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The Crisis of Modern Times Cover

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The Crisis of Modern Times

Perspectives from The Review of Politics, 1939-1962

Edited by A. James McAdams

In the 1940s and 1950s The Review of Politics, under the dynamic leadership of Waldemar Gurian, emerged as one of the leading journals of political and social theory in the United States. This volume celebrates that legacy by bringing together classic essays by a remarkable group of American and European émigré intellectuals, among them Jacques Maritain, Hannah Arendt, Josef Pieper, Eric Voegelin, and Yves Simon. For these writers, the emergence of new dictatorial regimes in Germany and Russia and the looming threat of another, even more devastating, European war demanded that one rethink the reigning philosophical perspectives of the time. In their view, the western world had lost sight of its founding principles. Individually and collectively, they maintained that the West could be saved only if its leaders embraced the idea that society should be governed by moral standards and a commitment to human dignity. Since the first issue appeared in 1939, The Review of Politics has influenced generations of political theorists. To complement these essays A. James McAdams has written an introduction that discusses the history of the journal and reflects on the contributions of these influential figures. He underscores the continuing relevance of these essays in assessing contemporary issues.

Democracy and the Ethical Life Cover

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Democracy and the Ethical Life

A Philosophy of Politics and Community (Second Edition, Expanded)

Claes G. Ryn

This study goes to the heart of ethics and politics. Strongly argued and lucidly written, the book makes a crucial distinction between two forms of democracy

Democratic Professionalism Cover

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Democratic Professionalism

Citizen Participation and the Reconstruction of Professional Ethics, Identity, and Practice

Albert W. Dzur

Bringing expert knowledge to bear in an open and deliberative way to help solve pressing social problems is a major concern today, when technocratic and bureaucratic decision making often occurs with little or no input from the general public. Albert Dzur proposes an approach he calls “democratic professionalism” to build bridges between specialists in domains like law, medicine, and journalism and the lay public in such a way as to enable and enhance broader public engagement with and deliberation about major social issues. Sparking a critical and constructive dialogue among social theories of the professions, professional ethics, and political theories of deliberative democracy, Dzur reveals interests, motivations, strengths, and vulnerabilities in conventional professional roles that provide guideposts for this new approach. He then applies it in examining three practical arenas in which experiments in collaboration and power-sharing between professionals and citizens have been undertaken: public journalism, restorative justice, and the bioethics movement. Finally, he draws lessons from these cases to refine this innovative theory and identify the kinds of challenges practitioners face in being both democratic and professional.

Derrida and Our Animal Others Cover

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Derrida and Our Animal Others

Derrida’s Final Seminar, the Beast and the Sovereign

David Farrell Krell

Jacques Derrida’s final seminars were devoted to animal life and political sovereignty–-the connection being that animals slavishly adhere to the law while kings and gods tower above it and that this relationship reveals much about humanity in the West. David Farrell Krell offers a detailed account of these seminars, placing them in the context of Derrida’s late work and his critique of Heidegger. Krell focuses his discussion on questions such as death, language, and animality. He concludes that Heidegger and Derrida share a commitment to finding new ways of speaking and thinking about human and animal life.

Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy Cover

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Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy

Samir Haddad

Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy provides a theoretically rich and accessible account of Derrida's political philosophy. Demonstrating the key role inheritance plays in Derrida’s thinking, Samir Haddad develops a general theory of inheritance and shows how it is essential to democratic action. He transforms Derrida’s well-known idea of "democracy to come" into active engagement with democratic traditions. Haddad focuses on issues such as hospitality, justice, normativity, violence, friendship, birth, and the nature of democracy as he reads these deeply political writings.

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Discourse of Domination

From the Frankfurt School to Postmodernism

Agger, Ben

The Discourse of Domination tackles nothing less than the challenge of giving critical theory a new grip on current problems, and restoring the left's faith in the possibility of enlightened social change. Agger steers a course between orthodox Marxism and orthodox anti Marxism, bringing the concepts of ideology, dialectic, and domination out of the academy and making them into "a living medium of political self expression."

Drawing the Line Cover

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Drawing the Line

Toward an Aesthetics of Transitional Justice

Carrol Clarkson

Drawing the Line examines the ways in which cultural, political, and legal lines are imagined, drawn, crossed, erased, and redrawn in post-apartheid South Africa through literary texts, artworks, and other forms of cultural production. Under the rubric of a philosophy of the limit and with reference to a range of signifying acts and events, this book asks what it takes to recalibrate a sociopolitical scene, shifting perceptions of what counts and what matters, of what can be seen and heard, of what can be valued or regarded as meaningful. The book thus argues for an aesthetics of transitional justice and makes an appeal for a postapartheid aesthetic inquiry, as opposed to simply a political or a legal one. Each chapter brings a South African artwork, text, speech, building, or social encounter into conversation with debates in critical theory and continental philosophy, asking: What challenge do these South African acts of signification and resignification pose to current literary-philosophical debates?

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Duty to Respond

Mass Crime, Denial, and Collective Responsibility

By Nenad Dimitrijevic

The subject of the book is responsibility for collective crime. Collective crime is an act committed by a significant number of the members of a group, in the name of all members of that group, with the support of the majority of group members, and against individuals targeted on the basis of their belonging to a different group. The central claim is that all members of the group in whose name collective crime is committed share responsibility for it. This book’s special interest is with analytical and normative defense of arguments that purport to explain reasons for, and the character of, responsibility of decent people. Those who did not intend, support, or committed wrong, are still accountable in a non-vicarious manner. The basis of their responsibility is the crime-specific relationship between group identity and personal identity.

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Earthly Plenitudes: A Study on Sovereignty and Labor

A fierce critique of productivity and sovereignty in the world of labor and everyday life, Bruno Gullì’s Earthly Plenitudes asks, can labor exist without sovereignty and without capitalism? He introduces the concept of dignity of individuation to prompt a rethinking of categories of political ontology. Dignity of individuation stresses the notion that the dignity of each and any individual being lies in its being individuated as such; dignity is the irreducible and most essential character of any being. Singularity is a more universal quality.

Gullì first reviews approaches to sovereignty by philosophers as varied as Gottfried Leibniz and Georges Bataille, and then looks at concrete examples where the alliance of sovereignty and capital cracks under the potency of living labor. He examines contingent academic labor as an example of the super-exploitation of labor, which has become a global phenomenon, and as such, a clear threat to the sovereign logic of capital. Gullì also looks at disability to assert that a new measure of humanity can only be found outside the schemes of sovereignty, productivity, efficiency, and independence, through care and caring for others, in solidarity and interdependence.

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Economy and the Future

A Crisis of Faith

A monster stalks the earth—a sluggish, craven, dumb beast that takes fright at the slightest noise and starts at the sight of its own shadow. This monster is the market. The shadow it fears is cast by a light that comes from the future: the Keynesian crisis of expectations. It is this same light that causes the world’s leaders to tremble before the beast. They tremble, Jean-Pierre Dupuy says, because they have lost faith in the future. What Dupuy calls Economy has degenerated today into a mad spectacle of unrestrained consumption and speculation. But in its positive form—a truly political economy in which politics, not economics, is predominant—Economy creates not only a sense of trust and confidence but also a belief in the open-endedness of the future without which capitalism cannot function. In this devastating and counterintuitive indictment of the hegemonic pretensions of neoclassical economic theory, Dupuy argues that the immutable and eternal decision of God has been replaced with the unpredictable and capricious judgment of the crowd. The future of mankind will therefore depend on whether it can see through the blindness of orthodox economic thinking.

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