This paper examines the conceptual development of the philosophical justifications for tyrannicide. It posits that the politicalphilosophy of tyrannicide can be categorised into three distinct periods or models, the classical, medieval, and liberal, respectively. It argues that each model contained unique themes and principles that justified tyrannicide in that period; the classical, through the importance attached to public life and the functional role of leadership; the medieval, through natural law doctrine; and the liberal, through the postulates of (...) social contract theory. Subsequent analysis of these different models however, reveals that these historical models are unable to provide a sufficient philosophical basis for a contemporary justification of tyrannicide. In Part II, it will be contended that a reinvigorated conception of self-defence, a theme common to all three models, when coupled with the modern notion of universal human rights, may provide the foundation for a contemporary theory of tyrannicide. (shrink)
The volume brings together a collection of original papers on some of the main tenets of Joseph Raz's legal and politicalphilosophy: Legal positivism and the nature of law, practical reason, authority, the value of equality, incommensurability, harm, group rights, and multiculturalism.
The land of chimeras -- Rousseau's half-being -- Navigating the land of chimeras with our only star & compass -- John Locke's other half being -- Nature does nothing in vain -- The foundation of almost every social virtue -- In a word, a better citizen.
"In 1776, the American Declaration of Independence appealed to "the Laws of nature and of Nature's God" and affirmed "these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain ...
This is a review article of Charles Beitz's 2009 book on the philosophy of human rights, The Idea of Human Rights. The article provides a charitable overview of the book's main arguments, but also raises some doubts about the depth of the distinction between Beitz's 'practical' approach to humans rights and its 'naturalistic' counterparts.
" This Volume tries to cover some important parts of the whole spectrum of European Studies. The essay of Fabrizio Sciacca begins with the issue of human rights. Sciacca relates the development of human rights regimes within the European Union to the general question of human rights education, without which human rights must keep abstract legality" (Hauke Brunkhorst, Preface).
This authoritative collection of the seminal texts in post-war politicalphilosophy has now been updated and expanded. Reprints key articles, mainly unabridged, touching upon the nature of the state, democracy, justice, rights, liberty, equality and oppression. Includes work from politics, law and economics, as well as from continental and analytic philosophy. Now includes thirteen additional texts, taking account of recent developments in the field and reflecting the most pressing concerns in international affairs. Can be used alongside (...) A Companion to Contemporary PoliticalPhilosophy (Blackwell Publishing, 1993; second edition in preparation) as the basis for a systematic introduction to the subject. (shrink)
Terrorism, Security and Nationality shows how the concepts and methods of politicalphilosophy can be applied to the practical problems of terrorism, state violence and national security. The book clarifies a wide range of issues in applied politicalphilosophy, including the ethics of war, theories of state and nation, the relationship between communities and nationalisms, and the uneasy balance of human rights and national security. Ethnicity, national identity and the interests of the state, concepts commonly (...) cited to justify terrorist acts, all imply starkly contrasting notions of what constitutes a political community. Paul Gilbert examines the reasons for political violence and the plausibility of such justifications. He investigates notions of terrorism as unjust war and as political crime and concludes by considering the proper response of the state to political violence. (shrink)
The second edition updates and expands the coverage to include developments in the field over the past decade, especially in the areas of international politics and global justice. New contributors include some of today’s most distinguished scholars, among them Thomas Pogge, Charles Beitz, and Michael Doyle Provides in-depth coverage of contemporary philosophical debate in all major related disciplines, such as economics, history, law, political science, international relations and sociology Presents analysis of key political ideologies, including new chapters on (...) Cosmopolitanism and Fundamentalism Includes detailed discussions of major concepts in politicalphilosophy, including virtue, power, human rights, and just war. (shrink)
In Search of a PoliticalPhilosophy is an analysis of the three democratic `isms'--conservatism, liberalism, and socialism--and of the distinct nature of the all-consuming ideology of Marxist communism. W. J. Stankiewicz is concerned with the conscious and unconscious assumptions of the proponents and followers of each ideology, and those of their theoreticians and critics. Stankiewicz examines the norms by which political ideologies are characterized, and discusses which of these are given precedence. He provides an analysis of how (...) each ideology views such issues as freedom and restraint, responsibility, equality, justice, power, authority, property, human nature and happiness. He also examines the areas of ideological contiguity and mutual influences, the sources of ideological incomprehension in our society, and the forces that split Western societies. In Search of a PoliticalPhilosophy takes issue with the positions of some of our leading political theorists and represents an original contribution to politicalphilosophy in its own right. It makes a stimulating and challenging contribution to the areas of politics, politicalphilosophy, ethics, political and social theory, the history of political thought, and the history of ideas. (shrink)
Canadian theorists and philosophers are recognized internationally for their contributions to normative debates about citizenship, multiculturalism, and nationalism. The superb essays collected here reflect a broad range of contemporary political and philosophical issues: liberalism and citizenship; equality, justice, and gender; minority rights and identity; nationalism and self-determination; and the history of politicalphilosophy.
