This issue carries a wide-ranging series of articles ranging
from the historical – consideration of Bergson’s influence
on Sorel – to the immediate: Martin Barker’s analysis of
the mass media and ideology. Readers will note Radical
Philosophy’s steady expansion both in articles and
reviews, a move in the opposite direction of the
discipline’s fortunes within higher education.
Vout and Wilde’s “Socialism and Myth: the case of
Bergson and Sorel’ discusses the recent rise of interest in
Sorel’s work, particularly his Reflections on Violence,
and relates the historical influence of Bergson upon his
thinking. Bergson is one of those philosophers who was
very influential in his day, even something of a star, but
whose influence has waned. Vout and Wilde argue that
many of the weaknesses of Sorel’s arguments can be traced
to Bergson’s mysticism and anti-intellectualism.
Questions of violence and morality also appear in Carl
Hedman’s ‘Ethics and Group Conflict’, in which he
counterposes individual ethical behaviour with group
interests. Seeing that his hypothetical worker may be
attracted to both positions he sketches a third view of
ethics which he claims incorporates the attractive
features of the first two.
Sean Sayers’ article ‘The Need to Work’ addresses the
problem of work in a way that runs counter to much of the
technologically optimistic thinking that talks of the new
‘leisure-time’ economy. In relation to the miners’ strike
and to traditional socialist ideas Sayers defends the need
to work and locates it within philosophical debates about
human nature. In the best Radical Philosophy tradition he
attempts to concretize philosophical debate and to put its
insights to work in the wider world.
Martin Barker’s article started life as a paper given at
the recent Radical Philosophy conference and will be
followed by others in subsequent issues. Barker’s analysis
of ‘The Mass Media .and the Question of Ideology’ closely
examines the assumptions that underpin the new wave of
studies of the mass media. He points out the dualism of
assumptions about cognitive/non-cognitive influences at
work in cultural studies, and critically inte’rrogates the
conception of ideology at work there. Using concrete
examples he raises a whole series of contentious issues
about media studies in general.
As always we welcome replies to, expressions of
disagreement with, or extensions of, the arguments voiced
in these articles.
eRJlDICAL PHILOSOPIIY READER
Edited by Roy Edgiey and Richard Osbome
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