Wordtrade LogoWordtrade.com


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Philosophical Papers: Volume One; Philosophical Papers: Volume Two by Peter Unger (Oxford University Press) While well-known for his book-length work, philosopher Peter Unger's articles have been less widely accessible. These two volumes of Unger's Philosophical Papers include articles spanning more than 35 years of Unger's long and fruitful career. Dividing the articles thematically, this first volume collects work in epistemology and ethics, among other topics, while the second volume focuses on metaphysics.
Unger's work has advanced the full spectrum of topics at the heart of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind, and ethics. Unger advances radical positions, going against the so-called "commonsense philosophy" that has dominated the analytic tradition since its beginnings early in the twentieth century. In epistemology, his articles advance the view that nobody ever knows anything and, beyond that, argue that nobody has any reason to believe anything--and even beyond that, they argue that nobody has any reason to do anything, or even want anything. In metaphysics, his work argues that people do not really exist--and neither do puddles, plants, poodles, and planets. But, as Unger has often changed his favored positions, from one decade to the next, his work also advances the opposite, "commonsense" positions: that there are in fact plenty of people, puddles, plants and planets and, quite beyond that, we know it all to be true. On most major philosophical questions, both of these sides of Unger's significant work are well represented in this major two volume collection.
Unger's vivid writing style, intellectual vitality, and fearlessness in the face of our largest philosophical questions, make these volumes of great interest not only to the philosophical community but to others who might otherwise find contemporary philosophy dry and technical.

All the Power in the World by Peter Unger (Oxford University Press) This bold and original work of philosophy presents an exciting new picture of concrete reality. Peter Unger provocatively breaks with what he terms the conservatism of present-day philosophy, and returns to central themes from Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Russell. Wiping the slate clean, Unger works, from the ground up, to formulate a new metaphysic capable of accommodating our distinctly human perspective. He proposes a world with inherently powerful particulars of two basic sorts: one mental but not physical, the other physical but not mental.

Whether of one sort or the other, each individual possesses powers for determining his or her own course, as well as powers for interaction with other individuals. It is only a purely mental particular--an immaterial soul, like yourself--that is ever fit for real choosing, or for conscious experiencing. Rigorously reasoning that the only satisfactory metaphysic is one that situates the physical alongside the non-physical, Unger carefully explains the genesis of, and continual interaction of, the two sides of our deeply dualistic world.

Written in an accessible and entertaining style, while advancing philosophical scholarship, All the Power in the World takes readers on a philosophical journey into the nature of reality. In this riveting intellectual adventure, Unger reveals the need for an entirely novel approach to the nature of physical reality--and shows how this approach can lead to wholly unexpected possibilities, including disembodied human existence for billions of years. All the Power in the World returns philosophy to its most ambitious roots in its fearless attempt to answer profoundly difficult human questions.

Fears in Post Communist Society: A Comparative Perspective by Eric Shiraev and Vladimir Shlapentokh (Palgrave) is addressed to everybody who is interested in European politics, East European studies, and, in particular, post‑communist and transitional societies. This volume appeals to political scientists, historians, political psychologists, and sociologists. The book is also con­templated for classroom use as a required reading in comparative politics, international relations, and Russian and Eastern European politics. It can supplement a wide spectrum of university undergraduate and graduate courses.

This book is a result of a 3‑year‑old cross‑national research venture sponsored by the National Council for Eurasian Studies, which has already endorsed the results of the project. The work is based on a series of empirical projects‑primarily national pools and smaller surveys‑conducted in post‑communist European countries in the 1990s and 2000, including Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Czech Republic. The goal of these projects was to investigate and discuss the content of fears, wor­ries, and concerns in post‑communist society. In particular, this book dis­cusses various economic fears, fears of catastrophes, worries about internal and foreign enemies, health concerns, and environmental alarms in connection to various aspects of political, social, and economic life in post­communist countries.

This work is based on two types of analysis. The first is an empirical ex­amination of human fears and worries in the designated countries. The methodology of the project is based on multiple‑source approaches, in­cluding both "snapshots" of opinion polls and longitudinal methods. The researchers were able to consolidate results of public opinion polls with other sources of empirical information, such as small surveys, case studies, and analyses of focus‑group discussions. The second type is the exploration of political and social factors that influenced these worries. In this book, the authors gauge sociological traditions that emphasize both rational and irrational elements of the individual's fears.

The book contains a foreword, seven chapters, two essays, an analytical conclusion, and a list of references. Chapter 1 is written by V Shlapentokh and E. Shiraev and includes a comprehensive description of the nature of human fears, followed by an overview of various societal impacts on fears and worries of the individual in democratic and transitional societies. The chapter also addresses general political, social, and cultural changes during the period of post‑communist transition in Europe.

Chapters 2 through 7 are dedicated to six national cases: Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. Chapter 2 is written by a group of leading Russian sociologists and pollsters: Yuri Levada, Vladimir Yadov, Vladimir Shubkin, Grigoriy Kertman, Veronika Ivanova, and Eric Shiraev. Chapter 3 is written by Martina Klicperova­Baker, an expert in political and social transition of contemporary Czech Republic. Chapter 4 is dedicated to analyses of worries in Poland and prepared by Urszula Jakubowska, a senior researcher from the Polish Academy of Sciences. Chapter 5 is written by Vladimir Paniotto, a chief pollster and sociologist from Ukraine, and Eric Shiraev. Chapter 6 is prepared by Larissa Titarenko, a leading sociologist from Belarus. Chapter 7 deals with fears and worries of people in Lithuania and is written by Vladas Gaidys, a sociologist and chief specialist in national public opinion. Chapter 8, written by Samuel Kriger, is dedicated to the study of fears among ex‑Soviet immigrants in the United States. The final two commenting essays provide additional comparative information about the dynamics of some people's worries and concerns in two countries: Israel (immigrants from ex‑Soviet republics), prepared by V Aptekman, and the United States, written by David W Rohde. Chapter 9 is written by Vladimir Shlapentokh and Eric Shiraev as an analytical conclusion to the book.

Please visit the book's website (http://classweb.gmu.edu/eshiraev). There you can find additional tables and charts related to this study. We also provide regular updates of new polls, public opinion studies, and post opinion essays on a great variety of topics related to post‑communist countries of the former Soviet bloc.

Headline 3

insert content here