Ideal for survey courses in social and politicalphilosophy, this volume is a substantially abridged and slightly altered version of Steven M. Cahn's Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy (OUP, 2001). Offering coverage from antiquity to the present, PoliticalPhilosophy: The Essential Texts is a historically organized collection of the most significant works from nearly 2,500 years of politicalphilosophy. It moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle) through the medieval period (Aquinas) to (...) modern perspectives (Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Adam Smith, Hamilton and Madison, Kant). The book includes work from major nineteenth-century thinkers (Hegel, Marx and Engels, Mill) and twentieth-century theorists (Rawls, Nozick, Foucault, Habermas, Nussbaum) and also presents a variety of notable documents and addresses, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. The readings are substantial or complete texts, not fragments. An especially valuable feature of this volume is that the works of each author are introduced with an engaging essay by a leading contemporary authority. These introductions include Richard Kraut on Plato and Aristotle; Paul J. Weithman on Aquinas; Roger D. Masters on Machiavelli; Jean Hampton on Hobbes; A. John Simmons on Locke; Joshua Cohen on Rousseau and Rawls; Donald W. Livingston on Hume; Charles L. Griswold, Jr., on Adam Smith; Bernard E. Brown on Hamilton and Madison; Paul Guyer on Kant; Steven B. Smith on Hegel; Richard Miller on Marx and Engels; Jeremy Waldron on Mill; Thomas Christiano on Nozick; Thomas A. McCarthy on Foucault and Habermas; and Eva Feder Kittay on Nussbaum. (shrink)
This paper provides a critical exploration of the capability approach to human rights (CAHR) with the specific aim of developing its potential for achieving a synthesis between “humanist” or “naturalistic” and “political” or “practical” perspectives in the philosophy of human rights. Section II presents a general strategy for achieving such a synthesis. Section III provides an articulation of the key insights of CAHR (its focus on actual realizations given diverse circumstances, its pluralism of grounds, its emphasis (...) on freedom of choice, its demand for public reasoning, its context-sensitive universalism, and its broad view of obligations). These insights go some way toward the achievement of the desired synthesis. But, as explained in IV.1, in its current form CAHR faces two serious objections by the defenders of the political perspective: the Gap Between Capabilities-Interests and Rights Objection and the Disconnect From Practice Objection. Answering these criticisms requires some amendments to CAHR. Section IV.2 suggests a response to the first objection based on the introduction of a contractualist framework of justification. Sections IV.3 and IV.4 tackle the second objection by introducing a re-characterization of the cosmopolitan standard underlying the humanist perspective and by identifying the differences and relations between various dimensions of a conception of human rights and their significance for actual political practice. The paper illustrates the practical implications of CAHR, in its modified form, for the pursuit of some important rights. (shrink)
Censorship in the area of public health has become increasingly important in many parts of the world for a number of reasons. Groups with vested interest in public health policy are motivated to censor material. As governments, corporations, and organizations champion competing visions of public health issues, the more incentive there may be to censor. This is true in a number of circumstances: curtailing access to information regarding the health and welfare of soldiers in the Kuwait and Iraq wars, poor (...) health conditions in Aboriginal communities, downplaying epidemics to bolster economies, and so forth. This paper will look at the use of a computer worm (the benevolent health worm) to disseminate vital information in␣situations where public health is threatened by government censorship and where there is great risk for those who ‹speak out’. The discussion of the benevolent health worm is focused on the Peoples’ Republic of China (China) drawing on three public health crises: HIV/AIDS, SARS and Avian Influenza. Ethical issues are examined first in a general fashion and then in a specific manner which uses the duty-based moral philosophy of Confucianism and a Western human rights-based analysis. Technical, political and legal issues will also be examined to the extent that they better inform the ethical debate. (shrink)
