After careful re-reading and analysis of original Old Burmese and other primary sources, the author discovered that four out of the five events considered to be the most important in the history of early Burma, and believed to have been historically accurate, are actually late-nineteenth and twentieth-century inventions of colonial historians caught in their own intellectual and political world.
Only one of these is a genuine indigenous Burmese myth, but it too has been embellished by modern historians.
The author discusses each of these five myths and concludes with an assessment of the current situation in Burma in the context of the new myths springing up today, thereby bringing the thirteenth century into the twentieth.
In Paradigms and Barriers Howard Margolis offers an
innovative interpretation of Thomas S. Kuhn's landmark idea
of "paradigm shifts," applying insights from cognitive
psychology to the history and philosophy of science.
Building upon the arguments in his acclaimed Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition, Margolis suggests that the
breaking down of particular habits of mind—of critical
"barriers"—is key to understanding the processes through
which one model or concept is supplanted by another.
Margolis focuses on those revolutionary paradigm shifts—
such as the switch from a Ptolemaic to a Copernican
worldview—where challenges to entrenched habits of mind
are marked by incomprehension or indifference to a new
paradigm. Margolis argues that the critical problem for a
revolutionary shift in thinking lies in the robustness of the
habits of mind that reject the new ideas, relative to the
habits of mind that accept the new ideas.
Margolis applies his theory to famous cases in the history of
science, offering detailed explanations for the transition
from Ptolemaic to cosmological astronomy, the emergence of
probability, the overthrow of phlogiston, and the emergence
of the central role of experiment in the seventeenth century.
He in turn uses these historical examples to address larger
issues, especially the nature of belief formation and
contemporary debates about the nature of science and the
evolution of scientific ideas.
Howard Margolis is a professor in the Harris Graduate School
of Public Policy Studies and in the College at the University
of Chicago. He is the author of Selfishness, Altruism, and Rationality and Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition, both published by the University of Chicago
The revolution involving the foundations of the physical sciences heralded by relativity and quantum theories has been stimulating philosophers for many years. Both of these comprehensive sets of concepts have involved profound challenges to traditional theories of epistemology, ontology, and language. This volume gathers six experts in physics, logic and philosophy to discuss developments in space exploration and nuclear science and their impact on the philosophy of science.
Paradigms and Sand Castles demonstrates the relationship between thoughtful research design and the collection of persuasive evidence in support of theory. It teaches the craft of research through interesting and carefully selected examples from the field of comparative development studies.
Barbara Geddes is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.
An examination of the American fascination with conspiracy and the distrust it sows
The recent popularity of The DaVinci Code and The Matrix trilogy exemplifies the fascination Americans have with conspiracy-driven subjects. Though scholars have suggested that in modern times the JFK assassination initiated an industry of conspiracy (i.e., Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Area 51, Iran-Contra Affair), Samuel Chase Coale reminds us in this book that conspiracy is foundational in American culture—from the apocalyptic Biblical narratives in early Calvinist households to the fear of Mormon, Catholic, Jewish, and immigrant populations in the 19th century.
Coale argues that contemporary culture—a landscape characterized by doubt, ambiguity, fragmentation, information overload, and mistrust—has fostered a radical skepticism so pervasive that the tendency to envision or construct conspiracies often provides the best explanation for the chaos that surrounds us.
Conspiracy as embodied in narrative form provides a fertile field for explorations of the anxiety lying at the heart of the postmodern experience. Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Don DeLillo's Underworld, Toni Morrison's Jazz and Paradise, Joan Didion's Democracy, Tim O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods, and Paul Auster's New York City Trilogy are some of the texts Coale examines for their representations of isolated individuals at the center of massive, anonymous master plots that lay beyond their control. These narratives remind us that our historical sense of national identity has often been based on the demonizing of others and that American fiction arose and still flourishes with apocalyptic visions.