What constitutes Lincoln’s political greatness as a statesman? As a great leader, he saved the Union, presided over the end of slavery, and helped to pave the way for an interracial democracy. His great speeches provide enduring wisdom about human equality, democracy, free labor, and free society. Joseph R. Fornieri contends that Lincoln’s political genius is best understood in terms of a philosophical statesmanship that united greatness of thought and action, one that combined theory and practice. This philosophical statesmanship, Fornieri argues, can best be understood in terms of six dimensions of political leadership: wisdom, prudence, duty, magnanimity, rhetoric, and patriotism. Drawing on insights from history, politics, and philosophy, Fornieri tackles the question of how Lincoln’s statesmanship displayed each of these crucial elements.
Providing an accessible framework for understanding Lincoln’s statesmanship, this thoughtful study examines the sixteenth president’s political leadership in terms of the traditional moral vision of statecraft as understood by epic political philosophers such as Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Fornieri contends that Lincoln’s character is best understood in terms of Aquinas’s understanding of magnanimity or greatness of soul, the crowning virtue of statesmanship. True political greatness, as embodied by Lincoln, involves both humility and sacrificial service for the common good. The enduring wisdom and timeless teachings of these great thinkers, Fornieri shows, can lead to a deeper appreciation of statesmanship and of its embodiment in Abraham Lincoln.
With the great philosophers and books of western civilization as his guide, Fornieri demonstrates the important contribution of normative political philosophy to an understanding of our sixteenth president. Informed by political theory that draws on the classics in revealing the timelessness of Lincoln’s example, his interdisciplinary study offers profound insights for anyone interested in the nature of leadership, statesmanship, political philosophy, political ethics, political history, and constitutional law.
One of Hegel’s most controversial and confounding claims is that “the real is rational and the rational is real.” In this book, one of the world’s leading scholars of Hegel, Jean-François Kervégan, offers a thorough analysis and explanation of that claim, along the way delivering a compelling account of modern social, political, and ethical life.
Kervégan begins with Hegel’s term “objective spirit,” the public manifestation of our deepest commitments, the binding norms that shape our existence as subjects and agents. He examines objective spirit in three realms: the notion of right, the theory of society, and the state. In conversation with Tocqueville and other theorists of democracy, whether in the Anglophone world or in Europe, Kervégan shows how Hegel—often associated with grand metaphysical ideas—actually had a specific conception of civil society and the state. In Hegel’s view, public institutions represent the fulfillment of deep subjective needs—and in that sense, demonstrate that the real is the rational, because what surrounds us is the product of our collective mindedness. This groundbreaking analysis will guide the study of Hegel and nineteenth-century political thought for years to come.
Race matters in both national and international politics. Starting from this perspective, African American Perspectives on Political Science presents original essays from leading African American political scientists. Collectively, they evaluate the discipline, its subfields, the quality of race-related research, and omissions in the literature. They argue that because Americans do not fully understand the many-faceted issues of race in politics in their own country, they find it difficult to comprehend ethnic and racial disputes in other countries as well. In addition, partly because there are so few African Americans in the field, political science faces a danger of unconscious insularity in methodology and outlook. Contributors argue that the discipline needs multiple perspectives to prevent it from developing blind spots. Taken as a whole, these essays argue with great urgency that African American political scientists have a unique opportunity and a special responsibility to rethink the canon, the norms, and the directions of the discipline.
African American Political Thought offers an unprecedented philosophical history of thinkers from the African American community and African diaspora who have addressed the central issues of political life: democracy, race, violence, liberation, solidarity, and mass political action. Melvin L. Rogers and Jack Turner have brought together leading scholars to reflect on individual intellectuals from the past four centuries, developing their list with an expansive approach to political expression. The collected essays consider such figures as Martin Delany, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Audre Lorde, whose works are addressed by scholars such as Farah Jasmin Griffin, Robert Gooding-Williams, Michael Dawson, Nick Bromell, Neil Roberts, and Lawrie Balfour.
