In conventional identity politics subjective differences are understood negatively, as gaps to be overcome, as lacks of sameness, as evidence of failed or incomplete unity. In Alterity Politics Jeffrey T. Nealon argues instead for a concrete and ethical understanding of community, one that requires response, action, and performance instead of passive resentment and unproductive mourning for a whole that cannot be attained.
While discussing the work of others who have refused to thematize difference in terms of the possibility or impossibility of sameness—Levinas, Butler, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, Zizek, Jameson, Heidegger, Bakhtin—Nealon argues that ethics is constituted as inexorable affirmative response to different identities, not through an inability to understand or totalize the other. Alterity Politics combines this theoretical itinerary with crucial discussions of specific and diverse sites of literary and cultural production—the work of William S. Burroughs, Amiri Baraka, Andy Warhol, Ishmael Reed, Rush Limbaugh, and Vincent Van Gogh—along with analyses of the social formation of subjects as found in identity politics, and in multicultural and whiteness studies. In the process, Nealon takes on a wide variety of issues including white male anger, the ethical questions raised by drug addiction, the nature of literary meaning, and the concept of “becoming-black.”
In seeking to build an ethical structure around poststructuralist discourse and to revitalize the applied use of theoretical concepts to notions of performative identity, Alterity Politics marks a decisive intervention in literary theory, cultural studies, twentieth-century philosophy, and performance studies.
Presents a collection of papers by economists theorizing on the roles of altruism and morality versus self-interest in the shaping of human behavior and institutions. Specifically, the authors examine why some persons behave in an altruistic way without any apparent reward, thus defying the economist's model of utility maximization. The chapters are accompanied by commentaries from representatives of other disciplines, including law and philosophy.
In March 2009, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) was briefly taken over by a Christian faction. Their coup was overturned within a matter of weeks, but the episode highlighted a variety of issues, including the role of religion in civil society, sex education, homosexuality, state intervention and media engagement. Although the immediate issue was control of an activist group concerned with women's rights, it has implications for the agendas and concerns of NGOs, 'culture wars', the processes of citizenry mobilization, mass participation and noisy democracy, and liberal voices in contemporary Singapore.
In this book, academics and public intellectuals examine the AWARE saga within the context of Singapore's civil society, considering the political and historical background and how the issues it raised relate to contemporary societal trends. In addition to documenting a milestone event for Singapore's civil society, the authors offer provocative interpretations that will interest a broad range of readers.
For a century and a half, the artists and intellectuals of Europe have scorned the bourgeoisie. And for a millennium and a half, the philosophers and theologians of Europe have scorned the marketplace. The bourgeois life, capitalism, Mencken’s “booboisie” and David Brooks’s “bobos”—all have been, and still are, framed as being responsible for everything from financial to moral poverty, world wars, and spiritual desuetude. Countering these centuries of assumptions and unexamined thinking is Deirdre McCloskey’s The Bourgeois Virtues, a magnum opus that offers a radical view: capitalism is good for us.
McCloskey’s sweeping, charming, and even humorous survey of ethical thought and economic realities—from Plato to Barbara Ehrenreich—overturns every assumption we have about being bourgeois. Can you be virtuous and bourgeois? Do markets improve ethics? Has capitalism made us better as well as richer? Yes, yes, and yes, argues McCloskey, who takes on centuries of capitalism’s critics with her erudition and sheer scope of knowledge. Applying a new tradition of “virtue ethics” to our lives in modern economies, she affirms American capitalism without ignoring its faults and celebrates the bourgeois lives we actually live, without supposing that they must be lives without ethical foundations.
High Noon, Kant, Bill Murray, the modern novel, van Gogh, and of course economics and the economy all come into play in a book that can only be described as a monumental project and a life’s work. The Bourgeois Virtues is nothing less than a dazzling reinterpretation of Western intellectual history, a dead-serious reply to the critics of capitalism—and a surprising page-turner.
