The Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson burst into public awareness when he opposed the compulsory use of newfangled gender-pronouns. He has since published two best-selling books, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) and Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life (2021) and has become the leading public intellectual on social media.
Although Peterson has an almost cult-like following, and arouses strong passions, both for and against, there has been very little focused, objective criticism of his provocative views on a wide variety of topics: the role of religion, the alleged need for more value and meaning in the modern world, the way young people should conduct their lives, the history of Marxism and postmodernism, male-female relations; the interpretation of Bible stories, the inevitability of hierarchy and inequality, and the application of Jungian archetypes.
Jordan Peterson: Critical Responses brings together new and searching criticisms of various specific aspects of Peterson’s ideas. Though on balance decidedly critical, the authors represent a range of different backgrounds and philosophical assumptions, and the criticisms are fair and temperate, eschewing the personal attacks which have marred many of the pronouncements of Peterson’s opponents.
Sandra Woien is Senior Lecturer in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. She edited the highly-acclaimed anthologies, Jordan Peterson: Critical Responses (2022) and Sam Harris: Critical Responses (2023).