While African American political thought is inextricable from the historical movement of American political thought, this volume stresses the individuality of Black thinkers, the transnational and diasporic consciousness, and how individual speakers and writers draw on various traditions simultaneously to broaden our conception of African American political ideas. This landmark volume gives us the opportunity to tap into the myriad and nuanced political theories central to Black life. In doing so, African American Political Thought: A Collected History transforms how we understand the past and future of political thinking in the West.
The fall of the Berlin Wall. The collapse of the Iron Curtain. The Orange Revolution. The Arab Spring.
The rush of events in recent decades seems to confirm that Alexis de Tocqueville was right: the future belongs to democracy. But take a closer look. The history of democracy since the 1830s, when Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, reveals a far more complicated picture. And the future, author Chilton Williamson Jr. demonstrates, appears rather unpromising for democratic institutions around the world.
The fall of communism sparked the popular notion that the spread of democracy was inevitable. After Tocqueville challenges this sunny notion. Various aspects of twenty-first-century life that Tocqueville could scarcely have imagined—political, economic, social, religious, intellectual, technological, environmental—militate against democracy, both in developing societies and in the supposedly democratic West.
This piercing, elegantly written book raises crucial questions about the future of democracy, including:
•Just what is democracy? As Williamson shows, definitions and concepts have become so varied that the term is effectively meaningless.
•How does a system whose institutions and habits arose in small-scale societies adapt to a postmodern, globalized world?
•After two centuries of democratization, are Western countries really more free?
•How can democracy endure when people care more about procuring what they want than about securing liberty?
•How does a political system survive when it is beset by problems that cannot be solved by political means?
Two decades ago, Francis Fukuyama famously pronounced the “end of history.” History, it turns out, is still very much with us. Democracy (whatever it is) may not be in the decades and centuries to come.
In 2015, members of the philosophy department at the University of Madrid conducted an interview with Alberto Moreiras for the university’s digital archive. The resulting dialogues and the Spanish edition of this work, Marranismo e inscripción, o el abandono de la conciencia desdichada, are the basis for Against Abstraction, supplemented with an interview conducted for the Chilean journal Papel máquina. In these landmark conversations, Moreiras describes how, though he was initially committed to Latin American literary studies, he eventually transitioned to become an eminent scholar of critical theory, existential philosophy, and ultimately infrapolitics and posthegemony.
Blending intellectual autobiography with a survey of Hispanism as practiced in universities in the United States (including the schisms in Latin American subaltern studies that eventually led to Moreiras’s departure from Duke University), these narratives read like a picaresque and a polemic on the symbolic power of scholars. Drawing on the concept of marranism (originally a term for Iberian Jews and Muslims forced to convert to Christianity during the Middle Ages) to consider the situations and allegiances he has navigated over the years, Moreiras has produced a multifaceted self-portrait that will surely spark further discourse.
Nelson Maldonado-Torres argues that European modernity has become inextricable from the experience of the warrior and conqueror. In Against War, he develops a powerful critique of modernity, and he offers a critical response combining ethics, political theory, and ideas rooted in Christian and Jewish thought. Maldonado-Torres focuses on the perspectives of those who inhabit the underside of western modernity, particularly Jewish, black, and Latin American theorists. He analyzes the works of the Jewish Lithuanian-French philosopher and religious thinker Emmanuel Levinas, the Martiniquean psychiatrist and political thinker Frantz Fanon, and the Catholic Argentinean-Mexican philosopher, historian, and theologian Enrique Dussel.
Considering Levinas’s critique of French liberalism and Nazi racial politics, and the links between them, Maldonado-Torres identifies a “master morality” of dominion and control at the heart of western modernity. This master morality constitutes the center of a warring paradigm that inspires and legitimizes racial policies, imperial projects, and wars of invasion. Maldonado-Torres refines the description of modernity’s war paradigm and the Levinasian critique through Fanon’s phenomenology of the colonized and racial self and the politics of decolonization, which he reinterprets in light of the Levinasian conception of ethics. Drawing on Dussel’s genealogy of the modern imperial and warring self, Maldonado-Torres theorizes race as the naturalization of war’s death ethic. He offers decolonial ethics and politics as an antidote to modernity’s master morality and the paradigm of war. Against War advances the de-colonial turn, showing how theory and ethics cannot be conceived without politics, and how they all need to be oriented by the imperative of decolonization in the modern/colonial and postmodern world.