From all sides we hear that Americans are becoming increasingly self-absorbed and disconnected, and that our interest in social and civic responsibility is on the decline. A more encouraging profile emerges in this study of Americans at work, at home with their families, and in their communities. The book is based on a national, representative survey of more than 3,000 Americans aged 25 to 74—plus in-depth interviews with adults drawn from the survey—to find out what Americans mean by social responsibility.
The book explores the extent to which adults contribute time to caregiving, social support, and financial assistance to family members; the time given to volunteer work and financial contributions to various causes, charities, and organizations; and how these contributions are affected by job obligations. A major focus is on age and gender differences, which shows midlife to be a transitional time when civic activities increase as family obligations decline. All told, the study adds a hopeful new voice to the overwhelmingly negative debate about the current state of our civic and social lives.
The text draws on a wide range of Immanuel Kant's writings, including his texts on moral and political philosophy and his lectures on ethics, pedagogy, and anthropology. Though the book is grounded in an analysis of Kant's writing, it also puts forward the novel claim that Kant's theory is centrally concerned with the relationships we have in our day-to-day lives.
"It is not, nor it cannot come to good. But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue." Thus spoke Hamlet, one of the great kvetchers of literature. Every day, gripers challenge our patience and compassion. Yet Pollyannas rile us up with their grotesque contentment and unfathomable rejection of protest. Avital Ronell considers how literature and philosophy treat bellyachers, wailers, and grumps--and the complaints they lavish on the rest of us. Combining her trademark jazzy panache with a fearless range of readings, Ronell opens a dialog with readers that discusses thinkers with whom she has directly engaged. Beginning with Hamlet, and with a candid awareness of her own experiences, Ronell proceeds to show how complaining is aggravated, distracted, stifled, and transformed. She moves on to the exemplary complaints of Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and Barbara Johnson and examines the complaint-riven history of deconstruction. Infused with the author's trademark wit, Complaint takes friends, colleagues, and all of us on a courageous philosophical journey.
Critique of Forms of Life
Rahel Jaeggi Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress H61.15.J3413 2019 | Dewey Decimal 170
For liberals, the question “Do others live rightly?” seems to demand a follow-up question: “Who am I to judge?” Peaceful coexistence, in this view, is predicated on restraint from morally evaluating our peers. But Rahel Jaeggi argues that criticizing is not only valid but also useful. Moral judgment is no error—the error lies in how we go about it.
Today those who believe in liberal democracy must reexamine and reaffirm their commitments. Here, Charles Anderson probes our urgent concerns and questions. Even those who believe that liberal democracy is the best form of government may think that liberal individualism leads to selfishness, permissiveness, and irresponsibility. Many would teach a cultural or religious counter-ethic to offset the excesses of freedom.
Grounding his view in classic philosophic and religious ideals, Anderson argues that a deeper vision of individuality and freedom can lead to both a sound public philosophy and a worthy personal ethic. In the same way that we as humans try to understand our place in nature and the cosmos, Anderson seeks to understand how we, as unique individuals, can understand our place among our fellow humans. Beginning with friendship and love, he extends his inquiry to the relationships of teaching, community, work, and democracy. Anderson shows how the natural desire of free people to find meaning in relationships with one another can lead to depth and fullness both in private and public life.
Democracy and Social Ethics
Jane Addams University of Illinois Press, 2001 Library of Congress HN64.A2 2002 | Dewey Decimal 303.3720973
Nearly a century before the advent of "multiculturalism," Jane Addams put forward her conception of the moral significance of diversity. Each member of a democracy, Addams believed, is under a moral obligation to seek out diverse experiences, making a daily effort to confront others' perspectives. Morality must be seen as a social rather than an individual endeavor, and democracy as a way of life rather than merely a basis for laws. Failing this, both democracy and ethics remain sterile, empty concepts.
In this, Addams's earliest book on ethics--presented here with a substantial introduction by Charlene Haddock Seigfried--she reflects on the factors that hinder the ability of all members of society to determine their own well-being. Observing relationships between charitable workers and their clients, between factory owners and their employers, and between household employers and their servants, she identifies sources of friction and shows how conceiving of democracy as a social obligation can lead to new, mutually beneficial lines of conduct. She also considers the proper education of workers, struggles between parents and their adult daughters over conflicting family and social claims, and the merging of politics with the daily lives of constituents.
