Cover: The Place of Prejudice: A Case for Reasoning within the World, from Harvard University PressCover: The Place of Prejudice in HARDCOVER

The Place of Prejudice

A Case for Reasoning within the World

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$57.00 • £49.95 • €51.95

ISBN 9780674726840

Publication Date: 06/17/2014


288 pages

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


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The book is bold and invigorating. Sandel takes aim at one of the bedrock creeds of Western modernity: that genuine rationality requires the dismissal of all cultural, religious, and other contextual presuppositions—that is, the exodus from ‘prejudice’ (pejoratively construed). As is well known, Hans-Georg Gadamer in his Truth and Method had famously denounced the modern ‘prejudice against prejudice.’ Although circulating among some philosophers, Gadamer’s challenge was rarely taken to heart by social and political theorists—until Sandel’s book… There is a plethora of important insights and valuable situated judgments which readers will be able to savor in the course of a careful reading of the text… No doubt, the main achievement of the text is the retrieval of prejudgment or pre-understanding as a precondition of knowledge and action.—Fred Dallmayr, Political Theory

A remarkable, deeply humanizing book… [Sandel] points out that those who claim to have rid themselves of prejudice are, without exception, kidding themselves, even setting themselves up to be more susceptible to prejudice by creating a fictitious realm in which they are immune to it… Today researchers are assembling an ever-longer list of what they consider cognitive biases, which are apparently the product of a jumble of cognitive mechanisms that evolution has snatched up and crammed uncomfortably together. A new philosophical effort is needed to account for the findings of this science, and to challenge its shortcomings. Efforts like the one undertaken in The Place of Prejudice will be vital to this task.—Ari N. Schulman, New Atlantis

Political theorists interested in deliberation, reasoning, and social differences will find much to learn from this argument; and the book as a whole is most certainly an important contribution to ongoing discussions about justice and fairness in pluralistic societies.—Lars Tønder, Perspectives on Politics

Even those familiar with the points it makes will enjoy the sweep of its review across the history of philosophy and take pleasure in…its eloquence.—Georgia Warnke, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Adam Sandel’s book presents ‘the prejudice against prejudice’ and then the case against it in a clear and eloquent manner. The case still needs to be made to English-speaking audiences in a way that can be widely understood, and this text can do it. It would serve a great need in today’s Anglophone philosophical world.—Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age

A sweeping, ambitious, original, and provocative work. It takes on not a thinker or a theory, but a way of thinking that represents the achievement of modernity and the mark of intellectual and moral integrity: the capacity to liberate ourselves from prejudice and to see things objectively. Prejudice in fact is inescapable, on this account, and is a necessary starting point for practical reason. This is an ambitious book that makes good on its ambition.—Russell Muirhead, author of Just Work

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