Promises Of Purity

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Contemporary Psychology


The reviewer notes that Western culture creates significant tales of lost purity, the demise of times, places, or forms of life from which derive all that is (or was) good. The present volume (see record 1996-98325-000) is just such a tale. The loss in this case is what Reed calls "primary experience," or direct sensory contact with our ecological realities. For Reed, John Dewey's pragmatism stands as the major beacon of opposition. More congenial to Reed's lament for the loss of primary experience are sources lodged not in philosophy ("secondary experience") but in the tissue of everyday life itself. Reed raises important questions concerning the effects on cultural life of the incremental reliance on disembodied modes of communication.

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