.Berger has appeared on Charlie Rose and Bill Moyers and has written for the New York Review of Books.
We are stuck. Both as a culture and as individuals, we find it much easier to articulate what we are against and find ourselves at a loss for words when we need to articulate what we are for. World-famous sociologists Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld team up to present a profound treatment of how we can have confidence in our convictions-in such ideals as democracy, human rights, equality under the law, etc.-without succumbing to the radical doubts of relativism and the false certainties of fundamentalism. With new lenses for seeing the influence modernism, relativism, and fundamentalism, they explore the roles of humor, doubt, and social norms that help us have convictions without grasping them so tightly that we become fanatical.
Anton C. Zijderveld is Professor Emeritus of General Sociology at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He taught briefly in the United States and Canada. Among his many publications are The Abstract Society, On Cliches, and Reality in a Looking-Glass.
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In Praise of Doubt
Peter Berger, Anton Zijderveld
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"The best parts of In Praise of Doubt explore the cultural battlegrounds where a consensus has broken down or not yet coalesced . . . Messrs. Berger and Zijderveld are optimistic: They believe that moral progress is on the march and that moderation is a virtue everyone can agree on."
- Wall Street Journal
"One of the wonders of the modern era is that it provides so many choices. But those
choices, sociologists Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld write in their book In Praise of
Doubt, can have dangerous consequences-creating not only relativists but fundamentalists, too. Nourishing doubt, they say, is the only way society can counteract those extremes and bring about moderation."
- U.S. News & World Report
"In his new book In Praise of Doubt, sociologist Peter Berger discusses the dangers of absolute certainty. He mentions the often-quoted plea of British statesman Oliver Cromwell to Scottish Presbyterians during a time of upheaval in 1650: 'I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.' That seems an appropriate caveat in the matter of the sanctuary as well."
- Trenton NJ Times
"This is not yet another polemic arguing that religion is the source of all evil. Nor is it a simplistic homage to all-powerful reason. Rather, it's a serious attempt to explain how to find middle ground between conviction - religious and otherwise - and doubt. . . . Berger and Zijderveld believe that doubt can serve as a type of psychic cushion between all our different certainties. It turns out that liberal democracy -- with its protections of individual rights -- is the strongest guarantor of doubt. In fact, Berger and Zijderveld argue that doubt -- especially as expressed in the idea of a loyal opposition -- is at the heart of a democratic system."-