The arts of rule cover the exercise of power by princes and popular sovereigns, but they range beyond the domain of government itself, extending to civil associations, political parties, and religious institutions. Making full use of political philosophy from a range of backgrounds, this festschrift for Harvey Mansfield recognizes that although the arts of rule are comprehensive, the best government is a limited one.
1. Introduction The policy of deterrence, at least to avert nuclear war between the superpowers, has been a controversial one. The main controversy arises from the threat of each side to visit destruction on the other in response to an initial attack. This threat would seem irrational if carrying it out would lead to a nuclear holocaust – the worst outcome for both sides. Instead, it would seem better for the side attacked to suffer some destruction rather than to retaliate (...) in kind and, in the process of devastating the other side, seal its own doom in an all-out nuclear exchange. Yet, the superpowers persist in their adherence to deterrence, by which we mean a policy of threatening to retaliate to an attack by the other side in order to deter such an attack in the first place. To be sure, nuclear doctrine for implementing deterrence has evolved over the years, with such appellations as “massive retaliation,” “flexible response,” “mutual assured destruction”, and “counterforce” giving some flavor of the changes in United States strategic thinking. All such doctrines, however, entail some kind of response to a Soviet nuclear attack. They are operationalized in terms of preselected targets to be hit, depending on the perceived nature and magnitude of the attack. Thus, whether U.S. strategic policy at any time stresses a retaliatory attack on cities and industrial centers or on weapons systems and armed forces, the certainty of a response of some kind to an attack is not the issue. (shrink)
In this response to Steven Jensen’s ACPQ review essay of Martin Rhonheimer’s The Perspective of Morality, its author argues that Jensen failed to understand the proper subject matter, the inner logic, and the methodology of the book. As a result, he misread key passages while passing over others, with the result that his criticisms miss the mark. Correcting these misreadings provides the occasion to explain some key features of the book, namely its idea of integrating in a single ethical (...) theory eudaimonistic ethics and its theory of happiness with action theory, anthropology of action, a theory of practical reason, an account of the moral virtues, a doctrine of natural law, of prudence, of conscience, and of moral norms, disproving thereby Jensen’s misleading claim that the book rejects nature as a standard of ethics. (shrink)