dethronement of the Concept
124
ConceptImplementing and Instrumental Cultures
130
The Enlightened Solution and its Problems
135
The Age of Progress or Operation Bootstrap
142
The Circularity of Enlightened Reasoning
195
Objectivity or Not?
199
THE NEW SCENE
207
Egalitarianism
213
What Next?
215
SELFIMAGES
226
The New Coercive System
234
The Two RunningMates
240
The RightWing Alternative
244
Acorn or Gate
249
The New Social Contract
251
1945 and Some Recent Clauses in the Contract
259
PROSPECT
263
The Future of Production
266
The Future of Cognition
267
The Future of Coercion
270
Summary of Argument
275
Notes
281
Index
286
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Page 12 - But apart from this contemporary mood, the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.
Page 11 - Keynes once stated the liberal faith in the power of ideas in as extreme a way as possible: ... the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.

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Barry Smart
No preview available - 1993
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