Differing Worldviews in Higher Education Paperback – Nov 15 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Two people with totally different world views: Jewish-atheist libertarian and Native-American-leftist
Two people with excellent reasoning skills
Two people with a commitment to hear each other well, respond on the merits, and change their views where appropriate.
Two people whose goal is pure: to make the world better.
And yet neither of them changed much through the process of writing this debate with each other. That, in my view, is testimony to how difficult it is to change anyone...about anything.
So yes, read this book, but probably not to have your mind changed. Read it for the pure enjoyment of experiencing high-quality, ethically conducted debate. You'll probably come away only believing what you believed when you started reading the book, but you'll enjoy it. Tip: This is not a book to be rushed through. It's the kind of book you might, for example, want to take on vacation when the voice of "I need to do X" is softer. While the writing is accessible, the arguments are densely made so take your time. Savor.
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.
Does this enterprise succeed? There's some, yet very little, coming together of the two disparate philosophies. However both authors, the one with whom I agree with most(Block)and the one with whom I agree with least(Four Arrows,)do make a good faith attempt to be true to the interesting agenda they've set.
Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D