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反思公共知识分子与社会

已有 6153 次阅读 2010-5-19 05:20 |个人分类:读书学艺|系统分类:人文社科

反思公共知识分子与社会

2010.05.19

近来在读Thomas Sowell的Intellectuals and Society(《(公共)知识分子与社会》)。

Amazon上Intellectuals and Society的信息链接:http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/046501948X/#noop

Thomas Sowell是美国重要的保守派思想家之一。更为重要的是,他是一个黑人保守派思想家,这是很不常见的事情。wiki百科上是这样介绍的:

Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930), is an American economist, philosopher, political commentator, social critic and author. He often writes as an advocate of laissez-faire economics. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholarship melding history, economics, and political science. In 2003, he was awarded the Bradley Prize for intellectual achievement.

wiki百科上Thomas Sowell资料链接:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell

Thomas Sowell个人网站链接:http://www.tsowell.com/

Thomas Sowell在美国社会的影响不小,还获得过2002年的美国国家人文科学奖章(National Humanities Medal )。尽管Sowell在20出头的时候是一个Marxist,但他后来追随Milton Friedman,也成为很有成就的经济学家和思想家。他的转变,来源于他对与社会的实证研究。

wiki百科上对Sowell的思想的总结如下:

Thought
The major themes and philosophies of Sowell's writing range from social policy on race, ethnic groups, education and decision-making, to classical and Marxist economics, to the problems of children perceived as having disabilities. Sowell has also extended his research from the United States to the international sphere, finding supporting data and patterns from several cultures and nations. He has demonstrated that similar incentives and constraints often result in similar outcomes among very different peoples and cultures.

Five themes in his work cut across specific topics:
1.The importance of empirical evidence, not only in a narrow technical sense but as reflected in the broad record of history.
2.The competing basic visions of policy makers, and their role in the interactions of elites versus the ordinary masses.
3.An importance of trade-offs, constraints and incentives in human decision making.
4.The significance of human capital—attitudes, skills, and work.
5.The importance of systemic (orderly, structured) processes for decision-making—from free markets to the rule of law.

These five keys place the economist's writings in the greater context of historical synthesis and human decision-making, rather than being simply those of a conservative pundit or "race" writer on particular contemporary social issues. Sowell's work is also a significant answer to critiques of economics arguing that the discipline has failed to come to grips with real world problems and is occupied too much with technical models and details, while paying little attention to historical processes.

照说,Thomas Sowell自己著作等身,又常常对公共和社会事务发表意见,也算是地地道道的公共知识分子,可是他却一直对所谓的公共知识分子大加批判。他在2010年1月出版的这本Intellectuals and Society新书,算是他在这方面的思想之总结与集成。

我以前对Thomas Sowell并没有直接了解,但因为自己一直在思考所谓公共知识分子的问题,自去年圣诞节前后就抽空在收集有关公共知识分子与社会的研究著作,结果发现了Thomas Sowell的这本新书,以及他的其它著作。

历史上公共知识分子,尤其是那些持激进思想的公共知识分子,对社会带来的危害是有目共睹的。所以思考和批判所谓公共知识分子这一传统,很有价值。这并不是要一棍子把公共知识分子打死,而是要对公共知识分子去魅,把他们打回原形,让他们该干嘛干嘛。

事实上,在丫头先生的《反问:你有没有一不小心担当了“公共知识分子”角色?》博文所引用的陈远先生的文章中,已经清楚地说明所谓公共知识分子本身就是社会失范的写照。而绝大多数的这些公共知识分子本身具有病态,也就不是一件让人难以理解的事情了。

陈国文《反问:你有没有一不小心担当了“公共知识分子”角色?》博文链接:http://www.sciencenet.cn/blog/user_content.aspx?id=325415

最糟糕的事情,是那些本身就有病态的公共知识分子,要坚持给社会开药方,本不是一件了不起的事情。但他们将这些药方包上公平正义的糖衣,再煽动民众吃下去,就不是小事了。这在近代史上绝不乏糟糕的范例,而中国人民在这个问题上其实是受害最深的。

事实上,社会存在一定的病态是正常的,最重要的是要有耐心地通过创造性和建设性的努力改变社会。社会从来就没有很多激进的公共知识分子描述的那样病态,根据虚幻的病态描述开出来的激烈药方只会达到饮鸩止渴的效果。事实上,历史上最病态的的社会,都是按照那些激进而不择手段地要建设全新社会的公共知识分子的理想塑造出来的。

正因为如此,人们才应该了解最基本的人性与常识,远离那些激进的公共知识分子制造出来的鸟有之乡。

以下为youtube上Thomas Sowell谈Inttellectuals and Society的访谈视频:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERj3QeGw9Ok



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