"The sphere of morals is the sphere of action," Addams proclaims. It is not enough to believe passively in the innate dignity of all human beings. Rather, one must work daily to root out racial, gender, class, and other prejudices from personal relationships.
This classic text on the nature of deviance, originally published in 1980, is now reissued with a new Afterword by the authors. In this new edition of their award-winning book, Conrad and Schneider investigate the origins and contemporary consequences of the medicalization of deviance. They examine specific cases—madness, alcoholism, opiate addiction, homosexuality, delinquency, and child abuse—and draw out their theoretical and policy implications. In a new chapter, the authors address developments in the last decade—including AIDS, domestic violence, co-dependency, hyperactivity in children, and learning disabilities—and they discuss the fate of medicalization in the 1990s with the changes in medicine and continued restrictions on social services.
In this volume of Leys Lectures, the third collection of Wayne Leys Memorial Lectures, six distinguished essayists demonstrate the relevance of ethics to contemporary concerns by constructively exploring major ethical issues deeply embedded in our society.
The essays, written by noted scholars Tom Regan, Carol C. Gould, James Rachels, James P. Sterba, Louis P. Pojman, and David L. Norton, focus on issues of feminism, the exploitation of animals, economic injustice, racial prejudice, naive moral relativism, and the failure of public education.
Tom Regan and Louis P. Pojman both address the issue of animal rights. Regan directs his attention to an ethic-of-care feminism, which contends that the ideology of male superiority—not only to women but to all creatures—must be destroyed. By means of a "consistency argument," he extends ethic-of-care feminism to the treatment of animals, insisting that we must not permit to be done to animals "in the name of science" what we would not allow to be done to human beings. Pojman, on the other hand, addresses the question of animal rights through a critical analysis of seven theories of the moral status of animals, arguing that while animals have no natural "rights" since they are unable to enter into contracts, they do deserve to be treated kindly. In his view, much animal research could be abandoned without significant loss.
What rethinking of democracy in terms of freedom and equality is required by economic justice? Carol C. Gould offers an answer to this question by arguing that economic justice requires that workers control the production process as well as the distribution process. Such justice would provide the basis of "positive freedom" as self-development without ignoring the importance of the absence of constraints.
Taking racial prejudice as his paradigm, James Rachels explores the deeper meaning of prejudice and what equality of treatment involves. Noting the subtlety of prejudicial reasoning, he examines how stereotypes, unconscious bias, and the human tendency toward rationalization make it difficult even for people of good will to prevent prejudice from influencing their actions.
James P. Sterba invites the reader to consider a different and more general problem of how to persuade people to act for moral reasons. To accomplish this aim he shows morality to be a requirement of rationality and "the welfare liberal ideal" (the right to welfare and the right to equal opportunity) to be a fusion of the practical ends of five ideals—liberty, fairness, common good, androgyny, and equality.
For David L. Norton, one of our most pressing problems is the failure of our educational system. The system fails to enable students to make wise "life-shaping" choices involving vocation, marriage, children, and friendship. In order to make good choices, human beings must live and work in an environment that provides experiences that authenticate "personal truths" indispensable to worthy living. These personal truths include direct acquaintance with vocational alternatives and participation in actual service to others.
Collectively, these essays bring into sharp focus the urgent moral issues confronting our society and the need for ongoing discussion and examination of these issues in order to gain deeper understanding of and possible solutions to the problems they present.
The second volume in applied ethics based on the distinguished Wayne Leys Memorial Lectureship Series.
With guidelines from legal reasoning, Michael D. Bayles examines “Moral Theory and Application.” Abraham Edel questions “Ethics Applied Or Conduct Enlightened?” The late Warner A. Wick shows in “The Good Person and the Good Society: Some Ideals Foolish and Otherwise” that devotion to ideals need not be either fanaticism or foolishness. John Lachs contends that many public gains are purchased at the cost of individuals being manipulated in “Public Benefit, Private Costs.” James E. Childress in “Gift of Life…” considers ethical issues in obtaining and distributing human organs. Carl Wellman in “Terrorism and Moral Rights” argues that there can be no “rights-based justification” for anti-abortion terrorism.