The accusation that contemporary politicalphilosophy is carried out in too ahistorical a fashion depends upon it being possible for historical facts to ground normative political principles. This they cannot do. Each of the seven ways in which it might be thought possible for them to do so fails for one or more of four reasons: (1) History yields no timeless set of universal moral values; (2) it displays no convergence upon such a set; (3) it reveals (...) no univocal moral or cultural context in the present; (4) the failure of an ethical tradition to successfully respond to criticism over a long period of time is no guarantee of its inability to do so. Because historical critiques of contemporary normative thought rely upon one or more of these things holding true, they are, as a class of arguments, to be rejected. (shrink)
The ability of very wealthy individuals (or, as I will call them, the ‘super-rich’) to turn their economic power into political power has been—and remains—an important cause of political inequality. In response, this paper advocates an original solution. Rather than solving the problem through implementing a comprehensive conception of political equality, or through enforcing complex rules about financial disclosure etc., I argue that we should impose a choice on the super-rich. The super-rich must choose between (i) forfeiting (...) the things that make them super-rich, i.e., pay a 100 % tax on their wealth above a certain level, or, (ii) they must forfeit some of their politicalrights. These rights include entitlements to fund political parties; to stand for office; and to work or volunteer for political parties. The right to vote, though, is not limited. I defend my proposal against non-consequentialist and consequentialist objections. I also argue that it avoids two problems that many attempts to reduce political inequality face; these are the political egalitarian’s dilemma and the problem of political equality’s relative moral importance. (shrink)
The article discusses the rights of minorities in the system of the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights. It establishes a conceptual distinction between universal rights, specific rights of minorities in general and specific rights of particular minorities. Universal rights correspond to all individuals (e,g,, “no one shall be subjected to torture”) or all groups of a certain class (e.g., “all families are entitled to protection”). Minority groups and their members are entitled (...) to these rights in the same way as any other individual or group. Specific rights of minorities in general are granted to minority groups (e.g., “minority groups have the right to speak their own language”) or their members (e.g., “persons belonging to a minority group have the right to speak the language of the group”). Finally, specific rights of particular minorities are granted to specific groups identified by their characteristics (e.g., “the linguistic minority X has the right to speak the X language”) or their members (e.g., “any member of the linguistic minority X has the right to speak the X language”). Treaties and international declarations often refer to universal rights and specific rights of minorities in general. However, these rights are usually recognised in broad terms, and their implementation may lead to the recognition of specific rights in favour of particular minorities or their members. Protection of minorities (in the broad sense of the expression) is based on two pillars: on the one hand, the protection against discrimination; on the other hand, the protection of minorities in the strict sense. The first pillar is an aspect of the general principle of nondiscrimination and requires respect for both formal and substantive equalities. The protection of minorities in the strict sense involves the preservation of their particular identity. The purpose of the equality in a formal sense is achieved through universal rights, to the extent that these are granted to minority groups and their members. On the contrary, to achieve equality in a substantive sense, it could be necessary to implement positive measures. The implementation of these measures will usually lead to the recognition of specific rights of minority groups or their members. Finally, the protection of the distinctive characteristics of the minorities will also be done through specific rights. Thus, on the one hand, there are rights, which are intended to protect the minority forms of life (i.e. to protect differences), and, on the other hand, those that are intended to allow minorities equal access to different uniform social goods (i.e. to protect equality). Whereas the former ones seek to protect and promote the particularities of the minority culture (e.g., the right to receive education in their own language), the latter ones are recognised to overcome the disadvantages that minority groups and their members face and are not intended to promote peculiarities, but rather to permit equal access to resources and social opportunities. Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights enshrines specific rights of minorities intended to protect and promote their own forms of life. Although economic rights are not mentioned (the article refers to the rights “to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, [and] to use their own language”), they may stem from the explicitly recognised rights. The rights recognised by the Covenant are not collective, but individual rights (“in those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right [...]”). The rights recognised in the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities are of the same nature. The principle of equality and non-discrimination is contained in Articles 2.1 and 26 of the Covenant. This principle forbids direct and indirect discrimination, be it de iure or de facto. As this is a universal right, minorities can also benefit from it. According to the Human Rights Committee, Article 27 imposes on States the adoption of positive measures that exceed an attitude of mere abstention. In the same way, positive measures may be necessary to make the principle of equality and non-discrimination effective. Although neither Article 27 nor Articles 2.1 and 26 refer to individuals belonging to a specific minority, the concrete implementation of these articles through positive measures may produce specific rights for persons belonging to particular minority groups. (shrink)
In this book Katrin Flikschuh examines the relevance of Kant's political thought to major issues and problems in contemporary politicalphilosophy. She advances and defends two principal claims: that Kant's philosophy of Right endorses the role of metaphysics in political thinking, in contrast to its generally hostile reception in the field today, and that his account of political obligation is cosmopolitan in its inception, assigning priority to the global rather than the domestic context. She (...) shows how Kant's metaphysics of freedom as a shared idea of practical reason underlies the cosmopolitan scope of his theory of justice, and she concludes that despite the revival of 'Kantianism' in contemporary thinking, his account of justice is in many respects very different from dominant approaches in contemporary liberal theory. Her study will be of interest to political philosophers, political theorists, and historians of ideas. (shrink)
Matt Beech traces the ideological roots of the Labour Party from its nineteenth century origins in the Labour Movement, through the twentieth century, until the years under Tony Blair. He claims that New Labour in power evolved as a revisionist social democratic government and traces its search for new political ideas both to the New Right and Old Labour. Using interviews with former Labour politicians, advisers and academics, he presents an original and comprehensive analysis of Labour's political (...) class='Hi'>philosophy. (shrink)
Arguing About PoliticalPhilosophy is an engaging survey of politicalphilosophy perfect for beginning and advanced undergraduates. Selections cover classic philosophical sources such as Rousseau and Locke, as well as contemporary writers such as Nozick and Dworkin. In addition, this text includes a number of readings drawn from economics, literature, and sociology which serve to introduce philosophical questions about politics in a novel and intriguing way. As well as standard topics such as political authority and (...) distributive justice, special attention is given to global issues which have become especially pressing in recent years, such as the right of individuals or groups to secede, the nature of global distributive justice, the morality of immigration, and the moral status of war and terrorism. (shrink)
A new edition of the first systematic reading of Hegel's politicalphilosophy Elements of the Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important works in the history of politicalphilosophy. This is the first book on the subject to take Hegel's system of speculative philosophy seriously as an important component of any robust understanding of this text. Key Features •Sets out the difference between 'systematic' and 'non-systematic' readings of (...) class='Hi'>Philosophy of Right •Outlines the unique structure of Hegel's philosophical arguments •Explores key areas of Hegel's politicalphilosophy: his theories of property, punishment, morality, law, monarchy, war, democracy and history This significantly expanded second edition includes: a more detailed explanation of Hegel's philosophical system, two new chapters on his theories of democracy and history and an appendix detailing the implications this work has for future interpretations of Hegel's philosophy. (shrink)
