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an historical study with accompanying translations of Dante Alighieri's Monarchia, Guido Vernani's Refutation of the Monarchia composed by Dante and Pope John XXII's bull, Si fratrum
Moral universalism, or the idea that some system of ethics applies to all people regardless of race, color, nationality, religion, or culture, must have a plurality over which to range a plurality of diverse persons, nations, jurisdictions, or localities over which morality asserts a universal authority. The contributors to Moral Universalism and Pluralism, the latest volume in the NOMOS series, investigate the idea that, far from denying the existence of such pluralities, moral universalism presupposes it. At the same time, the search for universally valid principles of morality is deeply challenged by diversity. The fact of pluralism presses us to explore how universalist principles interact with ethical, political, and social particularisms. These important essays refuse the answer that particularisms should simply be made to conform to universal principles, as if morality were a mold into which the diverse matter of human society and culture could be pressed. Rather, the authors bring philosophical, legal and political perspectives to bear on the core questions: Which forms of pluralism are conceptually compatible with moral universalism, and which ones can be accommodated in a politically stable way? Can pluralism generate innovations in understandings of moral duty? How is convergence on the validity of legal and moral authority possible in circumstances of pluralism? As the contributors to the book demonstrate in a wide variety of ways, these normative, conceptual, and political questions deeply intertwine.
Contributors: Kenneth Baynes, William A. Galston, Barbara Herman, F. M. Kamm, Benedict Kingsbury, Frank I. Michelman, William E. Scheuerman, Gopal Sreenivasan, Daniel Weinstock, and Robin West.
Science, Politics, and the Humanist Ambitions of Thomas Hobbes
Exploring Kant, Hegel, and Marx
Multicultural Dynamics and the Ends of History provides a strikingly original reading of key texts in the philosophy of history by Kant, Hegel, and Marx, as well as strong arguments for why these texts are still relevant to understanding history today. Réal Fillion offers a critical exposition of the theses of these three authors on the dynamics and the ends of history, in order to provide an answer to the question: "Where are we headed?" Grounding his answer in the twin observations that the world is becoming increasingly multicultural and increasingly unified, Fillion reasserts the task of the speculative philosophy of history as it had been understood by German philosophy: the articulation and understanding the historical process as a developmental whole. Fillion's interpretation engages many recent strands of social and political thought in order to provide a new understanding of current events, and possible futures, grounded in the understanding of the dynamics of the past and the present provided by Kant, Hegel, and Marx. The result is a rich and timely answer to the question of where our world is headed today.
A Commentary on Book I of More’s Utopia Showing Its Relation to Plato’s Republic
Colin Starnes radical interpretation of the long-recognized affinity of Thomas More’s Utopia and Plato’s Republic confirms the intrinsic links between the two works. Through commentary on More’s own introduction to Book I, the author shows the Republic is everywhere present as the model of the “best commonwealth,” which More must first discredit as the root cause of the dreadful evils in the collapsing political situation of sixteenth-century Europe. Starnes demonstrates how More, once having shorn the Republic of what was applicable to a society that had for a thousand years accepted and been moved by the Christian revelation, then “Christianized” it to arrive at one of the earliest and most coherent accounts of the ideal modern state: the description of Utopia in Book II.
Knowing this radically new view of a long-recognized position may be questioned, the author has included a criticism and appreciation of the other major lines of interpretation concerning More’s Utopia.
A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics
How can we establish a political/legal order that in principle does not require the human flourishing of any person or group to be given structured preference over that of any other? Addressing this question as the central problem of political philosophy, Norms of Liberty offers a new conceptual foundation for political liberalism that takes protecting liberty, understood in terms of individual negative rights, as the primary aim of the political/legal order. Rasmussen and Den Uyl argue for construing individual rights as metanormative principles, directly tied to politics, that are used to establish the political/ legal conditions under which full moral conduct can take place. These they distinguish from normative principles, used to provide guidance for moral conduct within the ambit of normative ethics. This crucial distinction allows them to develop liberalism as a metanormative theory, not a guide for moral conduct. The moral universe need not be minimized or morality grounded in sentiment or contracts to support liberalism, they show. Rather, liberalism can be supported, and many of its internal tensions avoided, with an ethical framework of Aristotelian inspiration—one that understands human flourishing to be an objective, inclusive, individualized, agent-relative, social, and self-directed activity.
Race and Sovereignty in the New World
What are we talking about when we talk about sovereignty? Is it about formal legitimacy or practical authority? Does it require the ability to control the flow of people or goods across a border; is it primarily a principle of international recognition; or does its essence lie in the power to regulate the lives of a state's citizens? Political theorists, historians, scholars of international relations, lawyers, anthropologists, literary critics-all approach the dilemmas of sovereign power with a mixture of urgency and frustration.In On Lingering and Being Last, Jonathan Elmer argues that the logic of sovereignty that emerged in early modern Europe and that limits our thinking today must be understood as a fundamentally racialized logic, first visible in the New World. The modern concept of sovereignty is based on a trope of personification, the conjunction of individual and collective identities. In Grotius, Hobbes, and others, a fiction of sovereign autonomy enabled states to be personified as individuals, as bodies politic, even as individual humans could be imagined as miniature states. The contradictions of this logic were fully revealed only in the New World, as writers ranging from Aphra Behn to Thomas Jefferson and Herman Melville demonstrate.The racialized sovereign figures examined in On Lingering and Being Last-the slave king Oroonoko, the last chief Logan, and their avatars-are always at once a person and a people. They embody the connection between the individual and the collectivity, and thereby reveal that the volatile work of sovereign personification takes place in a new world constituted both by concepts of equality, homogeneity, and symmetry-by an ideal of liberal individualism-and by the realities of racial domination and ideology in the era of colonial expansion. The conjunction of the individual, race, and New World territorialization, Elmer argues, is key to understanding the deepest strata in the political imagination of Atlantic modernity.
Defending an Ancient Virtue in a Modern World
Moderation suffers in today's culture of excesses. In resuscitating this discarded virtue, Harry Clor unveils the intrinsic power of moderation to influence and engage, from the public square to the deeply personal. A mature book from a senior scholar, On Moderation answers critics of this misunderstood value, demonstrating its continued relevance to human flourishing.
Impasses of the Public Sphere from Hobbes to Habermas
This book revises the concept of the public sphere by examining opinion as a foundational concept of modernity. Indispensable to ideas like public opinionand freedom of opinion,opinion-though sometimes held in dubious repute-here assumes a central position in modern philosophy, literature, sociology, and political theory, while being the object of extremely contradictory valuations. Kirk Wetters focuses on interpretative shifts begun in the Enlightenment and cemented by the French Revolution to restore the concept of opinionto a central role in our understanding of the political public sphere. Locke's law of opinion,underwritten by the ancient conceptions of nomos and fama, proved to be inconsistent with the modern ideal of a rational political order. The contemporary dynamics of this problem have been worked out by Jrgen Habermas and Reinhart Koselleck: for Habermas the private law of opinion can be brought under the rational control of public discourse and procedural form, whereas Koselleck views modernity as the period in which irrational potentials were unleashed by a political-conceptual language that only intensified and accelerated the upheavals of history. Modernity risked making opinions into the idols of collective representations, sacrificing opinion to ideology and individualism to totalitarianism. Drawing on an intriguing range of thinkers, some not widely known to American readers today, Kirk Wetters argues that this transformation, though irreversible, is resisted by literary language, which opposes the rigid formalism that compels individuals to identify with their opinions. Rather than forcing thought to bind itself to stable opinions, modern literary forms seek to suspend this moment of closure and representation, so that held opinions do not bring all deliberative processes to a standstill.