In Explaining and Understanding International Relations philosopher Martin Hollis and international relations scholar Steve Smith join forces to analyse the dominant theories of international relations and to examine the philosophical issues underlying them.
In Hegel's Critique of Liberalism , Steven B. Smith examines Hegel's critique of rights-based liberalism and its relevance to contemporary political concerns. Smith argues that Hegel reformulated classic liberalism, preserving what was of value while rendering it more attentive to the dynamics of human history and the developmental structure of the moral personality. Hegel's goal, Smith suggests, was to find a way of incorporating both the ancient emphasis on the dignity and even architectonic character of political life with the modern (...) concern for freedom, rights, and mutual recognition. Smith's insightful analysis reveals Hegel's relevance not only to contemporary political philosophers concerned with normative issues of liberal theory but also to political scientists who have urged a revival of the state as a central concept of political inquiry. (shrink)
Baruch de Spinoza —often recognized as the first modern Jewish thinker—was also a founder of modern liberal political philosophy. This book is the first to connect systematically these two aspects of Spinoza's legacy. Steven B. Smith shows that Spinoza was a politically engaged theorist who both advocated and embodied a new conception of the emancipated individual, a thinker who decisively influenced such diverse movements as the Enlightenment, liberalism, and political Zionism. Focusing on Spinoza's _Theologico-Political Treatise_, Smith argues that Spinoza was (...) the first thinker of note to make the civil status of Jews and Judaism an essential ingredient of modern political thought. Before Marx or Freud, Smith notes, Spinoza recast Judaism to include the liberal values of autonomy and emancipation from tradition. Smith examines the circumstances of Spinoza's excommunication from the Jewish community of Amsterdam, his skeptical assault on the authority of Scripture, his transformation of Mosaic prophecy into a progressive philosophy of history, his use of the language of natural right and the social contract to defend democratic political institutions, and his comprehensive comparison of the ancient Hebrew commonwealth and the modern commercial republic. According to Smith, Spinoza's _Treatise_ represents a classic defense of religious toleration and intellectual freedom, showing them to be necessary foundations for political stability and liberal regimes. In this study Smith examines Spinoza's solution to the Jewish Question and asks whether a Judaism, so conceived, can long survive. (shrink)
Most readers of Spinoza treat him as a pure metaphysician, a grim determinist, or a stoic moralist, but none of these descriptions captures the author of the _Ethics, _argues Steven B. Smith in this intriguing book. Offering a new reading of Spinoza’s masterpiece, Smith asserts that the Ethics is a celebration of human freedom and its attendant joys and responsibilities and should be placed among the great founding documents of the Enlightenment. Two aspects of Smith’s book distinguish it from other (...) studies. It treats the famous “geometrical method” of the _Ethics _as_ _a form of moral rhetoric, a model for the construction of individuality. And it presents the _Ethics _as_ _a companion to Spinoza’s major work of political philosophy, the _Theologico-Political Treatise, _each work helping to explore the problem of freedom. Affirming Spinoza’s centrality for both critics and defenders of modernity, the book will be of value to students of political theory, philosophy, and intellectual history. (shrink)
Spinoza's Ethics is rarely read as a work of political theory. Its formidable geometric structure and its author's commitment to a kind of metaphysical determinism do not seem promising materials from which to fashion a theory of democratic self-government. Yet impressions can mislead. A close reading of the Ethics reveals it to be an impassioned, deeply political book. Its aim is not only to liberate the individualfrom false beliefs and systems of power but also to enable us to act in (...) concert as members of a democratic community. Above all, the work represents a celebration of individuality and the joys of life in all its plenitude. The Ethics provides Spinoza's clearest answer to the question "What is a free people (libera multitudo)? " only briefly alluded to at the end of his unfinished Political Treatise. (shrink)
Debates concerning principles of justice need to be attentive to various types of social process. One concerns the distribution of resources between groups defined as talented and untalented. Another concerns the social mechanisms by which people come to be categorised as talented and untalented. Political philosophers have paid considerable attention to the former issues, much less to the latter. That, I shall argue, represents a significant oversight.
Equality, diversity and radical politics -- Value incommensurability -- Empathic imagination and its limits -- Critiquing compassion-based social relations -- Egalitarianism, disability and monistic ideals -- Equality, identity and disability -- Paradox and the limits of reason.
