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The Predicament of Common Responsibility
"Peg Birmingham's reading of Arendt's work is absolutely unique. She seeks nothing less than an ontological foundation of the political, and in particular, the notion of human rights." -- Bernard Flynn, The New School for Social Research
Hannah Arendt's most important contribution to political thought may be her well-known and often-cited notion of the "right to have rights." In this incisive and wide-ranging book, Peg Birmingham explores the theoretical and social foundations of Arendt's philosophy on human rights. Devoting special consideration to questions and issues surrounding Arendt's ideas of common humanity, human responsibility, and natality, Birmingham formulates a more complex view of how these basic concepts support Arendt's theory of human rights. Birmingham considers Arendt's key philosophical works along with her literary writings, especially those on Walter Benjamin and Franz Kafka, to reveal the extent of Arendt's commitment to humanity even as violence, horror, and pessimism overtook Europe during World War II and its aftermath. This current and lively book makes a significant contribution to philosophy, political science, and European intellectual history.
While acknowledging Hannah Arendt's keen philosophical and political insights, Kathryn T. Gines claims that there are some problematic assertions and oversights regarding Arendt’s treatment of the "Negro question." Gines focuses on Arendt's reaction to the desegregation of Little Rock schools, to laws making mixed marriages illegal, and to the growing civil rights movement in the south. Reading them alongside Arendt's writings on revolution, the human condition, violence, and responses to the Eichmann war crimes trial, Gines provides a systematic analysis of anti-black racism in Arendt’s work.
Interpreting the Practice of Legal Punishment
To scholars of Western intellectual history Hegel is one of the most important of all political thinkers, but politicians and other "down-to-earth" persons see his speculative philosophy as far removed from their immediate concerns. Put off by his difficult terminology, many participants in practical politics may also believe that Hegel's idealism unduly legitimates the status quo. By examining his justification of legal punishment, this book introduces a Hegel quite different from these preconceptions: an acute critic of social practices. Mark Tunick draws on recently published but still untranslated lectures of Hegel's philosophy of right to take us to the core of Hegel's political thought. Hegel opposes radical criticism like that later offered by Marx, but, argues Tunick, he employs "immanent" criticism instead. For instance, Hegel claims that punishment is the criminal's right and makes the criminal free. From this standpoint, he defends specific features of the practice of punishment that accord with this retributive ideal and criticizes other features that contradict it. In a lucid account of what Hegel means by right and freedom, Tunick addresses Hegel specialists and those interested in criminal law, the interpretation of legal institutions and social practices, and justification from an immanent standpoint.
Originally published in 1992.
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.
Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society
The twentieth-century Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894–1977) left behind an impressive canon of philosophical works and has continued to influence a scholarly community in Europe and North America, which has extended, critiqued, and applied his thought in many academic fields. Jonathan Chaplin introduces Dooyeweerd for the first time to many English readers by critically expounding Dooyeweerd’s social and political thought and by exhibiting its pertinence to contemporary civil society debates. Chaplin begins by contextualizing Dooyeweerd’s thought, first in relation to present-day debates and then in relation to the work of the Dutch philosopher Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920). Chaplin outlines the distinctive theory of historical and cultural development that serves as an essential backdrop to Dooyeweerd’s substantive social philosophy; examines Dooyeweerd’s notion of societal structural principles; and sets forth his complex classification of particular types of social structure and their various interrelationships. Chaplin provides a detailed examination of Dooyeweerd’s theory of the state, its definitive nature, and its proper role vis-à-vis other elements of society. Dooyeweerd’s contributions, Chaplin concludes, assist us in mapping the ways in which state and civil society should be related to achieve justice and the public good.
In Herodotus and the Philosophy of Empire, Ann Ward treats the classical writer not as a historian but as a political philosopher. Ward uses close textual analysis to demonstrate that Herodotus investigates recurring themes in the most important forms of government in the ancient world. This analysis of The Histories concludes with reflections on the problems of empire, not only for the Persians and the striving Athenians, but for our own government as well. To this end, Ward contrasts Herodotus on empire with the assumptions underlying speeches and writings of Paul Wolfowitz, Colin L. Powell, Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and Robert W. Merry.
This is the first major work in English to explore at length the meaning, context, aims, and vital importance of Thomas Hobbes's concepts of the law of nature and the right of nature. Hobbes remains one of the most challenging and controversial of early modern philosophers, and debates persist about the interpretation of many of his ideas, particularly his views about natural law and natural right. In this book, Perez Zagorin argues that these two concepts are the twin foundations of the entire structure of Hobbes's moral and political thought.
