Wilfrid Laurier University Press

  • Should we stop teaching critical thinking? Meant as a prompt to further discussion, Critical Condition questions the assumption that every student should be turned into a "critical thinker."
    The book starts with the pre-Socratics and the impact that Socrates' death had on his student Plato and traces the increasingly violent use of critical "attack" on a perceived opponent. From the Roman militarization of debate to the medieval Church's use of defence as a means of forcing confession and submission, the early phases of critical thinking were bound up in a type of attack that Finn suggests does not best serve intellectual inquiry. Recent developments have seen critical thinking become an ideology rather than a critical practice, with levels of debate devolving to the point where most debate becomes ad hominem. Far from arguing that we abandon critical inquiry, the author suggests that we emphasize a more open, loving system of engagement that is not only less inherently violent but also more robust when dealing with vastly more complex networks of information.
    This book challenges long-held beliefs about the benefits of critical thinking, which is shown to be far too linear to deal with the twenty-first century world. Critical Condition is a call to action unlike any other.

  • There are many ways to approach the subject of public space: the threats posed to it by surveillance and visual pollution; the joys it offers of stimulation and excitement, of anonymity and transformation; its importance to urban variety or democratic politics. But public space remains an evanescent and multidimensional concept that too often escapes scrutiny. The essays in Rites of Way: The Politics and Poetics of Public Space open up multiple dimensions of the concept from architectural, political, philosophical, and technological points of view. There is some historical analysis here, but the contributors are more focused on the future of public space under conditions of growing urbanization and democratic confusion. The added interest offered by non-academic work-visual art, fiction, poetry, and drama-is in part an admission that this is a topic too important to be left only to theorists. It also makes an implicit argument for the crucial role that art, not just public art, plays in a thriving public realm. Throughout this work contributors are guided by the conviction, not pious but steely, that healthy public space is one of the best, living parts of a just society. The paths of desire we follow in public trace and speak our convictions and needs, our interests and foibles. They are the vectors and walkways of the social, the public dimension of life lying at the heart of all politics.

  • This book constitutes a major and comprehensive reevaluation of British defence policy in the early 1930s.The author traces the evolution of British opinion toward rearmament, from opposition to approval, between 1931 and 1935 and assesses the impact of this opinion on the formation of the Government's defence policy. He places public opinion among the many factors which determined the extent and timing of British rearmament during this period and concludes that the leaders of those Governments were not "Guilty Men" who let political considerations overrule their responsibility for national security, but rather prudent men who decided on rearmament before it was publicly acceptable.
    Documented from such sources as newspaper editorials, cabinet papers, speeches of Members of Parliament, and results of by-elections, the book will be of interest to historians, students of policy decisions and public opinion, and persons interested in the events leading to World War II.

empty