Before making significant policy decisions, political actors and parties must first craft an agenda designed to place certain issues at the center of political attention. The agenda-setting approach in political science holds that the amount of attention devoted by the various actors within a political system to issues like immigration, health care, and the economy can inform our understanding of its basic patterns and processes. While there has been considerable attention to how political systems process issues in the United States, Christoffer Green-Pedersen and Stefaan Walgrave demonstrate the broader applicability of this approach by extending it to other countries and their political systems.
Agenda Setting and Political Attention brings together essays on eleven countries and two broad themes. Contributors to the first section analyze the extent to which party and electoral changes and shifts in the partisan composition of government have led—or not led—to policy changes in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and France. The second section turns the focus on changing institutional structures in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and Canada, including the German reunification and the collapse of the Italian party system. Together, the essays make clear the efficacy of the agenda-setting approach for understanding not only how policies evolve, but also how political systems function.
An incisive argument for the relevance of political philosophy and its possibility of effecting change.
The appeal of political philosophy is that it will answer questions about justice for the sake of political action. But contemporary political philosophy struggles to live up to this promise. Since the death of John Rawls, political philosophers have become absorbed in methodological debates, leading to an impasse between two unattractive tendencies: utopians argue that philosophy should focus uncompromisingly on abstract questions of justice, while pragmatists argue that we should concern ourselves only with local efforts to ameliorate injustice. Agents of Change shows a way forward.
Ben Laurence argues that we can combine utopian justice and the pragmatic response to injustice in a political philosophy that unifies theory and practice in pursuit of change. Political philosophy, on this view, is not a purely normative theory disconnected from practice. Rather, political philosophy is itself a practice—an exercise of practical reason issuing in action. Laurence contends that this exercise begins in ordinary life with the confrontation with injustice. Philosophy draws ideas about justice from this encounter to be pursued through political action. Laurence shows that the task of political philosophy is not complete until it asks the question “What is to be done?” and deliberates actionable answers.
Though the activities of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were unified in their common idea of resistance to oppression, these groups fought their battles on multiple fronts. The NAACP filed lawsuits and aggressively lobbied Congress and state legislatures, while Martin Luther King Jr. and SCLC challenged the racial status quo through nonviolent mass action, and the SNCC focused on community empowerment activities. In Agitations, Kevin Anderson studies these various activities in order to trace the ideological foundations of these groups and to understand how diversity among African Americans created multiple political strategies.
Agitations goes beyond the traditionally acknowledged divide between integrationist and accommodationist wings of African American politics to explore the diverse fundamental ideologies and strategic outcomes among African American activists that still define, influence, and complicate political life today.
Examines how Hamilton’s thoughts and experiences about public administration theory and practice have shaped the nation
American public administration inherited from Alexander Hamilton a distinct republican framework through which we derive many of our modern governing standards and practices. His administrative theory flowed from his republican vision, prescribing not only the how of administration but also what should be done and why. Administration and policy merged seamlessly in his mind, each conditioning the other. His Anti-Federalist detractors clearly saw this and fought his vision tooth and nail.
That conflict endures to this day because Americans still have not settled on just one vision of the American republic. That is why, Richard Green argues, Hamilton is a pivotal figure in our current reckoning. If we want to more fully understand ourselves and our ways of governing today, we must start by understanding Hamilton, and we cannot do that without exploring his administrative theory and practice in depth.
Alexander Hamilton’s Public Administration considers Hamilton both as a founder of the American republic, steeped in the currents of political philosophy and science of his day, and as its chief administrative theorist and craftsman, deeply involved in establishing the early institutions and policies that would bring his interpretation of the written Constitution to life. Accordingly, this book addresses the complex mix of classical and modern ideas that informed his vision of a modern commercial and administrative republic; the administrative ideas, institutions, and practices that flowed from that vision; and the substantive policies he deemed essential to its realization. Green’s analysis grows out of an immersion in Hamilton’s extant papers, including reports, letters, pamphlets, and essays. Readers will find a comprehensive explanation of his theoretical contributions and a richly detailed account of his ideas and practices in historical context.
