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Building a Bridge to the 18th Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future

by Postman, Neil

  • ISBN: 9780375401299
  • ISBN10: 0375401296

Building a Bridge to the 18th Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future

by Postman, Neil

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • Publish date: 12/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780375401299
  • ISBN10: 0375401296
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Description: The future can only be built upon the past, and in the past are great thinkers and some great thoughts waiting to be rediscovered. As this century winds down and a natural summing up takes place, it's clear that our culture, like every culture, could use some guidance -- especially about our relationship to technology, and especially in light of the fact that so many people are now strangers to history.

Here Neil Postman turns our attention to the eighteenth century -- to the Enlightenment -- to find ideas that offer a humane direction to the future, ideas that we can carry with confidence across the proverbial "bridge to the twenty-first century."

We find there Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Kant, Hume, Adam Smith; Thomas Paine, Jefferson and Franklin. It is where we developed our ideas about inductive science, religious and political freedom, education, rational commerce, the nation-state, progress, and our modern notion of happiness. In this wise (and witty) book Postman takes us through all of them and more, through one of the most hopeful episodes in the life of mankind (to quote Isaiah Berlin), focusing on principles we've too easily abandoned and could profitably re-embrace. He emphasizes education throughout and ends with five specific recommendations for changing the way we teach our children.

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