This book challenges all forms of fundamentalism and unexamined belief systems from a philosophical and sceptical viewpoint. Is unquestioning belief making a global comeback? The growth of religious fundamentalism seems to suggest so. For the sceptically minded, this is a deeply worrying trend, not just confined to religion. Political, economic, and scientific theories can demand the same unquestioning obedience from the general public. Stuart Sim outlines the history of scepticism in both the Western and Islamic cultural traditions, and from the Enlightenment to postmodernism. Setting out what a sceptical politics might be like, Empires of Belief argues that we need less belief and more doubt: an engaged scepticism to replace the pervasive dogmatism that threatens our democracies. Key Features: *New book from the author of the highly successful Fundamentalist World. *Questions belief systems, including science and technology. *Intervenes in current debates around terrorism and fundamentalism. *Explores sceptical thought within different cultural traditions, especially Islam. *Suggests that scepticism can play a greater role in public and political life.
Stuart Sim is Professor of Critical Theory and Long Eighteenth-Century English Literature in the Dept. of English & Creative Writing, Northumbria University. The author or editor of 31 books, his work has been translated into 17 languages. He was elected a Fellow of the English Association in 2002. Amongst his recent publications are The End of Modernity, and The Lyotard Dictionary (both EUP).
Acknowledgements 1) Introduction: Empires of Belief, Campaigns for Scepticism 2) Scepticism: A Brief Philosophical History 3) Enlightenment Scepticism: A Campaign Against Unnecessary Hypotheses 4) Super-Scepticism: The Postmodern World 5) Science and Technology as Belief Systems 6) Towards a Sceptical Politics 7) Reasonable Doubt? 8) Conclusion: The Sceptic Fights Back Notes Bibliography Index