Abortion, euthanasia, racism, sexism, paternalism, the rights of children, the population explosion, and the dynamics of economic growth are examined in the light of ethical principles by leading philosophers in order to suggest reasonable judgments.
Originally prepared for the distinguished Wayne Leys Memorial Lecture Series at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, the essayists have addressed themselves to the most pressing ethical questions being asked today. William K. Frankena, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, in “The Ethics of Respect for Life” argues for a qualified view of moral respect for human personality. From his viewpoint it is always prima facie wrong to shorten or prevent human life, but not always actually wrong as other moral conditions may counter the presumed wrong. The late William T. Blackstone in “Zero Population Growth and Zero Economic Growth” contends that justice will require the production of the maximal level of goods to fulfill basic human needs compatible with the avoidance of ecological catastrophe.
Richard Wasserstrom, Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, proposes an assimilationist ideal in “Racism, Sexism, and Preferential Treatment.” Gerald Dworkin, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle, dares to ask “Is More Choice Better than Less?” Joel Feinberg, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, in “The Child’s Right to an Open Future,” offers a defense of “rights-in-trust” of children. Tom L. Beauchamp, Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute-Center for Bioethics of Georgetown University, considers the paternalism used to justify social policies in the practice of medicine and insists that it invariably involves a conflict between the ethical principles of beneficence and autonomy.
The republication of We Hold These Truths is but one indication of the continuing importance of the thought of John Courtney Murray for the Catholic Church in the United States. More than any other American theologian in this century, Fr. Murray developed a new understanding of the healthy relationship between religion and politics, church and state, in a democratic context.
Until now, however, the evolution of Murray's own thought in these matters has not been fully understood. Beginning with Murray's first forays into the public arena in the 1940s, Leon Hooper carefully plots Murray's movement away from the classical concepts of conscience and rights toward a more historical understanding of moral agency and of the church's necessary engagement with a pluralistic world.
Along the way, Fr. Hooper reveals in detail for the first time the importance of Bernard Lonergan's thought in moving Murray toward and then beyond his vital contribution to Vatican II's Declaration on Religious Liberty.
Available in English for the first time, this much-anticipated translation of Enrique Dussel's Ethics of Liberation marks a milestone in ethical discourse. Dussel is one of the world's foremost philosophers. This treatise, originally published in 1998, is his masterwork and a cornerstone of the philosophy of liberation, which he helped to found and develop.
Throughout his career, Dussel has sought to open a space for articulating new possibilities for humanity out of, and in light of, the suffering, dignity, and creative drive of those who have been excluded from Western Modernity and neoliberal rationalism. Grounded in engagement with the oppressed, his thinking has figured prominently in philosophy, political theory, and liberation movements around the world.
In Ethics of Liberation, Dussel provides a comprehensive world history of ethics, demonstrating that our most fundamental moral and ethical traditions did not emerge in ancient Greece and develop through modern European and North American thought. The obscured and ignored origins of Modernity lie outside the Western tradition. Ethics of Liberation is a monumental rethinking of the history, origins, and aims of ethics. It is a critical reorientation of ethical theory.
The eyes of the country frequently turned to Chicago during the 1890s as the Windy City struggled with the promises and challenges of urban democracy. Americans of all classes feared the social dislocations and economic divisions of urbanization and industrialization, and the effects of political corruption and massive immigration on democratic politics. Yet many reformers were hopeful that new forms of social knowledge and urban reform could reinvigorate democracy. They saw the moment as one of great possibility.
