...I want to call your attention to this profile of Roberto Mangabeira Unger from The New York Times yesterday. As I have noted here repeatedly     , I think Unger is quite interesting insofar as he is trying to export a quite radical version of American pragmatism to Brazil. I do not agree with Unger in all the details, but his views on institutional experimentation, radicalizing democracy and disentangling systemic political-economic reform from crisis all are crucially important.If you're a regular reader of Phron, you know I agree. Tell me, who among the US presidential candidates could you see creating a cabinet position (or any space) for Philosophical Ideas?
Can you imagine a U.S. Presidential candidate who promised to appoint a 'minister of ideas' or a council of intellectual advisors who were not narrow-minded economists? Lula has appointed Unger in Brazil. And, in a similarly remarkable move, in France the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy has solicited the views of Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz  on what might be included in a plausible metric for economic growth only to be ridiculed by the anti-intellecctuals at The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. It is astounding how fearsome ideas and inquiry can be. In a country where we are hostage to neo-conservative and neo-liberal ideologues, this is a fear I wish we could overcome.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Jim at Politics, Theory and Photography posts this news item about Roberto Unger, the Brazilian philosopher.