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Donald Nordberg "Editor, The BoardAgenda" (London)

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Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
by Stephen Edelston Toulmin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT'S NOT SO RATIONAL ABOUT RATIONALISM, 28 Dec. 2006
It might be hubris for a scholar to think he can, seriously, summarise 400 years of intellectual and political life in just 209 pages. But Stephen Toulmin has done this, and with great wit and charm. First published in 1990, it led one reader to spend hours in an elegant bar in Manhattan extolling its virtues as a guide to strategy, when it isn't in any sense a "business book". I came back to it recently, prompted by a chat with an architecture student and a sense that I had overlooked something in the French philosophical debate over structuralism and deconstructionism. Toulmin writes about a hidden agenda behind the philosophical tradition we know variously as modernism or rationalism. Its roots lie in the 17th century, when Descartes' declaration cogito ergo sum set the philosophical world on a path of reason and order. Newtonian physics built upon it, and from there the Enlightenment, and one might well argue - as Toulmin merely suggests - almost all of modern economics. But this rational approach, which dominated thinking in strategy until about the time of Toulmin's book, arose from deeply emotional roots - the scars of the religious conflict behind the Thirty Years' War. More - <a href="[...]">[...]>

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