A Fatal Drifting Apart: Democratic Social Knowledge and Chicago Reform explores the efforts of diverse groups within Chicago during the Progressive Era. This backdrop of industrialization, emerging classes, and ethnic and racial pluralism frequently riven with class conflict set the stage on which Chicago reformers took up the seemingly impossible challenge of enacting democracy. Laura M. Westhoff examines historic events and well-known individuals of the period and brings them together in an unusual framework that offers a new perspective on the reorientation of knowledge, civic identity, and democratic culture at the dawn of the twentieth century, which she terms democratic social knowledge. The book raises important questions that continue to resonate: In a democracy, who has the power to define social problems and offer solutions, and whose experience and knowledge are seen as legitimate?
William Sloane Coffin offers here a powerful antidote to the politics of the religious right with a clarion call to passive intellectuals and dispirited liberals to reenter the fray with an unabashedly Christian view of social justice. Refusing to cede the battlefield of morality to conservatives, he argues that “compassion demands confrontation,” as he considers such topics as homophobia, diversity, nuclear weapons, and civil discourse. Coffin became famous while chaplain at Yale in the 1960s for his active opposition to the Vietnam War. Jailed as a civil rights “Freedom Rider,” indicted by the government in the Benjamin Spock conspiracy trial, he attained popular immortality as Reverend Sloan in the Doonesbury comic strip. The seven pieces collected here are peppered with memorable aphorisms and pithy, political one-liners meant to turn bitterness to anger and anger to action.
Much like the rest of the country, American Catholics are politically divided, perhaps more so now than at any point in their history. In this learned but accessible work for scholars, students, and religious and lay readers, ethicist Julie Hanlon Rubio suggests that there is a way beyond red versus blue for orthodox and progressive Catholics. In a call for believers on both sides of the liberal-conservative divide to put aside labels and rhetoric, Rubio, a leading scholar in marriage and family for more than twenty years, demonstrates that common ground does exist in the local sphere between the personal and the political.
In Hope for Common Ground, Rubio draws on Catholic Social Thought to explore ways to bring Catholics together. Despite their differences, Catholics across the political spectrum can share responsibility for social sin and work within communities to contribute to social progress. Rubio expands this common space into in-depth discussions on family fragility, poverty, abortion, and end-of-life care. These four issues, though divisive, are part of a seamless worldview that holds all human life as sacred. Rubio argues that if those on different sides focus on what can be done to solve social problems in “the space between” or local communities, opposing sides will see they are not so far apart as they think. The common ground thus created can then lead to far-reaching progress on even the most divisive issues—and help quiet the discord tearing apart the Church.
In Jane Addams’s Evolutionary Theorizing, Marilyn Fischer advances the bold and original claim that Addams’s reasoning in her first book, Democracy and Social Ethics, is thoroughly evolutionary. While Democracy and Social Ethics, a foundational text of classical American pragmatism, is praised for advancing a sensitive and sophisticated method of ethical deliberation, Fischer is the first to explore its intellectual roots.
Examining essays Addams wrote in the 1890s and showing how they were revised for Democracy and Social Ethics, Fischer draws from philosophy, history, literature, rhetoric, and more to uncover the array of social evolutionary thought Addams engaged with in her texts—from British socialist writings on the evolution of democracy to British and German anthropological accounts of the evolution of morality. By excavating Addams’s evolutionary reasoning and rhetorical strategies, Fischer reveals the depth, subtlety, and richness of Addams’s thought.
In Lectures on Ethics, 1900–1901,Donald F. Koch supplies the only extant complete transcription of the annual three-course sequence on ethics John Dewey gave at the University of Chicago.
In his introduction Koch argues that these lectures offer the best systematic, overall introduction to Dewey’s approach to moral philosophy and are the only account showing the unity of his views in nearly all phases of ethical inquiry. These lectures are the only work by Dewey to set forth a complete theory of moral language. They offer a clear illustration of the central methodological questions in the development of a pragmatic instrumentalist ethic and the actual working out of the instrumentalist approach as distinct from simply presenting it as a conclusion.
In this classic text, the first full-scale application of cognitive science to politics, George Lakoff analyzes the unconscious and rhetorical worldviews of liberals and conservatives, discovering radically different but remarkably consistent conceptions of morality on both the left and right. For this new edition, Lakoff adds a preface and an afterword extending his observations to major ideological conflicts since the book's original publication, from the impeachment of Bill Clinton to the 2000 presidential election and its aftermath.
