Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government

Oxford University Press (1997)
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Abstract

This is the first full-length presentation of a republican alternative to the liberal and communitarian theories that have dominated political philosophy in recent years. The latest addition to the acclaimed Oxford Political Theory series, Pettit's eloquent and compelling account opens with an examination of the traditional republican conception of freedom as non-domination, contrasting this with established negative and positive views of liberty. The first part of the book traces the rise and decline of this conception, displays its many attractions, and makes a case for why it should still be regarded as a central political ideal. The second part of the book looks at what the implementation of the ideal would imply for substantive policy-making, constitutional and democratic design, regulatory control and the relation between state and civil society. Prominent in this account is a novel concept of democracy, under which government is exposed to systematic contestation, and a vision of relations between state and society founded upon civility and trust. Pettit's powerful and insightful new work offers not only a unified, theoretical overview of the many strands of republican ideas, but also a new and sophisticated perspective on studies in related fields including the history of ideas, jurisprudence, and criminology.

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Philip Pettit
Australian National University

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