A. Belden Fields invites people to think more deeply about human rights in this book in an attempt to overcome many of the traditional arguments in the human rights literature. He argues that human rights should be reconceptualized in a holistic way to combine philosophical, historical, and empirical-practical dimensions. Human rights are viewed not as a set of universal abstractions but rather as a set of past and ongoing social practices rooted in the claims and struggles (...) of peoples against what they consider to be political, economic, or social domination. By aptly showing how a people’s fight for recognition is often closely tied to rights claims, Fields argues that these connections to identity can help bridge the gulf between universalistic and cultural relativistic arguments in the human rights debate. (shrink)
'There are no substantive rights for subjects in Hobbes's political theory, only bare freedoms without correlated duties to protect them'. This orthodoxy of Hobbes scholarship and its Hohfeldian assumptions are challenged by Curran who develops an argument that Hobbes provides claim rights for subjects against each other and (indirect) protection of the right to self-preservation by sovereign duties. The underlying theory, she argues, is not a theory of natural rights but rather, a modern, secular theory of (...)rights, with something to offer current discussions in rights theory. (shrink)
Providing a comprehensive introduction to politicalphilosophy, this book combines discussion of historical and contemporary figures, together with numerous real-life examples. It ranges over an unusually broad range of topics in the field, including the just distribution of wealth, both within countries and globally; the nature and justification of political authority; the meaning and significance of freedom; arguments for and against democratic rule; the problem of war; and the grounds for toleration in public life. It also offers (...) an accessible, non-technical discussion of perfectionism, utilitarianism, theories of the social contract, and of recently popular forms of critical theory. Throughout, the book challenges readers to think critically about political arguments and institutions that they might otherwise take for granted. It will be a provocative text for any student of philosophy or political science. (shrink)
This accessible and user-friendly text will prove invaluable to any student coming to social and politicalphilosophy for the first time. It provides a broad survey of fundamental social and political questions in modern society, as well as clear, accessible discussions of the philosophical issues central to political thought. Topics covered include: the foundations of political authority, the nature and grounds of economic justice, the limits of tolerance, considerations of community, race, gender, and culture in (...) questions of justice, and radical critiques of current political theories. (shrink)
In this critique of security studies, with insights into the thinking of Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Levinas and Arendt, Michael Dillon contributes to the rethinking of some of the fundamentals of international politics, developing what might be called a politicalphilosophy of continental thought. Drawing on the work of Martin Heidegger, Politics of Security establishes the relationship between Heidegger's radical hermeneutical phenomenology and politics and the fundamental link between politics, the tragic and the ethical. It breaks new ground by (...) providing an etymology of security, tracing the word back to the Greek asphaleia --meaning not to trip up or fall down-- and a unique political reading of Oedipus Rex. Michael Dillon traces the roots of desire for security to the metaphysical desire for certitude, and points out that our way of seeking that security is embedded in 20th century technology, thus resulting in a global crisis. (shrink)
The debate between impartialists and their critics has dominated both moral and politicalphilosophy for over a decade. Characteristically, impartialists argue that any sensible form of impartialism can accommodate the partial concerns we have for others. By contrast, partialists deny that this is so. They see the division as one which runs exceedingly deep and argue that, at the limit, impartialist thinking requires that we marginalise those concerns and commitments that make our lives meaningful. This book attempts to (...) show both that the dispute between impartialists and their critics runs very deep, and that it can nonetheless be resolved. The resolution begins by asking how impartialist politicalphilosophy can defend the priority of justice when it conflicts with people's commitments to their conceptions of the good. It is argued that priority can only defended if political impartialism has a moral foundation, and that moral foundation must not be a foundation in the ideal of equality (as is often thought), but a foundation in the partial concerns we have for others. In short, impartialist moral philosophy must take our partial concerns as central if it is to gain allegiance. However, if it does take our partial concerns as central, then it can generate a defence of political impartialism which shows why justice must take priority, but which also acknowledges that pluralism about the good is permanent. (shrink)
