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Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS Certain consequences and dilemmas of modernity, especially as they reveal themselves in the current phase, preoccupy Gellner in the last part of the book. Industrial society is now to all intents and purposes world society. Yet industrial society is unique in the extent to which its mode of cognition, science, resolutely remains incapable of legitimating the moral and social order. Worse, in its anonymity and radical autonomy, science constantly upsets that order. There is a consequent disjunction between cognition, 'the world we seriously think in', and culture, 'the world we live in', the system of roles and everyday relations. As the material needs of the mass of the population in industrial societies are increasingly satisfied, a huge question mark hangs over the means and the manner by which we sort out values and priorities in the coming years. One of the consequences of this predicament is the reassertion of the political and the re-entry of coercion in the social order of industrialism. The infrastructure of modern society is so complex and at the same time so crucial to its survival that it is naive to suppose that it can be safely left to market forces. Decisions
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