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Courage

The Politics of Life and Limb

Richard Avramenko

Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb is a compelling and highly original study of the paradox of courage. Richard Avramenko contends that courage is not simply one virtue among many; rather, it is the primary means for humans to raise themselves out of their individualistic, isolated, and materialistic existence. As such, courage is an absolute and permanent good for collective human life. Specifically, Avramenko argues that when we risk "life and limb" for one another we reveal a fundamental care that binds our community together. Paradoxically, the same courage that brings humans together also drives us apart because courage is traditionally understood as manly, by definition, exclusionary, inegalitarian, and violent.

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Creolizing Political Theory

Reading Rousseau through Fanon

Jane Anna Gordon teaches Political Science and African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut at Storrs.

Might creolization offer political theory an approach that would better reflect the heterogeneity of political life? After all, it describes mixtures that were not supposed to have emerged in the plantation societies of the Caribbean but did so through their capacity to exemplify living culture, thought, and political practice. Similar processes continue today, when people who once were strangers find themselves unequal co-occupants of new political locations they both seek to call “home.” Unlike multiculturalism, in which different cultures are thought to co-exist relatively separately, creolization describes how people reinterpret themselves through interaction with one another. While indebted to comparative political theory, Gordon offers a critique of comparison by demonstrating the generative capacity of creolizing methodologies. She does so by bringing together the eighteenth-century revolutionary Swiss thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the twentieth-century Martinican-born Algerian liberationist Frantz Fanon. While both provocatively challenged whether we can study the world in ways that do not duplicate the prejudices that sustain its inequalities, Fanon, she argues, outlined a vision of how to bring into being the democratically legitimate alternatives that Rousseau mainly imagined.

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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.

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Dark Side of the Light

Slavery and the French Enlightenment

Louis Sala-Molins

Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau and Montesquieu are best known for their humanist theories and liberating influence on Western civilization. But as renowned French intellectual Louis Sala-Molins shows, Enlightenment discourses and scholars were also complicit in the Atlantic slave trade, becoming instruments of oppression and inequality. 

Translated into English for the first time, Dark Side of the Light scrutinizes Condorcet’s Reflections on Negro Slavery and the works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Diderot side by side with the Code Noir (the royal document that codified the rules of French Caribbean slavery) in order to uncover attempts to uphold the humanist project of the Enlightenment while simultaneously justifying slavery. Wielding the pen of both the ironist and the moralist, Sala-Molins demonstrates the flawed nature of these attempts and the reasons given for this denial of rights, from the imperatives of public order to the incomplete humanity of the slave (and thus the need for his progressive humanization through slavery), to the economic prosperity that depended on his labor. At the same time, Sala-Molins uses the techniques of literature to give equal weight to the perspective of the “barefooted, the starving, and the slaves” through expository prose and scenes between slave and philosopher, giving moral agency and flesh-and-blood dimensions to issues most often treated as abstractions. 

Both an urgent critique and a measured analysis, Dark Side of the Light reveals the moral paradoxes of Enlightenment philosophies and their world-changing consequences. 

Louis Sala-Molins is a moral and political philosopher and emeritus professor at the University of Toulouse. He is the author of many books, including Le Code Noir, ou Le calvaire de Canaan and L’Afrique aux Amériques

John Conteh-Morgan is associate professor of French and Francophone, African-American, and African studies at Ohio State University. He is the author of Theatre and Drama in Francophone Africa: A Critical Introduction.

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The Dark Sides of Virtue

Reassessing International Humanitarianism

David Kennedy

In this provocative and timely book, David Kennedy explores what can go awry when we put our humanitarian yearnings into action on a global scale--and what we can do in response.

Rooted in Kennedy's own experience in numerous humanitarian efforts, the book examines campaigns for human rights, refugee protection, economic development, and for humanitarian limits to the conduct of war. It takes us from the jails of Uruguay to the corridors of the United Nations, from the founding of a non-governmental organization dedicated to the liberation of East Timor to work aboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Kennedy shares the satisfactions of international humanitarian engagement--but also the disappointments of a faith betrayed. With humanitarianism's new power comes knowledge that even the most well-intentioned projects can create as many problems as they solve. Kennedy develops a checklist of the unforeseen consequences, blind spots, and biases of humanitarian work--from focusing too much on rules and too little on results to the ambiguities of waging war in the name of human rights. He explores the mix of altruism, self-doubt, self-congratulation, and simple disorientation that accompany efforts to bring humanitarian commitments to foreign settings.

Writing for all those who wish that "globalization" could be more humane, Kennedy urges us to think and work more pragmatically.

A work of unusual verve, honesty, and insight, this insider's account urges us to embrace the freedom and the responsibility that come with a deeper awareness of the dark sides of humanitarian governance.

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Death and Other Penalties

Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration

Edited by Geoffrey Adelsberg, Lisa Guenther, and Scott Zeman

Mass incarceration is one of the most pressing ethical and political issues of our time. In this volume, philosophers join activists and those incarcerated on death row to grapple with contemporary U.S. punishment practices and draw out critiques around questions of power, identity, justice, and ethical responsibility. This work takes shape against a backdrop of disturbing trends: The United States incarcerates more of its own citizens than any other country in the world. A disproportionate number of these prisoners are people of color, and, today, a black man has a greater chance of going to prison than to college. The United States is the only Western democracy to retain the death penalty, even after decades of scholarship, statistics, and even legal decisions have depicted a deeply flawed system structured by racism and class oppression. Motivated by a conviction that mass incarceration and state execution are among the most important ethical and political problems of our time, the contributors to this volume come together from a diverse range of backgrounds to analyze, critique, and envision alternatives to the injustices of the U.S. prison system, with recourse to deconstruction, phenomenology, critical race theory, feminism, queer theory, and disability studies. They engage with the hyper-incarceration of people of color, the incomplete abolition of slavery, the exploitation of prisoners as workers and as “raw material” for the prison industrial complex, the intensive confinement of prisoners in supermax units, and the complexities of capital punishment in an age of abolition. The resulting collection contributes to a growing intellectual and political resistance to the apparent inevitability of incarceration and state execution as responses to crime and to social inequalities. It addresses both philosophers and activists who seek intellectual resources to contest the injustices of punishment in the United States.

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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

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The Democratic Imagination in America

Conversations with Our Past

Russell L. Hanson

Russell Hanson discovers in the history of democratic rhetoric in the United States a series of essential contests" over the meaning of democracy that have occurred in periods of political and socio-economic change.

Originally published in 1985.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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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.

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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.

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