Alexis de Tocqueville possessed one of the most fertile sociological imaginations of the nineteenth century. For more than 120 years, his uncanny predictive insight has continued to fascinate thinkers, and his writings have continued to influence our interpretations of history and society. His analyses of many issues remain relevant to current social and political problems. In this volume John Stone and Stephen Mennell bring together for the first time selections from the full range of Tocqueville's writings, selections that illustrate the depth of his insight and analysis.
In this work, Muhsin Mahdi—widely regarded as the preeminent scholar of Islamic political thought—distills more than four decades of research to offer an authoritative analysis of the work of Alfarabi, the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Mahdi, who also brought to light writings of Alfarabi that had long been presumed lost or were not even known, presents this great thinker as his contemporaries would have seen him: as a philosopher who sought to lay the foundations for a new understanding of revealed religion and its relation to the tradition of political philosophy.
Beginning with a survey of Islamic philosophy and a discussion of its historical background, Mahdi considers the interrelated spheres of philosophy, political thought, theology, and jurisprudence of the time. He then turns to Alfarabi's concept of "the virtuous city," and concludes with an in-depth analysis of the trilogy, Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.
This philosophical engagement with the writings of and about Alfarabi will be essential reading for anyone interested in medieval political philosophy.
From Aristotle to Thomas Jefferson, seminal thinkers have declared “common sense” essential for moral discernment and civilized living. Yet the story of commonsense philosophy is not well known today.
In America and the Political Philosophy of Common Sense, Scott Segrest traces the history and explores the personal and social meaning of common sense as understood especially in American thought and as reflected specifically in the writings of three paradigmatic thinkers: John Witherspoon, James McCosh, and William James. The first two represent Scottish Common Sense and the third, Pragmatism, the schools that together dominated American higher thought for nearly two centuries.
Educated Americans of the founding period warmly received Scottish Common Sense, Segrest writes, because it reflected so well what they already thought, and he uncovers the basic elements of American common sense in examining the thought of Witherspoon, who introduced that philosophy to them. With McCosh, he shows the furthest development and limits of the philosophy, and with it of American common sense in its Scottish realist phase. With James, he shows other dimensions of common sense that Americans had long embraced but that had never been examined philosophically.
Clearly, Segrest’s work is much more than an intellectual history. It is a study of the American mind and of common sense itself—its essential character and its human significance, both moral and political. It was common sense, he affirms, that underlay the Declaration of Independence and the founders’ ideas of right and obligation that are still with us today. Segrest suggests that understanding this foundation and James’s refreshing of it could be the key to maintaining America’s vital moral core against a growing alienation from common sense across the Western world.
Stressing the urgency of understanding and preserving common sense, Segrest’s work sheds new light on an undervalued aspect of American thought and experience, helping us to perceive the ramifications of commonsense philosophy for dignified living.
Bernd Herzogenrath’s An American Body|Politic is a study of the intersection between the material, biological body and body as political and cultural metaphor in American politics, religion, literature, and popular culture. Deeply influenced by the thought of Gilles Deleuze, Herzogenrath’s approach to American culture encompasses endless possibilities and potentials, eschewing the mechanic and structural. He traipses through American history and culture, pausing to examine such varied facets as the Puritans’ “two bodies,” Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomian Controversy, Cotton Mather and smallpox, the poetics|politics of Whitman, Henry Adams’s stroll along the shores of complexity, and the Detroit-based techno music of today.
The essays collected here, somewhat autobiographical in their effect, range from a discussion of the despair of the Cold War and Vietnam in 1966 to reflections on the euphoria over the ending of the Cold War in Eastern Europe in 1990. The opening essays are general in nature: exploring the foundation and limitation of sound morality; examining what is “American” about American morality; measuring all by the yardsticks provided by classical and modern philosophers. Anastaplo’s overriding concern here is to show how one can be moral without being either cranky or moralistic. He then turns his attention to the issues of the day: the first amendment, religious liberty, women and the law, gun control, medicine, capital punishment, local politics, civil disobedience.
Although he is revered as one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln seems to lack the legacy of others like Jefferson or Jackson who brought about new conceptions of American political life. In this study of Lincoln’s political thought, Eric Sands blends political science, history, and political theory to offer a fresh perspective on Lincoln, his thought, and the politics of Reconstruction.
