First Published in Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company. Jan 16, Postmodernism, Reason and Religion, by Ernest Gellner; Anthropology and Politics: Revolutions in the Sacred Grove, by Ernest Gellner. Read the full-text online edition of Postmodernism, Reason and Religion ().

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Postmodernism, Reason and Religion

Return to Book Page. Postmodernism, Reason and Religion by Ernest Gellner. The main thesis of Postmodernism, Reason and Religion is that we face three ideological options at the present time. One is a return to the genuine and firm faith of religious tradition.

Another is the pursuit of a form of relativism which abandons the notion of truth and resigns itself to treating truth as relative to the society or culture in question.

The third upholds The main thesis of Postmodernism, Reason and Religion is that we face three ideological options at the present time. The third upholds the view that there is a unique truth, but denies that any society can be firmly in possession of it. How can we account for the extraordinary strength of Islam in the modern world?

Are the views of the Enlightenment still an acceptable basis for social order?

In Postmodernism, Reason and ReligionErnest Gellner suggests that we face three ideological options at the present time: The first option is especially strong in Muslim societies, and the book explores the reason why. Gellner finds the explanation in the relationship between high culture and low culture within Islam, where the high culture, previously the achievement of the minority, has now become the pervasive culture of the entire society.

This high culture within Muslim societies performs a function similar to those performed by nationalism elsewhere. The second option is more fully developed in postmodernism in the West. The author is highly critical of this movement, arguing that postmodernism indulges in a kind of subjectivism as a form of expiation for the sins of colonialism. He maintains that the objectivity pursued as an ideal by social science during the colonial period was in fact a tool of domination, and that a subjectivist relativism is a way of moving beyond that mode.

The book explores the strengths and weaknesses of the third option. He proposes that this option only works on assumption of inner compromise, and a separation of truth taken seriously as opposed to truth used as cultural decoration. This shrewd and penetrating book, written by one of the world’s most highly respected social thinkers, digs into the heart fo the controversy between Islam and the West.


It is a superb source of stimulating ideas and sound judgement that will be of particular interest to students of sociology, anthropology, philosophy and Islamic studies.

Paperbackpages. Published August 22nd by Routledge first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Postmodernism, Reason and Religionplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Postmodernism, Reason and Religion. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.

Jun 10, Risa marked it as to-read Shelves: May 17, Harrison rated it it was amazing Shelves: Funniest, most insightful take-down of postmodern relativism on the market?

Just very well may be.

Postmodernism, Reason and Religion : Ernest Gellner :

Aug 04, Anubha rated it liked it. Good for the pomo dissfest in the middle rreligion of the book, and nothing else. Poshmodernism 04, Robert Holm rated it liked it Shelves: For a book that demolishes the postmodernist fad which it does thoroughly and admirablythis is in itself needlessly dense, repetitious and verbose in many places. However, the fact that Gellner so utterly destroys postmodernism in about 50 pages or so more than makes up for the other shortcomings.

The whole book is only pages long. On questions of faith and by extension truththere are three main ideological options available to us, Gellner argues. They are religious fundamentalism, po For a book that demolishes the postmodernist rreligion which it does thoroughly and admirablythis is in itself needlessly dense, repetitious and verbose in many places.

They are religious fundamentalism, postmodern relativism, and enlightenment rationalism.

As this was written in the early s, Gellner’s views on fundamentalism and rrligion Islamic fundamentalism are dated and of little relevance to anyone trying to understand the present and continuing worldwide surge in Islamic terrorism – Gellner is instead mostly concerned with the Iranian Revolution.

His strangely muted opinions might also have had something to do with the fact that this book was originally intended as a collaboration with a Muslim academic, Akbar Ahmed. For whatever reason that collaboration came to naught, and Ahmed’s contribution was published separately.

Gellner’s attack on relativism makes up the middle section and the bulk of the book, and should be required reading for anyone deluded enough to think that postmodernism is still fashionable. This despite the text being almost a quarter century old.

Gellner comes close to polemics at times, and these are the only parts of the book that are genuinely enjoyable to read. Postmodernism takes such a beating that there’s very little left to add once the dust has settled.


That section alone gets four stars maybe even five, if it hadn’t been for the dense postmkdernism.

As I’m personally a strong adherent of the third of the above mentioned options, enlightenment rationalism, I came away a bit disappointed in what little Gellner had to say about it especially since Gellner was a rationalist himself. His wishy-washy and at times highly misleading approach in the brief final sections of the book does no service to reason. But he can’t refrain from delivering a few additional well-placed kicks to the beaten-beyond-all-recognition posterior of postmodernism, so at least there’s that.

Aug 03, Imran Kazi rated it it was amazing.

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Ernest Gellner was a prominent British-Czech philosopher, social anthropologist, and writer on nationalism. Books by Ernest Gellner. Trivia About Postmodernism, Re No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from Postmodernism, Re No argument could be simpler or more conclusive. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.