A school of thought traceable to the political writings of Bodin and Hobbes believes that "order" is the cardinal principle which takes precedence over "justice" - which is reduced to conformity. The main concern of this book is to analyse this tradition through study of its progenitors.
Professor King's concept of the philosophy of history leads him to offer this demonstration of the incoherence, even absurdity, of the notion that the past can have nothing to teach us - whether posed by those who argue that history is "unique" or that it is merely "contextual".
Martin Luther King’s primary emphasis was upon ‘beloved community,’ a phrase he borrowed from Royce, but an idea that he shared with St. Augustine. Theories of the state tend to focus upon division, in which one stratum dominates another or others. King’s context is the US in the segregated South—a region whose internal divisions sharply instantiate the idea of the state as an unequal hierarchy of dominance. King’s appeal was less to end black subjugation than to end subjugation as such. (...) Hence King was called by some a ‘dreamer,’ given his background commitment to equality and community, ideals taking marginal precedence over his foreground commitment to liberty and autonomy. This article explores the notion of ‘beloved community’ broadly and then specifically in Martin Luther King along with related notions in Howard Thurman and in Josiah Royce. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes is arguably the greatest of all English philosophers. In the second half of the twentieth century, he has been the subject of sustained critical attention. Hobbes was capable of powerful argument on virtually any level, whether logical, scriptural or historical. And he has attracted attention in all these areas and more questions of historical method, language and linguistics, metaphysics, ethics, law, politics, science and religion. Hobbes has been examined from a great variety of perspectives as an ethical positivist (...) and a deontologist, as a bourgeois advocate and a supporter of the aristocracy, as an absolutist and a proponent of parliamentary government, as a "conservative" and a "modern," as an atheist and a believer. The periodical literature on Hobbes is accordingly very rich, but it is also difficult to access. The four volumes of these critical assessments assemble an important array of material which will be invaluable to all students of Hobbes. (shrink)
The paradigm case of power as ?power over? (not ?power to') betrays a concern (1) more with the capacity to dominate others than with the unqualified capacity to act as such; (2) more with the fact, than with the morality, of dominance ? underscoring the key analytical distinction between ?power? and ?authority'; and (3) more with compulsion than co?operation. The three moves to combine (1) ?power over? with ?power to?, (2) ?power? with ?authority?, and (3) ?power? with ?co?operation?, are all (...) seen as inflationary, diminishing the value of the paradigm case, and assisting in rendering power, in its actual operations, both more obscure and insidious. Tumbling down this slope, there is a further argument, to the same effect, but secured by deflating, rather than inflating, the paradigm case. This deflationary argument (4) views luck as an alternative to power. In a world of dizzying technological innovation, marked by a deepening gap between rich and poor in the cities, between advanced and dependent states, we confront an inclination in many quarters both to expand and to contract power, so that it is everything and everywhere, thus nothing and nowhere. In attempts to substitute luck for power, it becomes difficult to assign to power responsibility, as heretofore. This paper is the first of two parts, taking a critical look at the overwhelming of power by inflation. The second part of this paper will be published in a subsequent issue, and it critically inspects the argument for deflation. (shrink)
Ida B. Wells (1862?1931) was a considerable figure in her day. But she has not been accorded posthumous acclaim in parallel. This oversight is either just, or an unprecedented historical falsification ? enabled largely through unhappy, gendered misperception. African?American thought for long turned round dispute between accommodation (Washington) and protest (Du Bois) as forms of leadership. Yet this contrast may mislead. First, Washington was more white placeman than black leader. Second, Du Bois, more than anyone, helped diminish, even extinguish, the (...) Wellsian intellectual legacy. If Wells?s arguments (on violence) have critical significance, and Washington?s are insubstantial and time?serving, then the important struggle within African?American leadership may come to be relocated within the protest tradition ? as between Du Bois (romantic Pan?Africanist) and Wells (universal defender of human rights), both recovered by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Wells possibly more fittingly. (shrink)
Liberty is viewed as the reigning paradigm of our age, but it is a paradigm in crisis. It is conventionally divided into two types, positive and negative. The argument here is that both types can be seen to presuppose some capacity, which may extend to power. Liberty, however, is normally accorded a higher moral value than power. But if liberty is taken itself to reflect a commitment to power, then the disvalue ostensibly placed upon the latter is unreliable. Furthermore, if (...) liberty in effect reflects a (veiled) celebration of power, then it may not be in order to accord it the precedence which is customary. We may well be entitled to look beyond liberty to other values, such as tolerance and friendship, which are not necessarily expressions of liberty, but which may prove quite as worthy. (shrink)
?Negative? and ?positive? liberty are not distinct types of freedom. They represent distinct points of stress within the one logical matrix. The abstract logical formula for liberty is taken to be ?A is free from x to do y?, where ?from x? is taken to implicate ?to do y?, and vice versa. By contrast, concrete cases of freedom ('rights'), such as ?from hunger? or ?to speak?, are taken always to contradict other concrete cases, such as property rights or defences against (...) libel, slander, or ?hate speech? more generally. As all rights are expressions of liberty, however mutually contradictory, we cannot appeal to liberty per se as a principle enabling us to mediate between them. Liberty pre?eminent, or indeed alone, seems too brittle to contain the alienation or anomie of modernity. It may now be necessary, philosophically, to decoct the glue of empathy, of friendship and, by extension, equality. (shrink)
Augustine’s early works Against the Academicians (386) and The Teacher (389) belong together. In the former, which is directed at Cicero’s Academica, he defends the possibility of knowledge against the skeptical arguments of the New Academy;1 in the latter, directed at Plato’s Meno, he oﬀers his theory of illumination to explain how knowledge is acquired. As a pair, they present Augustine’s alternative to the pose of ironical detachment fashionable among late Roman intellectuals.