War has been a key topic of speculation and theorizing ever since the invention of philosophy in classical antiquity. This anthology brings together the work of distinguished contemporary political philosophers and theorists who address the leading normative and conceptual issues concerning war. The book is divided into three parts: initiating war, waging war, and ending war. The contributors aim to provide a comprehensive introduction to each of these main areas of dispute concerning war. Each essay is an original (...) contribution to ongoing debates on various aspects of war and also provides a survey of the main topics in each subfield. Serving as a companion to the theoretical issues pertaining to war, this volume also is an important contribution to debates in politicalphilosophy. It can serve as a textbook for relevant courses on war offered in philosophy departments, religious studies programs, and law schools. (shrink)
In this book, Chiara Bottici argues for a philosophical understanding of political myth. Bottici shows that myth is a process, one of continuous work on a basic narrative pattern that responds to a need for significance. Human beings need meaning in order to master the world they live in, but they also need significance in order to live in a world that is less indifferent to them. This is particularly true in the realm of politics. Political myths are (...) narratives through which we orient ourselves, and act and feel about our political world. Bottici shows that in order to come to terms with contemporary phenomena, such as the clash between civilizations, we need a Copernican revolution in politicalphilosophy. If we want to save reason, we need to look at it from the standpoint of myth. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom suggests that the Platonist philosophers of Late Antiquity, from Plotinus (third century) to the sixth-century schools in Athens and Alexandria, neglected the political dimension of their Platonic heritage in their concentration on an otherworldly life. Dominic O'Meara presents a revelatory reappraisal of these thinkers, arguing that their otherworldliness involved rather than excluded political ideas, and he reconstructs for the first time a coherent politicalphilosophy of Late Platonism.
The revised edition of this highly successful text provides a clear and accessible introduction to some of the most important questions of politicalphilosophy. Organized around major issues, Wolff provides the structure that beginners need, while also introducing some distinctive ideas of his own.
This book is the culmination of Heinrich Meier's acclaimed analyses of the controversial thought of Carl Schmitt. Meier identifies the core of Schmitt's thought as political theology--that is, political theorizing that claims to have its ultimate ground in the revelation of a mysterious or supra-rational God. This radical, but half-hidden, theological foundation unifies the whole of Schmitt's often difficult and complex oeuvre, cutting through the intentional deceptions and unintentional obfuscations that have eluded previous commentators. Relating this religious dimension (...) to Schmitt's support for National Socialism and his continuing anti-Semitism, Meier compels the reader to come to terms with the irreconcilable differences between political theology and politicalphilosophy. His book will give pause to those who have tended to gloss over the troubling aspects of some of Schmitt's ideas. With editions in German, French, Italian, and now English, Meier's two books on Schmitt have dramatically reoriented the international debate about Carl Schmitt and his significance for twentieth-century political thought. "Standing far above the rest . . . is Heinrich Meier's new study, Die Lehre Carl Schmitts , which covers all of Schmitt's writings. . . . Meier's work has forced everyone to take a second look at the assumptions underlying Schmitt's better-known writings and reconsider some that have been ignored."--Mark Lilla, reviewing the German edition in The New York Review of Books. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Jonathan Floyd and Marc Stears; 1. Rescuing political theory from the tyranny of history Paul Kelly; 2. From contextualism, to mentalism, to behaviourism Jonathan Floyd; 3. Contingency and judgement in history of politicalphilosophy Bruce Haddock; 4. Politicalphilosophy and the dead hand of its history Gordon Graham; 5. Politics, political theory, and its history Iain Hampsher-Monk; 6. Constraint, freedom, and exemplar Melissa Lane; 7. History and reality Andrew Sabl; (...) 8. The new realism Bonnie Honig and Marc Stears; Afterword Jonathan Floyd. (shrink)
