Stanley Fish: The Critic As Sophist (Reconsideration Ii) (Critical Essay‪)‬

Modern Age 2003, Summer, 45, 3

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Descripción editorial

"HEARKEN AND HEAR THEN," says Thrasymachus. "I affirm that the just is nothing else than the advantage of the stronger" (Republic 338C). Thus Plato, the founder of the Academy, dramatizes the political outlook of a sophist of the fourth century B.C., a view that today would be the equivalent of "anti-foundationalism" or of "social constructivism." The rest of the first book of the Republic consists of Socrates unfolding the myriad contradictions in this viewpoint through a series of ironically pointed questions. After Thrasymachus is effectively dismissed, the remaining nine books proceed through a complex discussion of the nature of the Just and its place both in the individual soul and in the community. One of the founding works not only of Western philosophy but indeed of the humanist tradition is careful, then, to acknowledge the influence of sophistry in the intellectual life of Athens; but it devotes a relatively brief space to its refutation. The sophists, however, would now seem to be enjoying their revenge. What is today called the "academy" is largely dominated by sophistry, and a prominent academic spokesman, Stanley Fish, is pleased to flaunt the designation, "The Contemporary Sophist." (1) Fish may well be the most famous professor of English in contemporary America; that is, unlike most of us, his name will occasionally crop up in Time or Newsweek or even in the New York Times. He first gained notoriety as a defender of political correctness and radical academic programs as Chairman of the English Department at Duke, which he helped to transform into a citadel of postmodernism. When the Department imploded in the mid-nineties, he was briefly Director of Duke University Press and then went on to his current position as Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago. (It is a curious feature of university administration that reducing an academic department to a state of confused bickering is often a means of becoming a dean on another campus.)

GÉNERO
Técnicos y profesionales
PUBLICADO
2003
22 de junio
IDIOMA
EN
Inglés
EXTENSIÓN
27
Páginas
EDITORIAL
Intercollegiate Studies Institute Inc.
TAMAÑO
200,4
KB

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