This essay presents a construct of constitutionalism. This is to do with more than a ?constitution?, or a ?corporate organisation?, or ?majority rule?. Constitutionalism is marked by a particular type of corporate rule, featuring a persistent (continuing) popular sovereignty, in which all who are governed are members, have a duty of mutual respect, enjoy an equal share in the vote, and are equally subject to the law. Under constitutionalism, the sovereign is perceived as bound by rules (in law) which that (...) sovereign cannot rise above. Constitutionalism underscores a procedure of non?exclusion, public rationality, and transparency. It is assumed to supply the most suitable philosophical and legal framework for most ?multiculturalist? theses. The essay extracts from British constitutional practice what it locates as the ?despatch?box? regime, and argues for this as a key principle in the management of all constitutionalist entities, including the European Union. (shrink)
This essay supplies an historical review of black thought (from the Civil War forward) in the American South. Its emphasis is upon the biography of figures born in the region, whether resident or exile, concentrating on three foundational actors: Booker Washington, Frederick Douglass and Ida Wells. Significant strands of later thought are seen as largely derived from the latter two. The thematic anchor of this review is ‘resistance and nonviolence’, involving (1) a primary focus on equal rights, (2) a derivative (...) focus on emancipation and desegregation, (3) exploration of nonviolence as a mode of resistance to oppression, (4) exploration of liberative violence, and (5) a larger concern with the appropriate type and degree of integration/separation implicit in or consistent with an equal rights regime. Douglass and Wells are cast as attending to sub‐themes (1) and (2).This essay is designed to fit within the larger framework of the collection, in which the religious leaders Howard Thurman and Martin King are allocated to sub‐theme (3), the novelist Richard Wright to (4), and the lawyers Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Jordan and Fred Gray to (5). The future challenge to black thought is assumed to lie in deeper reflection on (5), with a view to locating an ever more perfect balance between ‘nation’ (the ethnic community of Afro‐America) and ‘state’ (the US federal government). (shrink)
Power consists in the capacity of A to command B, even against B's wishes, whether directly or indirectly. Questions to do with who possesses it and in what degree are obscured by inflationary shifts of definition (as where power encompasses action as such, or right action, or co?operation). These misjudged moves are generally marked by the assumption that democracy displaces power. But if democracy ultimately persists as a voting procedure, its object is to create power?holders. Democracy may endorse three electoral (...) principles: (a) majority rule, or (b) enhanced majority rule, or (c) unanimity. Its commonest electoral device is (a), but its strongest moral defence for (a) implicitly is (c), which legitimates forms of (d) veto and forms of minority rule. If (d) is fair, this need not follow from (a). Nor is (a) right in virtue of superior power. Democracy is commonly a combination of (a) plus (e) defence of individual and corporate rights. But this combination, while apt and convenient, is not incontestably coherent. Despite growing support for deliberation over election, if democracy must be impelled by (a), thus far does it sustain, not topple, power. If power persists more stably under democracies than elsewhere, sustained caution in regard to its supposed ?circularization? is fully warranted. (shrink)
Martin Hollis (d.1998) was arguably the most incisive, eloquent and witty philosopher of the social sciences of his time. His work is appreciated and contested here by some of the most eminent of contemporary social theorists. Hollis's philosophy of social action, routinely distinguished between understanding (rational) and explanation (causal). He argued that the aptest account of human interaction was to be made in terms of the first. Thus he focused upon the human reasons, for, rather than upon the natural causes (...) of, action. This volume, for the first time, brings together important essays on the work of Hollis, from many different perspectives. These include politics, sociology and economics in general; international relations, rational choice theory, constitutionalism and the rule of law as well as current concerns with relativism, Rousseauist contractarianism, "dirty hands" and "buck-passing". (shrink)