In this work, Muhsin Mahdi--widely regarded as the preeminent scholar of Islamic political thought--distills more than four decades of research to offer an authoritative analysis of the work of Alfarabi, the founder of Islamic politicalphilosophy. Mahdi, who also brought to light writings of Alfarabi that had long been presumed lost or were not even known, presents this great thinker as his contemporaries would have seen him: as a philosopher who sought to lay the foundations for a (...) new understanding of revealed religion and its relation to the tradition of politicalphilosophy. Beginning with a survey of Islamic philosophy and a discussion of its historical background, Mahdi considers the interrelated spheres of philosophy, political thought, theology, and jurisprudence of the time. He then turns to Alfarabi's concept of "the virtuous city," and concludes with an in-depth analysis of the trilogy, Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. This philosophical engagement with the writings of and about Alfarabi will be essential reading for anyone interested in medieval politicalphilosophy. (shrink)
Social and PoliticalPhilosophy introduces some of the most important topics in contemporary politicalphilosophy and asks if they can be accommodated within the framework of liberal theory. It consists of specially written essays by prominent figures on an array of basic issues in political and social philosophy. Each essay then carefully considers both the theoretical and practical problems of a major topic. The book concludes with an attempt to respond to and reconcile a (...) number of the arguments presented in the essays. (shrink)
Is Leo Strauss truly an intellectual forebear of neoconservatism and a powerful force in shaping Bush administration foreign policy? The Truth about Leo Strauss puts this question to rest, revealing for the first time how the popular media came to perpetuate such an oversimplified view of such a complex and wide-ranging philosopher. More important, it corrects our perception of Strauss, providing the best general introduction available to the political thought of this misunderstood figure. Catherine and Michael Zuckert—both former students (...) of Strauss—guide readers here to a nuanced understanding of how Strauss’s political thought fits into his broader philosophy. Challenging the ideas that Strauss was an inflexible conservative who followed in the footsteps of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt, the Zuckerts contend that Strauss’s signature idea was the need for a return to the ancients. This idea, they show, stemmed from Strauss’s belief that modern thought, with its relativism and nihilism, undermines healthy politics and even the possibility of real philosophy. Identifying this view as one of Strauss’s three core propositions—America is modern, modernity is bad, and America is good—they conclude that Strauss was a sober defender of liberal democracy, aware of both its strengths and its weaknesses. The Zuckerts finish, appropriately, by examining the varied work of Strauss’s numerous students and followers, revealing the origins—rooted in the tensions within his own thought—oftheir split into opposing camps. Balanced and accessible, The Truth about Leo Strauss is a must-read for anyone who wants to more fully comprehend this enigmatic philosopher and his much-disputed legacy. (shrink)
This Introduction introduces readers to the concepts of politicalphilosophy: authority, democracy, freedom and its limits, justice, feminism, multiculturalism, and nationality. Accessibly written and assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, it encourages the reader to think clearly and critically about the leading political questions of our time. THe book first investigates how politcial philosophy tackles basic ethical questions such as 'how should we live together in society?' It furthermore looks at political authority, discusses the (...) reasons society needs politics in the first place, explores the limitations of politics, and asks if there are areas of life that shouldn't be governed by politics. Moreover, the book explores the connections between political authority and justice, a constant theme in politicalphilosophy, and the ways in which social justice can be used to regulate rather than destroy a market economy. In his travels through this realm, Miller covers why nations ar the natural units of government and wonders if the rise of multiculturalism and transnational co-operation will change all this, and asks in the end if we will ever see the formation of a world government. (shrink)