Four Arrows, aka Don Trent Jacobs, Ph.D., Ed.D. and Walter Block, Ph.D. are the authors of this fascinating compilation of research and cooperative argumentation. The authors explore numerous topics in an attempt to pursue the truth and gain a better, more comprehensive understanding of the subject, as well as other viewpoints. The idea of cooperative argumentation, particularly the way it is presented in the book, is intriguing. Instead of arguing for the sole purpose of prevailing as victors, the authors use each other's arguments to augment their own and subsequently, the readers' understanding--in order to gain a better perspective of the topic in question.
The authors are essentially worlds apart in their viewpoints: one is a Native American with an indigenous worldview and a liberal inclination, while another is a Jewish atheist with a Western worldview and a libertarian orientation. Nevertheless, this drastic dichotomy and critical, brutally honest argument is what makes the discussions enticing, meaningful, and most importantly, genuine.
The central question revolves around, "Should colleges and universities be in the business of addressing social and ecological justice and all the concepts embraced by it?" The format of the text is straightforward and easy to comprehend, beginning with an overview of the topics; from there the studies become more analytic in nature. In addition, the authors include reflective quotes at the beginning of each chapter to inspire thinking. An excerpt of memorable quotes includes "argumentation should be valued as the elixir of life of participatory democracy," and a reference to Will Rogers' pearl of wisdom, "everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."
Dr. Block's passionate support for "the free market" contrasts sharply with Four Arrows' commitment to respect for interconnectedness in many ways, but the two authors have also found much common ground and have each modified slightly their original understandings and resentments of their respective contrary viewpoints. Aside from the exciting and often humorous dialogue between these academic "enemies," there is something that happens between them that our world needs.