Key features include:
* reading notes
* guides for further reading
The book introduces and assesses: Machiavelli's Prince; Hobbes' Leviathan; Locke's Second Treatise on Government; Rousseau's Social Contract; Marx and Engels' German Ideology (Part 1); Mill's On Liberty and The Subjection of Women. Reading Political Philosophy requires no previous knowledge of philosophy or politics and is ideal for newcomers to political philosophy and political thought.
As a theorist whose trademark is a compelling argument for absolute sovereignty, Hobbes may seem initially to have little to offer twenty-first-century feminist thought. Yet, as the contributors to this collection demonstrate, Hobbesian political thought provides fertile ground for feminist inquiry. Indeed, in engaging Hobbes, feminist theory engages with what is perhaps the clearest and most influential articulation of the foundational concepts and ideas associated with modernity: freedom, equality, human nature, authority, consent, coercion, political obligation, and citizenship.
Aside from the editors, the contributors are Joanne Boucher, Karen Detlefsen, Karen Green, Wendy Gunther-Canada, Jane S. Jaquette, S. A. Lloyd, Su Fang Ng, Carole Pateman, Gordon Schochet, Quentin Skinner, and Susanne Sreedhar.
Arthur M. Melzer adopts this approach in The Natural Goodness of Man. The first two parts of the book restore the original, revolutionary significance of this now time-worn principle and examine the arguments Rousseau offers in proof of it. The final section unfolds and explains Rousseau’s programmatic thought, especially the Social Contract, as a precise solution to the human problem as redefined by the principle of natural goodness.
The result is a systematic reconstruction of Rousseau’s philosophy that discloses with unparalleled clarity both the complex weave of his argument and the majestic unity of his vision. Melzer persuasively resolves one after another of the famous Rousseauian paradoxes–enlarging, in the process, our understanding of modern philosophy and politics. Engagingly and lucidly written, The Natural Goodness of Man will be of interest to general as well as scholarly readers.
The book shows that Mill, regarded as a seminal writer in the liberal tradition, critiques liberalism’s weaknesses with a forcefulness usually associated with its well-known critics. Devigne explores Mill’s writings to demonstrate how his thought has been misconstrued--as well as oversimplified--to the detriment of our understanding of liberalism itself.
Okin opens by arguing that some group rights can, in fact, endanger women. She points, for example, to the French government's giving thousands of male immigrants special permission to bring multiple wives into the country, despite French laws against polygamy and the wives' own bitter opposition to the practice. Okin argues that if we agree that women should not be disadvantaged because of their sex, we should not accept group rights that permit oppressive practices on the grounds that they are fundamental to minority cultures whose existence may otherwise be threatened.
In reply, some respondents reject Okin's position outright, contending that her views are rooted in a moral universalism that is blind to cultural difference. Others quarrel with Okin's focus on gender, or argue that we should be careful about which group rights we permit, but not reject the category of group rights altogether. Okin concludes with a rebuttal, clarifying, adjusting, and extending her original position. These incisive and accessible essays--expanded from their original publication in Boston Review and including four new contributions--are indispensable reading for anyone interested in one of the most contentious social and political issues today.
The diverse contributors, in addition to Okin, are Azizah al-Hibri, Abdullahi An-Na'im, Homi Bhabha, Sander Gilman, Janet Halley, Bonnie Honig, Will Kymlicka, Martha Nussbaum, Bhikhu Parekh, Katha Pollitt, Robert Post, Joseph Raz, Saskia Sassen, Cass Sunstein, and Yael Tamir.