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The Importance of Being CivilThe Struggle for Political Decency$
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John A. Hall

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153261

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153261.001.0001

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The Disenchantment of the Intellectuals

The Disenchantment of the Intellectuals

(p.152) Chapter 7 The Disenchantment of the Intellectuals
The Importance of Being Civil

John A. Hall

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the alienation of many modern intellectuals. Perhaps the modern world is bereft of meaning, but the affluence provided by modern science means that for the vast majority of people, the world has probably never been so enchanted. The romantic nostalgia so characteristic of modernist ideas is unlikely to have any general appeal once industrial conditions have been established. Curiously, there is very little empirical investigation into the purported misery of modern men and women, and certainly few findings to back up the view that disenchantment dominates most of social life. In contrast, there is a massive amount of evidence supporting the view of people being distracted from questions of meaning by the demands of status competition. This leads to the central point: artists and intellectuals have their own particular worries, and so may not give an accurate report on modern social conditions.

Keywords:   modern intellectuals, modern world, modern science, modernist ideas, disenchantment, social life, status competition, social conditions

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