The Dilemma of Modernity
Philosophy, Culture, and Anti-Culture
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The development of modern culture along subjectivist lines has led to an analogue of psychological narcissism—to philosophical narcissism—in the culture. The intrinsic value of human cultural activity has been lost, and the intellectual foundation of the modern world-view has been destroyed.
Cahoone carefully develops the idea of subjectivity and narcissism using psychological theory, the dialectical theory of the Frankfurt school, and historians. The core of his interpretive argument is developed through careful analysis of Descartes and Kant as well as of Husserl and Heidegger. Cahoone maintains a carefully controlled continuity between the analysis of philosophic positions and what they reveal about culture.
In the conclusion, he moves toward a recreation of culture in non-subjectivist naturalism. Insights are drawn from Freud, Fairbairne, Winnicott, Kohut, Sennett, Lasch, Horkheimer, Adorno, Dewey, Cassirer, Kundera, and Buchler.
Lawrence E. Cahoone is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Boston University.
"I believe this is the most original and creative philosophy of modern Western culture since The Dialectic of Enlightenment in the 1940s. It shows how even the critics from whom the book draws insights remain within the confines of subjectivism. Cahoone's argument for a non-subjectivist culture, and for non-subjectivist philosophy of culture, makes a decisive contribution to the restoration of philosophy to its proper and needed cultural role." — Robert Cummings Neville