PUBLIC SEMINAR: open, critical, challenging, confronting the pressing issues of the day and fundamental problems of the human condition, expanding the project of The New School for Social Research.

Essays

The center of the Milky Way viewed from Oregon © Joe Parks | Flickr
DemocracyEssaysTheory & Practice

The Ethics and Politics of Responsible Belief

Prior to his death in June 2007, Richard Rorty turned his attention to religious belief and its place in the public sphere. Rorty had long been presenting himself as the “village atheist” in the domains both of academic philosophy and public intellectualism: he viewed religious belief as the most pervasive form of false metaphysical comfort, and as a political “conversation stopper” that is ineluctably at odds with the sort of foundationless liberal democracy he championed. But late in his career …

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A divided sky © Theophilos Papadopoulos | Flickr
EssaysThe Psyche

Growing up under Different Skies

I stand before you with more questions and contradictions than answers. I have chosen to speak of growing up “under different skies” because that was my destiny. What I don’t know is whether such a biographical accident sheds a very different light on growing up or whether it is more of the same with just greater geographical movement than in most young lives.

When I wrote a quarter of a century ago my intellectual autobiography …

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Women fighters of Kobane © free kurdistan | Flickr
DemocracyEssaysSex & Gender

The Mastery of Non-Mastery

As I write, the plug is being pulled on the steady-state.

Violence and tragedy take revenge on humanity through routinization. Sooner or later we become immune.

But is there a reverse process, such as Freud writes about in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where the nightmare recurs so as to provide the anxiety that would have …

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Public Seminar ReviewVolume 1, Issue 2
Second Semester/Summer 2014

The second semester of the Public Seminar is over, and the papers are now in, presented in this our second issue. Here you find short and long essays, supplemented by visual presentations around five major themes: Capitalism and its Alternatives, Democracy and its Enemies, Identities, the Arts and Literature, and Media, Memory and Miscellaneous. Note, though, that the pieces in fact address each other between and among these categories, as they consider “fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day, using the broad resources of social research,” staying true to the mission statement of Public Seminar, and to the scholarly and public project of our academic home, The New School for Social Research. -Jeffrey Goldfarb

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