Iranian scholar Ramin Jahanbegloo interviews one of the leading political thinkers of our time, BhikhuParekh, and in the process, addresses issues ranging from cultural diversity, religion, and global ethics to identity politics, liberal democracy, Islam and Europe, Gandhi's role as a political thinker and social reformer, and the significance of multiculturalism and pluralism in the twenty-first century.
Mill, J. S. Bentham.--Whewell, W. Bentham.--Watson, J. Bentham.--Hart, H. L. A. Bentham.--Parekh, B. Bentham's justification of the principle of utility.--Peardon, T. Bentham's ideal republic.--Hart, H. L. A. Bentham on sovereignty.--Burns, J. H. Bentham's critique of political fallacies.--Mitchell, W. C. Bentham's felicific calculus.--Roberts, D. Jeremy Bentham and the Victorian administrative state.
In his multicultural citizenship Will Kymlicka offers a liberal theory of minority rights. I argue that although his theory is ingenious, it is seriously defective. Since liberalism itself is a specific culture, a liberal theory of multiculturalism is logically incoherent. Kymlicka makes the further mistake of thinking that all cultured communities conceptualise and relate to culture in an identical manner. His discussion of the rights of immigrants rests on a flawed understanding of the nature of immigration, and is highly questionable.
This volume shows how Gandhi's thought and action-oriented approach are significant, relevant, and urgently needed for addressing major contemporary problems and concerns, including issues of violence and nonviolence, war and peace, religious conflict and dialogue, terrorism, ethics, civil disobedience, injustice, modernism and postmodernism, oppression and exploitation, and environmental destruction. Appropriate for general readers and Gandhi specialists, this volume will be of interest for those in philosophy, religion, political science, history, cultural studies, peace studies, and many other fields.
This comprehensive Gandhi reader provides an essential new reference for scholars and students of his life and thought. It is the only text available that presents Gandhi's own writings, including excerpts from three of his books—An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Satyagraha in South Africa, Hind Swaraj —a major pamphlet, Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place, and many journal articles and letters, along with a biographical sketch of his life in historical context and recent essays by highly (...) regarded scholars. (shrink)
Identity refers, among other things, to what distinguishes an individual and makes him or her this person rather than some other. It has two closely related dimensions: personal and social. Personal identity refers to the individual's fundamental beliefs and commitments in terms of which he orientates himself to the world and defines his place in it. Social identity refers to those relations with which the individual identifies and which he regards as an integral part of himself. Social identity is inherently (...) plural. How an individual balances and prioritizes different identities is a result of the dialectic between her self-understanding and social and political environment. (shrink)
In this paper I intend to concentrate on post-independence India, and to explore why a free and lively society with a rich tradition of philosophical inquiry has not thrown up much original political theory. The paper falls into three parts. In the first part I outline some of the fascinating problems thrown up by post-independence India, and in the second I show that they remain poorly theorized. In the final part I explore some of the likely explanations of this neglect. (...) In order to avoid misunderstanding, four points of clarification are necessary. First, by Indian political theory I mean works on political theory written by Indian writers irrespective of whether they live in India or outside it, and exclude the works of non-Indian writers on India. Secondly, I am primarily concerned with Indian political theory rather than with Indian political theorists. Although political theory is generally practised by political theorists, it is not their monopoly. Sociologists, historians, economists, philosophers, jurists and others too ask theoretical questions about political life. I will therefore cast my net wider and look at the works of these writers as well. It is my contention that political theory is underdeveloped among not only Indian political theorists but also their cousins in allied disciplines. Thirdly, I define the term political theory in as culturally neutral a manner as possible. For a variety of reasons too complex to discuss here, political theory has a longer history and is more developed in the West than elsewhere. However it is not absent in most other civilizations. Minimally it is concerned to offer a coherent and systematic understanding of political life, and is three-dimensional. It is conceptual in the sense that it defines, analyses and distinguishes concepts, and develops a conceptual framework capable of comprehending political life. It is also explanatory in the sense that it seeks to make sense of political life, and to explain why it is constituted and conducted in a particular manner and how its different parts are related. Finally, it is normative in the sense that it either justifies the way a society is currently constituted, or criticizes and offers a well-considered alternative to it. Since political theory understood in these terms is to be found in most major traditions of thought including the Indian, albeit in different forms and degrees, our definition is not or only minimally open to the charge of ethnocentrism or universalizing its Western form. (shrink)
This lecture presents the text of the speech about reason and identity delivered by the author at the 2008 Isaiah Berlin Lecture held at the British Academy. It discusses the style and content of Sir Isaiah Berlin's thought and explores the complex relation between the closely connected ideas of reason and identity. The lecture explains that reason and identity are both constitutive features of human life in the sense that human beings cannot be defined and understood without reference to either.
BhikhuParekh is an internationally renowned political theorist. His work on identity and multiculturalism is unquestionably thoughtful and nuanced, benefiting from a tremendous depth of knowledge of particular cases. Despite his work’s many virtues, however, the normative justification for Parekh’s recommendations is at times vague or ambiguous. In this essay, I argue that a close reading of his work, in particular his magnum opus Rethinking Multiculturalism and the selfproclaimed sequel A New Politics of Identity, reveals that his (...) claims frequently rely upon a Kantian account of moral dialogue and indeed moral personhood that he remains unwilling to claim. Recognizing this latent Kantianism is essential to a thorough assessment of Parekh’s work on identity, and his criticisms of other theorists. It is only because of his ambiguity that his multiculturalism is able to avoid the sort of charges that he levels against other responses to diversity, including those of such authors as Rawls, Habermas, Kymlicka, and Raz. (shrink)
It is an obvious fact of history that human beings have always entertained and continue to entertain different conceptions of the good and lead very different lives both individually and collectively. This raises two questions. First, why do ways of life differ? And second, how should we respond to their differences? The first is an explanatory, and the second a normative question, and the two are closely related. The first question has been answered differently by different writers, of which I (...) shall mention three by way of illustration. (shrink)
Colonialism and Its Legacy brings together essays by leading scholars in both the fields of political theory and the history of political thought about European colonialism and its legacies, and postcolonial social and political theory. The essays explore the ways in which European colonial projects structured and shaped much of modern political theory, how concepts from political philosophy affected and were realized in colonial and imperial practice, and how we can understand the intellectual and social world left behind by a (...) half-millennium of European empires. (shrink)
In this book philosophers, scholars of religion, and activists address the theme of responsibility. Barbara Darling-Smith brings together an enlightening collection of essays that analyze the ethics of responsibility, its relational nature, and its global struggle.
In this article the author will investigate the extent to which BhikhuParekh believes that a person's cultural/religious background must be preserved and whether, by implication, religious schooling is justified by his theory. His discussion will explore—by inference and implication—whether Parekh's carefully crafted multiculturalism, enriched and illuminated by numerous practical insights, is socially tenable. The author will also consider whether, by extension, it is justifiable, on his line of reasoning, to cultivate cultural and religious understandings among one's (...) own children. Finally, the author will contend that Parekh, notwithstanding his cautious, even‐handed approach, commits several important errors, including conflating the culture of the parents with that of the children and insisting that cultural and religious persons ought to be allowed to defend their views in the public square on religious grounds. (shrink)