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Stephen Hicks

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Stephen Hicks
Hicks lecturing in 2013
Stephen Ronald Craig Hicks

(1960-08-19) August 19, 1960 (age 63)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
NationalityCanadian and American
EducationUniversity of Guelph (BA, MA)
Indiana University, Bloomington (PhD)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
InstitutionsRockford University
Main interests
Epistemology, business ethics
Notable ideas
Criticism of postmodernism, entrepreneurism

Stephen Ronald Craig Hicks (born August 19, 1960) is a Canadian-American philosopher. He teaches at Rockford University, where he also directs the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.



Hicks earned his Bachelor of Arts (Honours, 1981) and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Guelph, and his Doctor of Philosophy (1991) from Indiana University Bloomington. His doctoral thesis was a defense of foundationalism.[1]

Hicks is the author of six books and a documentary. Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004) argues that postmodernism is best understood as a rhetorical strategy of the academic left developed in reaction to the failure of socialism, communism and liberalism.[2]

Additionally, Hicks has published articles and essays on a range of subjects, including entrepreneurism,[3] free speech in academia,[4] the history and development of modern art,[5][6] Ayn Rand's Objectivism,[7] business ethics[8] and the philosophy of education, including a series of YouTube lectures.[9]

Hicks is also the co-editor, with David Kelley, of a critical thinking textbook, The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., second edition, 1998), Entrepreneurial Living with Jennifer Harrolle (CEEF, 2016), Liberalism Pro and Con (Connor Court, 2020), Art: Modern, Postmodern, and Beyond (with Michael Newberry, 2021) and Eight Philosophies of Education (with Andrew C. Colgan, forthcoming, 2023).

Nietzsche and the Nazis


Hicks is best known for his documentary and book, Nietzsche and the Nazis, which is an examination of the ideological and philosophical roots of Nazism, particularly how Friedrich Nietzsche's ideas were used and misused by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to justify their beliefs and practices.[10][11] This was released in 2006 as a video documentary[12] and then in 2010 as a book.[13]

Explaining Postmodernism


Hicks is also known for Explaining Postmodernism.[14] Steven M. Sanders, professor emeritus of Philosophy at Bridgewater State College, writes:

With clarity, concision, and an engaging style, Hicks exposes the historical roots and philosophical assumptions of the postmodernist phenomenon. More than that, he raises key questions about the legacy of postmodernism and its implications for our intellectual attitudes and cultural life.[15]

On the other hand, Explaining Postmodernism was criticised by Matt McManus (lecturer in sociology at the University of Calgary and the author of The Rise of Post-Modern Conservatism and A Critical Legal Examination of Liberalism and Liberal Rights amongst other books) as misrepresenting much of Western philosophy and being "full of misreadings, suppositions, rhetorical hyperbole and even flat out factual errors."[16] McManus also says,

Hicks completely misinterprets Lyotard’s quotation about Saddam Hussein in his 1997 book Postmodern Fables. Lyotard claims that, “Saddam Hussein is a product of Western departments of state and big companies,” which Hicks interprets to mean that Hussein is a “victim and spokesman for victims of American imperialism the world over.” In fact, Lyotard’s essay discusses the early support Hussein received from the American government during his prolonged war against Iran in the 1980s. These interpretive problems immediately make one suspicious that this book may be less about explaining postmodernism in a liberal and charitable way and more about lumping together and dismissing all forms of left-wing criticism that may owe an intellectual debt to continental European thought.[16]


  1. ^ Hicks, Stephen. "Foundationalism and the Genesis of Justification".
  2. ^ "Postmodernism Unpeeled". davidthompson. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  3. ^ Hicks, Stephen R. C. (May 2, 2016). "What Entrepreneurship Can Teach Us About Life". Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ Free Speech and Postmodernism, (2002)
  5. ^ "Why Art Became Ugly". atlassociety.org. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  6. ^ "Post-Postmodern Art". Michaelnewberry.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2010. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  7. ^ Objectivism page from Hicks's website
  8. ^ Business and economics ethics page from Hicks's website
  9. ^ Philosophy of Education page.
  10. ^ Donway, Roger. "The Postmodern Assault on Reason". The Atlas Society. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  11. ^ Review of Nietzsche and the Nazis: Paul Bishop, Journal of European Studies, doi:10.1177/00472441110410020506
  12. ^ "Stephen Hicks, Ph.D. » "Nietzsche and the Nazis" update". Stephenhicks.org. 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  13. ^ "Stephen Hicks, Ph.D. » Nietzsche and the Nazis". Stephenhicks.org. April 25, 2010. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  14. ^ Reviews of Explaining Postmodernism:
    • David Gordon, The Mises Review, [1]
    • Curtis L. Hancock, The Review of Metaphysics, JSTOR 20130628
    • Max Hocutt, "Hicks versus Postmodernism", The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, JSTOR 41560324
    • Edvard Lorkovic, Philosophy in Review, [2]
    • Marcus Verhaegh, The Independent Review, JSTOR 24562146
  15. ^ Stephen R. C. Hicks’s Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault: A Discussion Reason Papers 28 (Spring 2006): 111-124|accessdate=September 5, 2023
  16. ^ a b McManus, Matt (October 17, 2018). "A Review of Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks". Areo. Retrieved January 22, 2022.