When Moral Politics was first published two decades ago, it redefined how Americans think and talk about politics through the lens of cognitive political psychology. Today, George Lakoff’s classic text has become all the more relevant, as liberals and conservatives have come to hold even more vigorously opposed views of the world, with the underlying assumptions of their respective worldviews at the level of basic morality. Even more so than when Lakoff wrote, liberals and conservatives simply have very different, deeply held beliefs about what is right and wrong.
Lakoff reveals radically different but remarkably consistent conceptions of morality on both the left and right. Moral worldviews, like most deep ways of understanding the world, are unconscious—part of our “hard-wired” brain circuitry. When confronted with facts that don’t fit our moral worldview, our brains work automatically and unconsciously to ignore or reject these facts, and it takes extraordinary openness and awareness of this phenomenon to pay critical attention to the vast number of facts we are presented with each day. For this new edition, Lakoff has added a new preface and afterword, extending his observations to major ideological conflicts since the book's original publication, from the Affordable Care Act to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent financial crisis, and the effects of global warming. One might have hoped such massive changes would bring people together, but the reverse has actually happened; the divide between liberals and conservatives has become stronger and more virulent.
To have any hope of bringing mutual respect to the current social and political divide, we need to clearly understand the problem and make it part of our contemporary public discourse. Moral Politics offers a much-needed wake-up call to both the left and the right.
Moral Politics takes a fresh look at how we think and talk about political and moral ideas. George Lakoff analyzed recent political discussion to find that the family—especially the ideal family—is the most powerful metaphor in politics today. Revealing how family-based moral values determine views on diverse issues as crime, gun control, taxation, social programs, and the environment, George Lakoff looks at how conservatives and liberals link morality to politics through the concept of family and how these ideals diverge. Arguing that conservatives have exploited the connection between morality, the family, and politics, while liberals have failed to recognized it, Lakoff explains why conservative moral position has not been effectively challenged. A wake up call to political pundits on both the left and the right, this work redefines how Americans think and talk about politics.
Since the time of Adam Smith, scholars have tried to understand the role moral sentiments play in modern life, an issue that became especially urgent during and after the 2008 global financial crisis. Previous explanations have ranged from the idea that modern society is built on moral values to the notion that modernization results in moral decay. The essays in this interdisciplinary volume use the example of Dutch society and a wealth of empirical data to propose a novel theory about the ambivalent relation between contemporary life and human nature. In the process, the contributors argue for the need to reject simplistic explanations and reinvent civil society.
Morality & Imagination
Yi-Fu Tuan University of Wisconsin Press, 1989 Library of Congress BJ1031.T77 1989 | Dewey Decimal 170
Can the individual and society be both moral and imaginative? In Western society the moral person tends to be regarded as either simple and naive or narrow and bigoted. In contrast, the imaginative person is looked on as someone not bound by the customs of the group and therefore likely to be fanciful and out of touch with reality.
This provocative, lucidly written reconstruction of utilitarianism focuses on the practical constraints involved in ethical choice: information may be inadequate, and understanding of causes and effects may be limited. Good decision making may be especially constrained if other people are closely involved in determining an outcome. Hardin demonstrates that many of these structural issues can and should be distinguished from the thornier problems of utilitarian value theory, and he is able to show what kinds of moral conclusions we can reach within the limits of reason.
Nihilism and Negritude
Célestin Monga Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress DT14.M6513 2016 | Dewey Decimal 967.033
In a searching meditation on ways of living in modern Africa, Célestin Monga dispels the stereotypes that cloud how outsiders view the continent, and how Africans sometimes view themselves. He shows how dance, music, bodily experience, faith, and mourning reflect a nihilism that finds meaning and joy in a life that would otherwise seem absurd.
