September 17, 2007

Chasing down the John Searle quote from Rachel Donadio's aforelinked Revisiting the Canon Wars piece.
"There is a certain irony in this in that earlier student generations, my own for example, found the critical tradition that runs from Socrates through the Federalist Papers, through the writings of Mill and Marx, down to the twentieth century, to be liberating from the stuffy conventions of traditional American politics and pieties. Precisely by inculcating a critical attitude, the "canon" served to demythologize the conventional pieties of the American bourgeoisie and provided the student with a perspective from which to critically analyze American culture and institutions. Ironically, the same tradition is now regarded as oppressive. The texts once served an unmasking function; now we are told that it is the texts which must be unmasked."

John Searle
The Storm Over the University
The New York Review of Books, December 6, 1990


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