Challenging the Orthodoxies
Orthodoxy originally meant simply ‘true opinion’ or ‘right judgement’. If this were still its meaning, our title Challenging the Orthodoxies might seem a little foolish, or even perverse. Who in their senses would want to challenge true opinions and right judgements? This is not our purpose, however, or that of the contributors to this book. Orthodoxy has since taken on an extended meaning. Today it carries the implication of imposing an opinion or judgement as if it were true and right. It also implies dissuading dissenters, by emphasising the established or accepted character of the orthodox opinions or judgements. It encourages the use of the social sanctions of scorn or ridicule to deter those who might be inclined to think themselves a little wiser than the rest of humankind from saying so. Orthodoxies are no longer just sets of beliefs. They are beliefs to assent to which one feels some kind of social and psychological pressure.
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