16 found
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  1.  10
    Extended Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas.Adrian Blau - 2019 - History and Theory 58 (3):342-359.
  2.  31
    Hobbes On Corruption.Adrian Blau - 2009 - History of Political Thought 30 (4):596-616.
    Corruption is a more important idea for Hobbes than has been recognized: a state of nature can result from corruption of the people, corruption of counsellors and corruption of legal processes. Hobbes often uses a 'cognitive' conception of corruption — the distortion of mental processes, by faulty reasoning or improper attitudes. Corruption means that citizens think they benefit from sedition, counsellors advise with self-interested rhetoric rather than impartial logic, witnesses lie and judges settle cases by bribes or pity. Although corruption (...)
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  3.  16
    Habermas on Rationality: Means, Ends and Communication.Adrian Blau - 2019 - European Journal of Political Theory.
    This is a constructive critique of Habermas’s account of rationality, which is central to his political theory and has sparked theoretical and empirical research across academia. Habermas and many...
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  4.  6
    Textual Context in the History of Political Thought and Intellectual History.Adrian Blau - 2019 - History of European Ideas 45 (8):1191-1210.
    ABSTRACTWe can easily misread historical texts if we take ideas and passages out of their textual contexts. The resulting errors are widespread, possibly even more so than errors through reading ideas and passages out of their historical contexts. Yet the methodological literature stresses the latter and says little about the former. This paper thus theorises the idea of textual context, distinguishes three types of textual context, and asks how we uncover the right textual contexts. I distinguish four kinds of textual-context (...)
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  5.  10
    History of Political Thought as Detective-Work.Adrian Blau - 2015 - History of European Ideas 41 (8):1178-1194.
    SUMMARYThis paper offers practical guidance for empirical interpretation in the history of political thought, especially uncovering what authors meant and why they wrote what they wrote. I thus seek to fill a small but significant hole in our rather abstract methodological literature. To counter this abstraction, I draw not only on methodological theorising but also on actual practice—and on detective-work, a fruitful analogy. The detective analogy seeks to capture the intuition that we can potentially find right answers but must handle (...)
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  6.  9
    Cognitive Corruption and Deliberative Democracy.Adrian Blau - 2018 - Social Philosophy and Policy 35 (2):198-220.
    :This essay defends deliberative democracy by reviving a largely forgotten idea of corruption, which I call “cognitive corruption”—the distortion of judgment. I analyze different versions of this idea in the work of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Bentham, and Mill. Historical analysis also helps me rethink orthodox notions of corruption in two ways: I define corruption in terms of public duty rather than public office, and I argue that corruption can be both by and for political parties. In deliberative democracy, citizens can take (...)
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  7.  29
    Uncertainty and the History of Ideas.Adrian Blau - 2011 - History and Theory 50 (3):358-372.
    ABSTRACTIntellectual historians often make empirical claims, but can never know for certain if these claims are right. Uncertainty is thus inevitable for intellectual historians. But accepting uncertainty is not enough: we should also act on it, by trying to reduce and report it. We can reduce uncertainty by amassing valid data from different sources to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of competing explanations, rather than trying to “prove” an empirical claim by looking for evidence that fits it. Then we should (...)
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  8.  1
    The Irrelevance of Hermeneutics.Adrian Blau - 2015 - In Winfried Schröder (ed.), Reading Between the Lines - Leo Strauss and the History of Early Modern Philosophy. De Gruyter. pp. 29-56.
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  9.  30
    Rationality and Deliberative Democracy: A Constructive Critique of John Dryzek's Democratic Theory.Adrian Blau - 2011 - Contemporary Political Theory 10 (1):37-57.
    John Dryzek's justification of deliberative democracy rests on a critique of instrumental rationality and a defence of Habermas's idea of communicative rationality. I question each stage of Dryzek's theory. It defines instrumental rationality broadly but only criticises narrow applications of it. It conflates communicative rationality with Habermas's idea of ‘discourse’ – the real motor of Dryzek's democratic theory. Deliberative democracy can be better defended by avoiding overstated criticisms of instrumental rationality, by altering the emphasis on communicative rationality, and by focusing (...)
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  10.  10
    First Page Preview.Barrie Axford, Adrian Blau, Virginia Boon, Wallace Brown, Luis Cabrera, Tom Campbell, Karin Fierke, Simon Glaze, Peter Jones & Markus Kornprobst - 2009 - Journal of Global Ethics 5 (1).
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  11. Against Positive and Negative Freedom.Adrian Blau - 2004 - Political Theory 32 (4):547-553.
  12.  11
    Book Review: The Limits of Reason in Hobbes’s Commonwealth, Written by Krom, Michael. [REVIEW]Adrian Blau - 2014 - Hobbes Studies 27 (2):207-213.
  13.  8
    Hobbes’s Practical Politics: Political, Sociological and Economistic Ways of Avoiding a State of Nature.Adrian Blau - 2019 - Hobbes Studies 33 (2):109-134.
    This paper offers a systematic analysis of Hobbes’s practical political thought. Hobbes’s abstract philosophy is rightly celebrated, but he also gave much practical advice on how to avoid disorder. Yet he is typically interpreted too narrowly in this respect, especially by those who only read him economistically. Other scholars supplement this economistic focus with sociological or political interpretations, but to my knowledge, no one stresses all three aspects of his thought. This paper thus examines each of Hobbes’s practical proposals for (...)
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  14.  1
    Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes, Noel Malcolm Ed.Adrian Blau - 2013 - Journal of Early Modern Studies 2 (2):183-186.
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  15.  9
    Meanings and Understandings in the History of Ideas.Adrian Blau - 2020 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 14 (2):232-256.
    This paper presents a framework of four types of meaning and understanding in the history of political thought and intellectual history. Previous frameworks have overlooked a whole type of meaning – the type often prioritised by political theorists and philosophers. I call this “extended meaning.” Correcting a wrong turn in philosophy of language in the 1950s, I show how extended meaning has robust intellectual foundations, and I illustrate its value for textual interpreters. Even historians often need extended meaning, for example (...)
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  16.  20
    Reflective Democracy.Adrian Blau - 2008 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 5 (2):322-324.