The insanity defense presents many difficult questions for the legal system. It attracts attention beyond its practical significance (it is seldom used successfully) because it goes to the heart of the concept of legal responsibility. “Not guilty by reason of insanity” generally requires that as a result of mental illness the defendant was unable to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crime. The many difficult and complex questions presented by the insanity defense have led some in the (...) legal community to hope that neuroscience might help resolve some of these problems, but that hope is not likely to be realized. (shrink)
appropriate redistributive principles is a proper part of what justice entails, these principles must also paradoxically include the possibility of an agent-based response to misfortune that transforms adverse contingencies, such that the initial bad luck becomes a positive part of the sufferer's identity. This neo-Kantian accommodation within theories of justice signifies a deep egalitarian empathic connectedness between persons, based on an equal respect for persons as agents (and not simply as passive victims of misfortune). Moreover, it is an accommodation that (...) (a) can promote equality as an end in itself rather than as merely a means to the end of enhancing a teleological conception of well-being and human flourishing and (b) can underpin a more robust Rawlsian conception of justice as reciprocity than is usually allowed. (shrink)
This study examines developments in Karl Barth's early theology (to 1932) and Emmanuel Levinas's philosophy (as far as Otherwise than Being) to show how the concept of the Totally Other addresses the most radical problem of justification for theological and philosophical thought.
The disability rights movement has often been closely associated with the liberal values of individual choice and independence, or the?ethics of agency?, where enhancing the capacity to make autonomous decisions in various policy and practice-based contexts is said to facilitate disabled people's well-being. Nevertheless, other liberal values are derived from what will be termed here the?ethics of self-acceptance?. The latter is more disguised in liberalism and the DRM, as rather than emphasising the capacity to make autonomous decisions, self-acceptance focuses on (...) the positive acceptance of individual limitations, but again to enhance well-being. The further argument is that while the ethics of agency and self-acceptance often logically cohere and overlap, through promoting the values of self-respect and relational autonomy, dilemmas arise from our asymmetrical, or uneven, dispositions towards time, and present and future lives and experiences. For example, positively accepting individual limitations allows for a present-oriented immersion in?the moment?, but which often requires some suspension of future-oriented goals and aspirations. Understanding some of the implications of this asymmetry, and the dilemmas arising from it, provide important insights concerning approaches to physical and intellectual impairments and the subsequent debates within the DRM, social policy and welfare practice. (shrink)
This paper uses the humor of Road Runner cartoons as a test of our intuitions about causality as these intuitions are appealed to by the rival theories of Hume and Kant. I argue that Road Runner cartoons are funnier to Kantians, with their stronger presumption of necessary causal regularity, and therefore supportive of Kantianism to the degree that we find this humor compelling.
Some of kant's rationales for conceiving the highest good of morality as virtue rewarded with happiness rest on the subject's "necessary" natural desire for happiness, While others appeal to a still-Obscure principle of moral desert. The principle, I argue, Is that the moral agent qua moral necessarily hopes for the "approval" of fellow moral legislators and god, Who "would" (did they exist, And if they could) signify their approval by bestowing the means of happiness.
IT IS A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT René Descartes is the founder of modern philosophy. There is far less consensus on the question of what his modernity means. The majority of Descartes’s readers have focused on the cogito, the “I think” that is the fons et origo of all knowledge. The method of doubt and the famous rules of evidence have played a crucial role in the formation of a distinctively modern search for foundations of truth. Political theorists have frequently (...) treated Descartes as the harbinger of a new age, but there is widespread disagreement over precisely what this means. Tocqueville regarded the Cartesian method as ideally suited to the new democratic age. “The philosophical method established by Descartes,” he wrote, “is not only French but democratic, which explains why it was so easily accepted in all of Europe, whose face it has contributed so much to changing.” For Michael Oakeshott, Descartes, along with. (shrink)
There are several reasons that have contributed to the neglect of the Treatise as a classic of modern democratic theory. In the first place, Spinoza's political theory is buried three quarters of the way through the Treatise and comes to light only after the reader has slogged through a long and painstaking discussion of biblical philology and criticism. Second, Spinoza's defense of democracy is undergirded by a naturalistic metaphysics that is more immoralist than Hobbes and scarcely to the taste of (...) most modern readers. And third, Spinoza remained wedded to certain premodern notions about the difference between the intellectuals and the vulgar which, it is believed, undercut his democratic commitments. (shrink)
This essay examines the logic of greatness attributions in general and the implications of aesthetic positions taken by Hume, Shelley, and T. M. Greene in order to show how the attitude of faith, i.e. a disposition for unbounded personal growth, can constitute greatness in experiences or in objects or occasions of experience. On this basis the role of great experiences in education is elucidated. It is argued that faith takes a distinctively free aesthetic form in the educational frame of reference (...) so that great experiences may abound. (shrink)
Isaiah Berlin was a central figure in twentieth-century political thought. This volume highlights Berlin's significance for contemporary readers, covering not only his writings on liberty and liberalism, the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Russian thinkers and pluralism, but also the implications of his thought for political theory, history, and the social sciences, as well as the ethical challenges confronting political actors, and the nature and importance of practical judgment for politics and scholarship. His name and work are inseparable from the revival of (...) political philosophy and the analysis of political extremism and defense of democratic liberalism following World War II. Berlin was primarily an essayist who spoke through commentary on other authors and, while his own commitments and allegiances are clear enough, much in his thought remains controversial. Berlin's work constitutes an unsystematic and incomplete, but nevertheless sweeping and profound, defense of political, ethical, and intellectual humanism in an anti-humanistic age. (shrink)