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Kept Alive for Thirty Days

Stefan Collini: Metrics, 8 November 2018

The Tyranny of Metrics 
by Jerry Z. Muller.
Princeton, 220 pp., £19.95, February 2018, 978 0 691 17495 2
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The Metric Tide 
by James Wilsdon et al.
Sage, 168 pp., £19.99, February 2016, 978 1 4739 7306 0
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... schools – popularly known as ‘No Child Left Behind’. As the American historian Jerry Muller reports in his hair-raising analysis of this and similar schemes: ‘Under NCLB, scores on standardised tests are the numerical metric by which success and failure are judged. And the stakes are high for teachers and principals, whose raises in ...

Fire the press secretary

Jerry Fodor, 28 April 2011

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind 
by Robert Kurzban.
Princeton, 274 pp., £19.95, January 2011, 978 0 691 14674 4
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... Sometimes, when I’m feeling dyspeptic, I wonder why psychologists have such a down on minds. Psychologists, of all people. In philosophy, ever since Plato, the mainstream opinion has been that the mind is the organ of thought; thinking is what the mind is for, and we act as we do because we think what we do. But psychologists, for the last hundred years or so, have mostly viewed that sort of ‘intellectualism’ as an embarrassing remnant of the Enlightenment: behaviourists say that the question of what minds are for doesn’t arise, since there aren’t any ...

A Family of Acrobats

Adam Mars-Jones: Teju Cole, 3 July 2014

Every Day Is for the Thief 
by Teju Cole.
Faber, 162 pp., £12.99, April 2014, 978 0 571 30792 0
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... friend’ is a phrase that announces its awkwardness every time it appears. ‘I’ll call him Jerry’ would be preferable, getting the awkwardness over with. Julius refers to himself in passing as being mixed race, and some of his encounters with the world are filtered through perceptions of his status. He spends a lot of time exploring New York on ...

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