Zagorin clears up numerous misconceptions about Hobbes and his relation to earlier natural law thinkers, in particular Hugo Grotius, and he reasserts the often overlooked role of the Hobbesian law of nature as a moral standard from which even sovereign power is not immune. Because Hobbes is commonly thought to be primarily a theorist of sovereignty, political absolutism, and unitary state power, the significance of his moral philosophy is often underestimated and widely assumed to depend entirely on individual self-interest. Zagorin reveals Hobbes's originality as a moral philosopher and his importance as a thinker who subverted and transformed the idea of natural law.
Hobbes and the Law of Nature is a major contribution to our understanding of Hobbes's moral, legal, and political philosophy, and a book rich in interpretive and critical insights into Hobbes's writing and thought.
Why hasn't Africa been able to respond to the challenges of modernity and globalization? Going against the conventional wisdom that colonialism brought modernity to Africa, Olúfémi Táíwò claims that Africa was already becoming modern and that colonialism was an unfinished project. Africans aspired to liberal democracy and the rule of law, but colonial officials aborted those efforts when they established indirect rule in the service of the European powers. Táíwò looks closely at modern institutions, such as church missionary societies, to recognize African agency and the impulse toward progress. He insists that Africa can get back on track and advocates a renewed engagement with modernity. Immigration, capitalism, democracy, and globalization, if done right this time, can be tools that shape a positive future for Africa.
The Economics of Ordinary Knowledge
How do ordinary people come to know or believe what they do? We need an account of this process to help explain why people act as they do. You might think I am acting irrationally--against my interest or my purpose--until you realize that what you know and what I know differ significantly. My actions, given my knowledge, might make eminently good sense. Of course, this pushes our problem back one stage to assess why someone knows or believes what they do. That is the focus of this book. Russell Hardin supposes that people are not usually going to act knowingly against their interests or other purposes. To try to understand how they have come to their knowledge or beliefs is therefore to be charitable in assessing their rationality. Hardin insists on such a charitable stance in the effort to understand others and their sometimes objectively perverse actions.
Hardin presents an essentially economic account of what an individual can come to know and then applies this account to many areas of ordinary life: political participation, religious beliefs, popular knowledge of science, liberalism, culture, extremism, moral beliefs, and institutional knowledge. All of these can be enlightened by the supposition that people are attempting reasonable actions under the severe constraints of acquiring better knowledge when they face demands that far outstretch their possibilities.
Coordination and Crisis in the "History of England"
Hume's Politics provides a comprehensive examination of David Hume's political theory, and is the first book to focus on Hume's monumental History of England as the key to his distinctly political ideas. Andrew Sabl argues that conventions of authority are the main building blocks of Humean politics, and explores how the History addresses political change and disequilibrium through a dynamic treatment of coordination problems. Dynamic coordination, as employed in Hume's work, explains how conventions of political authority arise, change, adapt to new social and economic conditions, improve or decay, and die. Sabl shows how Humean constitutional conservatism need not hinder--and may in fact facilitate--change and improvement in economic, social, and cultural life. He also identifies how Humean liberalism can offer a systematic alternative to neo-Kantian approaches to politics and liberal theory.
At once scholarly and accessibly written, Hume's Politics builds bridges between political theory and political science. It treats issues of concern to both fields, including the prehistory of political coordination, the obstacles that must be overcome in order for citizens to see themselves as sharing common political interests, the close and counterintuitive relationship between governmental authority and civic allegiance, the strategic ethics of political crisis and constitutional change, and the ways in which the biases and injustices endemic to executive power can be corrected by legislative contestation and debate.
A Critique and Reconstruction
Liberalism, the founding philosophy of many constitutional democracies, has been criticized in recent years from both the left and the right for placing too much faith in individual rights and distributive justice. In this book, David Johnston argues for a reinterpretation of liberal principles he contends will restore liberalism to a position of intellectual leadership from which it can guide political and social reforms. He begins by surveying the three major contemporary schools of liberal political thought--rights-based, perfectionist, and political liberalism--and, by weeding out their weaknesses, sketches a new approach he calls humanist liberalism.
The core of Johnston's humanist liberalism is the claim that the purpose of political and social arrangements should be to empower individuals to be effective agents. Drawing on and modifying the theories of John Rawls, Michael Walzer, Ronald Dworkin, Joseph Raz, Amartya Sen, and others, Johnston explains how this purpose can be realized in a world in which human beings hold fundamentally different conceptions of the ends of life. His humanist liberalism responds constructively to feminist, neo-Marxist, and other criticisms while remaining faithful to the core values of the liberal tradition.