Modern psychological and political theory meet head-on in this powerful re-evaluation of America's contradictory and sometimes dangerous addiction to individualism. Best-selling author Gaylin and co-author Jennings investigate the contentious intersections of interdependence and autonomy, rights and public responsibility. They examine the painful abrasion occurring between America's tradition of personal freedom and privacy, as it rubs against the still valuable if almost vanishing ideals of sacrifice and social order.
Our current culture of autonomy—championed by both liberals on the left and libertarians on the right—is based on the idea of rationality as the motivation for human conduct. But, as the authors remind us, people are not simply rational creatures—appeals to emotions are always far more effective than logical argument in changing our behavior.
This timely edition includes a new preface; updated examples and illustrations throughout; and new coverage of contemporary social critics and their work since the publication of the first edition. Two essential new chapters, one on the movement to forgo life-sustaining treatment and the other on physician-assisted suicide, particularly clarify the authors' arguments. Drawing on these and numerous other illustrations—with significant emphasis on the state of American health care—Gaylin and Jennings demonstrate that society has not just the right but the duty to occasionally invoke fear, shame, and guilt in order to motivate humane behavior.
As cases of AIDS are once again on the upswing, as the dangerously mentally ill are allowed to wander free and untreated, as starvation and poverty still hold too many in its grip in the richest nation on the planet, this controversial book, considerably revised and expanded, is needed more than ever. If we are to indeed preserve and nurture a genuinely free—and liberal—society, the authors suggest that these "coercions" may be essential for the health and the maturity of a nation where we all too often avert our eyes, not seeing that our neighbor is in pain or trouble and needs our help.
One of the leading thinkers to emerge in the postwar conservative intellectual revival was the sociologist Robert Nisbet. His book The Quest for Community, published in 1953, stands as one of the most persuasive accounts of the dilemmas confronting modern society.
Nearly a half century before Robert Putnam documented the atomization of society in Bowling Alone, Nisbet argued that the rise of the powerful modern state had eroded the sources of community—the family, the neighborhood, the church, the guild. Alienation and loneliness inevitably resulted. But as the traditional ties that bind fell away, the human impulse toward community led people to turn even more to the government itself, allowing statism—even totalitarianism—to flourish.
ISI Books is proud to present this new edition of Nisbet’s magnum opus, featuring a brilliant introduction by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat and three critical essays. Published at a time when our communal life has only grown weaker and when many Americans display cultish enthusiasm for a charismatic president, this new edition of The Quest for Community shows that Nisbet’s insights are as relevant today as ever.
With the urbanization of eighteenth-century English society, moral philosophers became preoccupied with the difference between individual and crowd behavior. In so doing, they set the stage for a form of political thought divorced from traditional moral reflection. In Regulating Confusion Thomas Reinert places Samuel Johnson in the context of this development and investigates Johnson’s relation to an emerging modernity. Ambivalent about the disruption, confusion, perplexity, and boundless variety apparent in the London of his day, Johnson was committed to the conventions of moral reflection but also troubled by the pressure to adopt the perspective of the crowd and the language of social theory. Regulating Confusion explores the consequences of his ambivalence and his attempt to order the chaos. It discusses his critique of moral generalizations, concept of moral reflection as a symbolic gesture, and account of what happens to the notion of character when individuals, having lost the support of moral convention, become faces in a crowd. Reflecting generally on the relationship between skepticism and political ideology, Reinert also discusses Johnson’s political skepticism and the forms of speculation and action it authorized. Challenging prevalent psychologizing and humanistic interpretations, Regulating Confusion leaves behind the re-emergent view of Johnson as a reactionary ideologue and presents him in a theoretically sophisticated context. It offers his style of skepticism as a model of poise in the face of confusion about the nature of political truth and personal responsibility and demonstrates his value as a resource for students of culture struggling with contemporary debates about the relationship between literature and politics.
Larry May University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress BJ1451.M36 1992 | Dewey Decimal 170
Are individuals responsible for the consequences of actions taken by their community? What about their community's inaction or its attitudes? In this innovative book, Larry May departs from the traditional Western view that moral responsibility is limited to the consequences of overt individual action. Drawing on the insights of Arendt, Jaspers, and Sartre, he argues that even when individuals are not direct participants, they share responsibility for various harms perpetrated by their communities.
