From Publishers Weekly
Dividing world history into three phases (hunting/gathering, agriculture and industry), this study asserts that most agrarian civilizations are too self-limiting for the leap into capitalism and a market economy. "Gellner's ambitious theory smacks of Eurocentric hubris, and . . . his prose is turgid and portentous," chided PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
British philosopher/anthropologist Gellner offers a comprehensive theory of history: humans settle into agriculture, produce surpluses, and divide into complex subgroups. Communication becomes pressing. Written language emerges as a controlling super-reality, bringing a Platonic illusion of an eternal world. Gradually, facts take precedence over concepts and "objective knowledge" is born. This scheme takes us from the tribal society to the Royal Society, but Gellner has not met all the challenges. There are still those who think that real knowledge is offered only by theology, or Platonic mathematical and logical reality, or a society free of class tension. And Franz Borkenau urged in End and Beginning ( LJ 1/11/81) that all knowable reality is powerfully shaped by language. Thought-provoking but not conclusive.- Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.