In this new consideration of Lincoln’s “public philosophy”—the nation’s understanding of itself—Sands seeks to determine why the spirit that successfully led the Union through the Civil War was unable to sustain itself during Reconstruction. He defines Lincolnism as a rededication to the principle of natural rights, a narrative of Divine Providence, a sentiment of brotherhood, and an augmentation of founding principles. He then explains how Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson’s succession, and developments in philosophy and science worked to undermine this philosophy after the war.
Sands investigates why the Republican Party was unable to sustain Lincoln’s ideas and why neither Republicans nor Democrats were able to formulate a compelling substitute public philosophy for Lincolnism. He describes how Radical Republicans and Purist Democrats battled for control over America’s public philosophy, then how Moderate Republicans and Legitimist Democrats abandoned battles over first principles completely. By the end of Reconstruction, public philosophy politics were rejected altogether, ultimately frustrating efforts to move the nation toward the realization of full equality under the law.
By reflecting on public policy formation and change, Sands evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of public philosophy politics and shows that the most inspiring and noble kind of politics, even if oriented toward moral principles, can also be dangerous and divisive. His work lends new insight into the role of ideas in politics and offers readers a new understanding of the consequences of Lincoln’s actions and the death of Reconstruction policies—and of why no concept of a “Lincolnian democracy” survived during the Reconstruction era.
Herbert J. Storing's Complete Anti-Federalist, hailed as "a civic event of enduring importance" (Leonard W. Levy, New York Times Book Review), indisputably established the importance of the Anti-Federalists' writings for our understanding of the Constitution. As Storing wrote in his introduction, "If the foundation of the American polity was laid by the Federalists, the Anti-Federalist reservations echo through American history; and it is in the dialogue, not merely in the Federalist victory, that the country's principles are to be discovered."
This one-volume edition presents the essence of the other side of that crucial dialogue. It can be read as a genuine counterpart to the Federalist Papers; as an original source companion to Storing's brilliant essay What the Anti-Federalists Were For (volume I of The Complete Anti-Federalist, available as a separate paperback); or as a guide to exploring the full range of Anti-Federalist writing. The Anti-Federalist makes a fundamental source of our political heritage accessible to everyone.
In this collection of essays, Joshua Cohen locates ideas about democracy in three far-ranging contexts. First, he explores the relationship between democratic values and history. He then discusses democracy in connection with the views of defining political theorists in the democratic tradition: John Locke, John Rawls, Noam Chomsky, Juergen Habermas, and Susan Moller Okin. Finally, he examines the place of democratic ideals in a global setting, suggesting an idea of “global public reason”—a terrain of political justification in global politics in which shared reason still plays an essential role.
All the essays are linked by his overarching claim that political philosophy is a practical subject intended to orient and guide conduct in the social world. Cohen integrates moral, social-scientific, and historical argument in order to develop this stance, and he further confronts the question of whether a society conceived in liberty and dedicated to equality can endure. At Gettysburg, President Lincoln forcefully stated the question and expressed both hope and concern over this same struggle about an affirmative answer. By enabling us to trace the arc of the moral universe, the essays in this volume—along with the companion collection, Philosophy, Politics, Democracy—give us some reasons for sharing that hope.
Today, democracy is seen as the best or even the only legitimate form of government—hardly in need of defense. Delba Winthrop punctures this complacency and takes up the challenge of justifying democracy through Aristotle’s political science. In Aristotle’s time and in ours, democrats want inclusiveness; they want above all to include everyone a part of a whole. But what makes a whole? This is a question for both politics and philosophy, and Winthrop shows that Aristotle pursues the answer in the Politics. She uncovers in his political science the insights philosophy brings to politics and, especially, the insights politics brings to philosophy. Through her appreciation of this dual purpose and skilled execution of her argument, Winthrop’s discoveries are profound. Central to politics, she maintains, is the quality of assertiveness—the kind of speech that demands to be heard. Aristotle, she shows for the first time, carries assertive speech into philosophy, when human reason claims its due as a contribution to the universe. Political science gets the high role of teacher to ordinary folk in democracy and to the few who want to understand what sustains it.