Enron, Haliburton, ExxonValdez, "shock and awe"-their mere mention brings forth images of scandal, collusion, fraud, and human and environmental destruction. While great power and great crimes have always been linked, media exposure in recent decades has brought increased attention to the devious exploits of economic and political elites.
Despite growing attention to crimes by those in positions of trust, however, violations in business and similar wrongdoing in government are still often treated as fundamentally separate problems. In State-Corporate Crime, Raymond J. Michalowski and Ronald C. Kramer bring together fifteen essays to show that those in positions of political and economic power frequently operate in collaboration, and are often all too willing to sacrifice the well-being of the many for the private profit and political advantage of the few.
Drawing on case studies including the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, Ford Explorer rollovers, the crash of Valujet flight 592, nuclear weapons production, and war profiteering, the essays bear frank witness to those who have suffered, those who have died, and those who have contributed to the greatest human and environmental devastations of our time. This book is a much needed reminder that the most serious threats to public health, security, and safety are not those petty crimes that appear nightly on local news broadcasts, but rather are those that result from corruption among the wealthiest and most powerful members of society.
"Toward Better Problems is a work of considerable merit.... [Weston] is effective in showing how the 'theoretical' approach obscures the real values at issue and hinders their realization."
--James Gouinlock, Emory University
In Toward Better Problems, Anthony Weston develops a pragmatic approach to the pressing moral issues of our time. Weston seeks to address practical problems in the spirit of John Dewey: that is, by focusing on specific human concerns and multiple, overlapping values rather than on abstract philosophical principles. Weston showcases his method in sustained discussion of four highly controversial areas: abortion, animal rights, environmentalism, and justice.
Weston takes up uncomfortable issues, such as how we raise food animals; test medicines, cosmetics, and chemicals on animals; and justify speciesism. He engages philosophically the treatment of land and seas as limitless garbage dumps, the creation of radioactive wastes and their disposal, and fundamental problems of social justice. But Weston's aim is not to "solve" such problems as if they were some kind of puzzle. The aim instead is to creatively transform such problematic situations into something more promising and tractable, thereby leaving us with "better problems."
Since the turn of the millennium South Korea has continued to grapple with transgressions that shook the nation to its core. Following the serial killings of Korea’s raincoat killer, the events that led to the dissolution of the United Progressive Party, the criminal negligence of the owner and also the crew members of the sunken Sewol Ferry, as well as the political scandals of 2016, there has been much public debate about morality, transparency, and the law in South Korea. Yet, despite its prevalence in public discourse, transgression in Korea has not received proper scholarly attention.
Transgression in Korea challenges the popular conceptions of transgression as resistance to authority, the collapse of morality, and an attempt at self- empowerment. Examples of transgression from premodern, modern, and contemporary Korea are examined side by side to underscore the possibility of reading transgression in more ways than one. These examples are taken from a devotional screen from medieval Korea, trickster tales from the late Choson period, reports about flesheating humans, newspaper articles about same- sex relationships from colonial Korea, and films about extramarital affairs, wayward youths, and a vengeful vigilante. Bringing together specialists from various disciplines such as history, art history, anthropology, premodern
literature, religion, and fi lm studies, the context- sensitive readings of transgression provided in this book suggest that transgression and authority can be seen as forming something other than an antagonistic relationship.
In Unselfishness, Nicholas Rescher criticizes the stance of many contemporary moral philosophers and social theorists-that rationality conflicts with morality, and instead defends the position of historical thinkers who believed that the worth of altruism is irreducible and that its rationalization does not require recourse to prudential self-interest. To support his position, Rescher provides detailed examples, and a theoretical critique of utilitarian morality.
James Hankins challenges the view that the Renaissance was the seedbed of modern republicanism, with Machiavelli as exemplary thinker. What most concerned Renaissance political theorists, Hankins contends, was not reforming laws but shaping citizens. To secure the social good, they fostered virtue through a new program of education: the humanities.