|A provocative survey of interdisciplinary challenges to the concept of determinism.
During the last few decades, the fundamental premises of the modern view of knowledge have been increasingly called into question. Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge, I: Determinism provides an in-depth look at “determinism” in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities in detailed and wide-ranging discussions among experts from across the disciplines. A concern for the future, and how to approach it, is evident throughout. Indeed, the sense that there exists a reciprocal relationship between the structures of knowledge and human systems, including ecosystems, suggests that thinking about the possible rather than the necessary may be a more winning strategy for our times. Weaving together in-depth articles and invigorating follow-up discussions, this volume showcases debates over the status and validity of determinism. Of special interest are the impact of determinism on the perception of and writing about the past, the relationship between chance and necessity in philosophy and grand opera, and the effect of determinism in mathematical modeling and economics.
“Modern knowledge, according to the contributors to this multivolume exercise (based on three symposia), is based on three questionable premises and principles: determinism, reductionism, and dualism. Each volume interrogates these three principles and seeks to find alternative and more satisfying bases for knowledge. The volumes include formal papers as well as commentaries and edited transcripts of the discussions at each symposium. The range is truly extraordinary, with papers covering everything from economics to opera, cognitive neuroscience, literary studies, mathematical modeling, and systems theory … [the volumes] open a host of questions for scholars to ponder and suggest many enlightening lines of inquiry … Highly recommended.” — CHOICE
Richard E. Lee is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Fernand Braudel Center at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is the author of Life and Times of Cultural Studies: The Politics and Transformation of the Structures of Knowledge and the coeditor (with Immanuel Wallerstein) of Overcoming the Two Cultures: Science versus the Humanities in the Modern World-System.