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The Trouble with Principle

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  30 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Stanley Fish is an equal opportunity antagonist. A theorist who has taken on theorists, an academician who has riled the academy, a legal scholar and political pundit who has ruffled feathers, left and right, Fish here turns with customary gusto to the trouble with principle. Specifically, Fish has a quarrel with neutral principles. The trouble? they operate by sacrificing ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published March 2nd 2001 by Harvard University Press (first published 1999)
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Stanley Fish, let's face it, is a jerk. He kind of reminds me of that guy you knew in college who would argue fiercely about Heidegger and get super-wasted and still sleep with all the really sexy art-major girls, and you got along with him because he was cool, and in college that seemed to be the transcendental signifier.

But the thing is, Fish's logic is devastating. His ideas about the incommesurability and totality of worldviews, while sometimes simplistic, are generally correct. If nothing e
Nathanael Booth
Sep 14, 2010 Nathanael Booth rated it really liked it
Fish argues that the trouble with Principle is that it is an empty concept—that we fill talk of principle with whatever commitments we already bring to the table. In a way, he’s simply stating what Alvin Plantinga says in Warrented Christian Belief re: presuppositions, bases, etc. Fish is a coherentist, but his broader point is that the form your Epistemological or other philosophical commitments take is immaterial; we will always act on the basis of unchallenged assumptions that may or may not ...more
Fabiola Miranda
Dec 14, 2011 Fabiola Miranda rated it really liked it
Wow! This book is insane. I'm not a philosophy major (and I'm not very acquainted with logic or the social sciences for that matter), but after getting used to the first few chapters, this book pushes you to think about ideologies in a new way. Even after reading, I thought about the book a lot and about how Fish's POV's relate to society. Worth the struggle to read! ;)
Leonard Pierce
May 16, 2008 Leonard Pierce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Almost as much as Derrida, Fish sort of lives to needle people, and at times his style can be a bit, well, arch. Still, this is an amazing and brilliant piece of work, perfectly dovetailing into both relativism and neopragmatism while leaving intact Fish's own idiosyncratic views on principle and morality.
Mark Ward
Aug 28, 2011 Mark Ward rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
The trouble with principles is that they are appealed to as absolutes but are really just ad hoc rhetorical strategies to advance personal agendas. (Fish is right, I think, if God doesn’t exist.)
Mar 20, 2009 Bronwyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
'Boutique multiculturalism' is my favorite argument of his so far, and let me tell you, people who think themselves enlightened and liberal HATE hearing it.
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Stanley Eugene Fish is an American literary theorist and legal scholar. He was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. He is often associated with postmodernism, at times to his irritation, as he describes himself as an anti-foundationalist.

He is the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities and a Professor of Law at Florida International University, in Miami, as well as
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