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Debating the End of HistoryThe Marketplace, Utopia, and the Fragmentation of Intellectual Life$
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David W. Noble

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680580

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680580.001.0001

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Two-World Metaphors, from Plato to Alan Greenspan

Two-World Metaphors, from Plato to Alan Greenspan

(p.1) 1 Two-World Metaphors, from Plato to Alan Greenspan
Debating the End of History

David W. Noble

University of Minnesota Press

I explain my focus on the modem metaphor of two worlds. Starting with Plato and contemporaries in Greek cities, the bourgeoisie have imagined they are leaving a complex timeful world and are reaching a simple timeless world. This metaphor is identified with the victory of the middle class in the Renaissance and Enlightenment over the traditional world of a feudal aristocracy. Modem science, symbolized by Newton, gave this modem world the foundation of timeless space. Capitalists could act as if their marketplace was free from human, animal, and plant generational cycles. Modem capitalism operates with a state-of-nature anthropology in which there is an individual outside of culture. Today most anthropologists work with cultural anthropology that assumes individuals are always within culture. I also point to how the bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century identified their particular nations as timeless states of nature. But World War Two caused the bourgeoisie to reject particular nations as the end of history and to affirm the global marketplace as the only simple and timeless space.

Keywords:   American studies, Cultural studies, Intellectual history, Timeful and timeless space

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