The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past

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The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past

By Keith Windschuttle
Free Press, 1997
298 pp. $25.00
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In the tradition of Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind (1987) and Roger Kimball's Tenured Radicals (1990), Windschuttle, an Australian academic, blasts various contemporary intellectual currents, including cultural studies, post-structuralism, deconstructionism, critical theory, and the like. The author provides a highly readable tour of the morass that is postmodern academia in the West: if you ever wondered what was wrong with Michel Foucault's theories but were too embarrassed to ask, this book provides a straightforward if unsympathetic exposition and critique. The problem with all of these trends is their relativism, the assertion that there is no way of adjudicating between cultural values, and that Western rationalism, in particular, provides no way out. In addition to the easy targets, Windschuttle presents an interesting account of the relativistic legacy of Karl Popper's empiricism.