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Explorations in Modern Political Thought
The Politics of Infinity
Human beings are restless souls, ever driven by an insistent inner force not only to have more but to be more—to be infinitely more. Various philosophers have emphasized this type of ceaseless striving in their accounts of humanity, as in Spinoza’s notion of conatus and Hobbes’s identification of “a perpetual and restless desire of power after power.” In this book, Laurence Cooper focuses his attention on three giants of the philosophic tradition for whom this inner force was a major preoccupation and something separate from and greater than the desire for self-preservation. Cooper’s overarching purpose is to illuminate the nature of this source of existential longing and discontent and its implications for political life. He concentrates especially on what these thinkers share in their understanding of this psychic power and how they view it ambivalently as the root not only of ambition, vigorous virtue, patriotism, and philosophy, but also of tyranny, imperialism, and varieties of fanaticism. But he is not neglectful of the differences among their interpretations of the phenomenon, either, and especially highlights these in the concluding chapter.
A Feminist Approach to Human Security
In The Ethics of Care, Fiona Robinson demonstrates how the responsibilities of sustaining life are central to the struggle for basic human security. She takes a unique approach, using a feminist lens to challenge gender biases in rights-based, individualist approaches.Robinson's thorough and impassioned consideration of care in both ethical and practical terms provides a starting point for understanding and addressing the material, emotional and psychological conditions that create insecurity for people. The Ethics of Careexamines “care ethics” and “security” at the theoretical level and explores the practical implications of care relations for security in a variety of contexts: women's labor in the global economy, humanitarian intervention and peace building, healthcare, and childcare.
Theoretically-innovative and policy-relevant, this critical analysis demonstrates the need to understand the obstacles and inequalities that obstruct the equitable and adequate delivery of care around the world.
Yves Simon was one of the preeminent Thomistic philosophers and political theorists of the twentieth century. He saw it as a moral duty to understand human reality and to use philosophical analysis to examine contemporary politics when they embodied philosophical errors or vicious ideologies. In The Ethiopian Campaign and French Political Thought, Simon extracts principles from the 1894 Dreyfus Affair in France and applies them to Italy’s 1935 invasion of Ethopia. As Simon’s analysis shows, the relatively obscure events leading up to the Italian invasion had larger implications for Europe and the world, perhaps even paving the way for Vichy France’s collaboration with Hitler’s German New Order. This book, available for the first time in English, offers an interesting case study of such ethical concerns as just war theory and pre-emptive war, and is of particular relevance in our modern political climate.
Readings in and about the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai
Aurel Kolnai was born in Budapest, in 1900 and died in London, in 1973. He was, according to Karl Popper and the late Bernard Williams, one of the most original, provocative, and sensitive philosophers of the twentieth century. Kolnai's moral philosophy is best described in his own words as „intrinsicalist, non-naturalist, non-reductionist", which took its original impetus from Scheler's value ethics, and was developed by using a natural phenomenologist method. The unique combination of linguistic analysis and phenomenology yields highly original ideas on classical fields of moral theory, such as responsibility and free will, the meaning of right and wrong, the universalisability of ethical norms, the role of moral emotions, internalism vs externalism, to mention a few. The volume presents a selection of essays by Kolnai, including his main political theoretical work, What is Politics About, available in English here for the first time. The second half of the book Kolnai's work is analyzed in a series of essays by eminent scholars
The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought
With crisp prose and intellectual fairness, Family Politics traces the treatment of the family in the philosophies of leading political thinkers of the modern world. What is family? What is marriage? In an effort to address contemporary society’s disputes over the meanings of these human social institutions, Scott Yenor carefully examines a roster of major and unexpected modern political philosophers—from Locke and Rousseau to Hegel and Marx to Freud and Beauvoir. He lucidly presents how these individuals developed an understanding of family in order to advance their goals of political and social reform. Through this exploration, Yenor unveils the effect of modern liberty on this foundational institution and argues that the quest to pursue individual autonomy has undermined the nature of marriage and jeopardizes its future.
A Philosophical History
In this imaginative and comprehensive study, Edward Casey, one of the most incisive interpreters of the Continental philosophical tradition, offers a philosophical history of the evolving conceptualizations of place and space in Western thought. Not merely a presentation of the ideas of other philosophers, The Fate of Place is acutely sensitive to silences, absences, and missed opportunities in the complex history of philosophical approaches to space and place. A central theme is the increasing neglect of place in favor of space from the seventh century A.D. onward, amounting to the virtual exclusion of place by the end of the eighteenth century.
Casey begins with mythological and religious creation stories and the theories of Plato and Aristotle and then explores the heritage of Neoplatonic, medieval, and Renaissance speculations about space. He presents an impressive history of the birth of modern spatial conceptions in the writings of Newton, Descartes, Leibniz, and Kant and delineates the evolution of twentieth-century phenomenological approaches in the work of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard, and Heidegger. In the book's final section, Casey explores the postmodern theories of Foucault, Derrida, Tschumi, Deleuze and Guattari, and Irigaray.
Addressing central questions in the debate about Foucault’s usefulness for politics, including his rejection of universal norms, his conception of power and power-knowledge, his seemingly contradictory position on subjectivity and his resistance to using identity as a political category, McLaren argues that Foucault employs a conception of embodied subjectivity that is well-suited for feminism. She applies Foucault’s notion of practices of the self to contemporary feminist practices, such as consciousness-raising and autobiography, and concludes that the connection between self-transformation and social transformation that Foucault theorizes as the connection between subjectivity and institutional and social norms is crucial for contemporary feminist theory and politics.
In Feminist Interpretations of John Rawls, Ruth Abbey collects eight essays responding to the work of John Rawls from a feminist perspective. An impressive introduction by the editor provides a chronological overview of English-language feminist engagements with Rawls from his Theory of Justice onwards. She surveys the range of issues canvassed by feminist readers of Rawls, as well as critics’ wide disagreement about the value of Rawls’ corpus for feminist purposes. The eight essays that follow testify to the continuing ambivalence among feminist readers of Rawls. From the perspectives of political theory and moral, social, and political philosophy, the essayists address particular aspects of Rawls’ work and apply it to a variety of worldly practices relating to gender inequality and the family, to the construction of disability, to the justice in everyday relationships, to human rights on an international level. The overall effect is to give a sense of the broad spectrum of possible feminist critical responses to Rawls, ranging from rejection to adoption. Aside from the editor, the contributors are Amy R. Baehr, Eileen Hunt Botting, Elizabeth Brake, Clare Chambers, Nancy J. Hirschmann, Anthony Simon Laden, Janice Richardson, and Lisa H. Schwartzman.