Cover: Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline, With a New Preface and Epilogue, from Harvard University PressCover: Public Intellectuals in PAPERBACK

Public Intellectuals

A Study of Decline, With a New Preface and Epilogue

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$34.00 • £27.95 • €30.50

ISBN 9780674012462

Publication Date: 10/30/2003

Academic Trade

464 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

2 line illustrations, 14 tables

World

In this timely book, the first comprehensive study of the modern American public intellectual—that individual who speaks to the public on issues of political or ideological moment—Richard Posner charts the decline of a venerable institution that included worthies from Socrates to John Dewey.

With the rapid growth of the media in recent years, highly visible forums for discussion have multiplied, while greater academic specialization has yielded a growing number of narrowly trained scholars. Posner tracks these two trends to their inevitable intersection: a proliferation of modern academics commenting on topics outside their ken. The resulting scene—one of off-the-cuff pronouncements, erroneous predictions, and ignorant policy proposals—compares poorly with the performance of earlier public intellectuals, largely nonacademics whose erudition and breadth of knowledge were well suited to public discourse.

Leveling a balanced attack on liberal and conservative pundits alike, Posner describes the styles and genres, constraints and incentives, of the activity of public intellectuals. He identifies a market for this activity—one with recognizable patterns and conventions but an absence of quality controls. And he offers modest proposals for improving the performance of this market—and the quality of public discussion in America today.

This paperback edition contains a new preface and and a new epilogue.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, by James Hankins, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with James Hankins, author of Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy

With Virtue Politics, James Hankins has delivered a bold, revisionist account of the political thought of the Italian Renaissance—from Petrarch to Machiavelli—that reveals the all-important role of character in shaping society, both in citizens and in their leaders. We spoke to him about the importance of virtue to leadership in Renaissance Italy—and its relevance to our own time.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.