This posthumous publication is more than an honor to Delba Winthrop’s memory. It is a gift to partisans of democracy, advocates of justice, and students of Aristotle.
“Man is a political animal,” Aristotle asserts near the beginning of the Politics. In this novel reading of one of the foundational texts of political philosophy, Eugene Garver traces the surprising implications of Aristotle’s claim and explores the treatise’s relevance to ongoing political concerns. Often dismissed as overly grounded in Aristotle’s specific moment in time, in fact the Politics challenges contemporary understandings of human action and allows us to better see ourselves today.
Close examination of Aristotle’s treatise, Garver finds, reveals a significant, practical role for philosophy to play in politics. Philosophers present arguments about issues—such as the right and the good, justice and modes of governance, the relation between the good person and the good citizen, and the character of a good life—that politicians must then make appealing to their fellow citizens. Completing Garver’s trilogy on Aristotle’s unique vision, Aristotle’s Politics yields new ways of thinking about ethics and politics, ancient and modern.
One of the fundamental works of Western political thought, Aristotle’s masterwork is the first systematic treatise on the science of politics. For almost three decades, Carnes Lord’s justly acclaimed translation has served as the standard English edition. Widely regarded as the most faithful to both the original Greek and Aristotle’s distinctive style, it is also written in clear, contemporary English.
This new edition of the Politics retains and adds to Lord’s already extensive notes, clarifying the flow of Aristotle’s argument and identifying literary and historical references. A glossary defines key terms in Aristotle’s philosophical-political vocabulary. Lord has made revisions to problematic passages throughout the translation in order to enhance both its accuracy and its readability. He has also substantially revised his introduction for the new edition, presenting an account of Aristotle’s life in relation to political events of his time; the character and history of his writings and of the Politics in particular; his overall conception of political science; and his impact on subsequent political thought from antiquity to the present. Further enhancing this new edition is an up-to-date selected bibliography.
With Aristotle’s Teaching in the “Politics,” Thomas L. Pangle offers a masterly new interpretation of this classic philosophical work. It is widely believed that the Politics originated as a written record of a series of lectures given by Aristotle, and scholars have relied on that fact to explain seeming inconsistencies and instances of discontinuity throughout the text. Breaking from this tradition, Pangle makes the work’s origin his starting point, reconceiving the Politics as the pedagogical tool of a master teacher.
With the Politics, Pangle argues, Aristotle seeks to lead his students down a deliberately difficult path of critical thinking about civic republican life. He adopts a Socratic approach, encouraging his students—and readers—to become active participants in a dialogue. Seen from this perspective, features of the work that have perplexed previous commentators become perfectly comprehensible as artful devices of a didactic approach. Ultimately, Pangle’s close and careful analysis shows that to understand the Politics, one must first appreciate how Aristotle’s rhetorical strategy is inextricably entwined with the subject of his work.
A leading scholar in the United States on Chinese archaeology challenges long-standing conceptions of the rise of political authority in ancient China. Questioning Marx’s concept of an “Asiatic” mode of production, Wittfogel’s “hydraulic hypothesis,” and cultural-materialist theories on the importance of technology, K. C. Chang builds an impressive counterargument, one which ranges widely from recent archaeological discoveries to studies of mythology, ancient Chinese poetry, and the iconography of Shang food vessels.
"The European intellectual Hannah Arendt worried about the tendency of social structures to take on a life of their own and paralyze individual action. Pitkin . . . is determined to trace our problems to the actions of individuals. This book is thus a battle of wits. . . . [A] vivid sketch of the conflict between two basic outlooks."—Library Journal
"[O]ne leaves this book feeling enriched and challenged. Pitkin prompts us to rethink our understanding of Arendt and to demythologize the pervasive sense of political helplessness Arendt herself sought so hard to articulate. . . . [A] cause for celebration."—Peter Baehr, Times Literary Supplement
"[Arendt] is certainly among the most original and outstanding political theorists of the twentieth century. . . . It is difficult to imagine a hostile critic examining more effectively than Pitkin . . . Arendt's concept of the social, for hostility would inhibit the acquisition of the mastery of Arendt's texts that Pitkin displays at every turn."—Peter Berkowitz, New Republic