With the rapid growth of the media in recent years, highly visible forums for discussion have multiplied, while greater academic specialization has yielded a growing number of narrowly trained scholars. Posner tracks these two trends to their inevitable intersection: a proliferation of modern academics commenting on topics outside their ken. The resulting scene - one of off-the-cuff pronouncements, erroneous predictions, and ignorant policy proposals - compares poorly with the performance of earlier public intellectuals, largely nonacademics whose erudition and breadth of knowledge were well suited to public discourse. Leveling a balanced attack on liberal and conservative pundits alike, Posner describes the styles and genres, constraints and incentives, of the activity of public intellectuals. He identifies a market for this activity - one with recognizable patterns and conventions but an absence of quality controls. He also offers modest proposals for improving the performance of this market - and the quality of public discussion in America today.
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(235mm x 155mm x 25mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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Author Biography - Richard A. Posner
Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.