Some Questions and Criticisms of Sagan:

1. Raised at p. 58, but applies passim: is it appropriate to apply psychoanalytic terms, theories, practices, evaluations, and values to societies?  That is, in particular, can societies be paranoid?

2. Regarding p. 66: Sagan contends that “evolving toward equality is, by definition, moral.  Plato (and others) disagree.  What makes him so sure of his “values,” and conception of “normality” and “morality.”  Is there a possible confusion between his psychological account and his moral one (can one equate “non-psychotic” with “moral?”

3. Regarding p. 77: he contends that “eros binds society together.”  While he may be right for the MTV generation (sorry for the character assassination), is he right generally?  

4. Regarding p. 77: he contends that the positive transition from love of hierarchy to true citizenship “involves a transfer of love from the ruler to [love of] one’s country.”  Why not say “a transfer of love from the ruler to [love of]  the citizens?”  Is loving the country what he wants?  Is it what we want?

5. Regarding p. 309: he contends that our greatest anxiety is in regard to the dissolution of the self.  Is it?

6. Regarding p. 313: he contends that honor is a bad moral guide because it is “external” to us—justice is better because it is internalized.  Well, what makes "external" standards lesser than internal ones?

7. Regarding p. 319: sexuality and “perversion”—is he right here?  Moreover, is the application of this point to societies and mental health, etc. correct?

8. Regarding p. 332: he says that "overcoming the paranoid position is "imminent in all men," and that "the end of education in a free society is the creation of an environment in which the democratic spirit may thrive."  Are these claims right?  What is his argument for them?  

 Go to Hauptli's notes on Sagan

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