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Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography
July 25, 2010 9:45 AM Subscribe
The Rehabilitation of Ernest Gellner
- It is easy to imagine why Ernest Gellner would be one of the universally known figures in Anglophone intellectual life. A polymath whose work ranged across anthropology, history, philosophy, and sociology, his mind wrestled with an encyclopedia's worth of nagging questions about nationalism, modernity, civil society, imperialism, Islam, psychoanalysis, ethics and epistemology ... All of this, to repeat, should explain Gellner's monumental prominence – except for the fact that he has no such prominence.
A Combatant in the Battle of Ideas
- A defender of the West when it was most embattled, a defender of reason at a time of dangerous irrationality.
Farrell on McLemee on Hall on Gellner
- We are currently writing a paper that could fairly be summarized as Gellner wedded to an explicitly evolutionary theory of institutional change. With network theory! And machine learning! And cognitive science! And handwaving! Lots of handwaving.
Does Language Influence Culture?
- New cognitive research suggests that language profoundly influences the way people see the world; a different sense of blame in Japanese and Spanish.
The Advantages of Being Helpless
- Human brains are slow to develop--a secret, perhaps, of our success
, cf. Frans de Waal on the human primate: Strength is weakness
& Jonah Lehrer on the Secret of Successful Entrepreneurs