A Political Philosophy in Public Life: Civic Republicanism in Zapatero's Spain

Princeton University Press
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This book examines an unlikely development in modern political philosophy: the adoption by a major national government of the ideas of a living political theorist. When José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero became Spain's opposition leader in 2000, he pledged that if his socialist party won power he would govern Spain in accordance with the principles laid out in Philip Pettit's 1997 book Republicanism, which presented, as an alternative to liberalism and communitarianism, a theory of freedom and government based on the idea of nondomination. When Zapatero was elected President in 2004, he invited Pettit to Spain to give a major speech about his ideas. Zapatero also invited Pettit to monitor Spanish politics and deliver a kind of report card before the next election. Pettit did so, returning to Spain in 2007 to make a presentation in which he gave Zapatero's government a qualified thumbs-up for promoting republican ideals.

In this book, Pettit and José Luis Martí provide the historical background to these unusual events, explain the principles of civic republicanism in accessible terms, present Pettit's report and his response to some of its critics, and include an extensive interview with Zapatero himself. In addition, the authors discuss what is required of a political philosophy if it is to play the sort of public role that civic republicanism has been playing in Spain.

An important account of a rare and remarkable encounter between contemporary political philosophy and real-world politics, this is also a significant work of political philosophy in its own right.

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About the author

Jose Luis Marti is associate professor of law at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Philip Pettit is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University. His books include Republicanism, A Theory of Freedom, and Made with Words (Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 22, 2012
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Pages
216
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ISBN
9781400835058
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Spain & Portugal
History / Modern / 21st Century
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 New York Times Bestseller

A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state

A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, “is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.” 

The twentieth century was defined by the clash between democracy and Fascism, a struggle that created uncertainty about the survival of human freedom and left millions dead. Given the horrors of that experience, one might expect the world to reject the spiritual successors to Hitler and Mussolini should they arise in our era. In Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright draws on her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her distinguished career as a diplomat to question that assumption.

Fascism, as she shows, not only endured through the twentieth century but now presents a more virulent threat to peace and justice than at any time since the end of World War II.  The momentum toward democracy that swept the world when the Berlin Wall fell has gone into reverse.  The United States, which historically championed the free world, is led by a president who exacerbates division and heaps scorn on democratic institutions.  In many countries, economic, technological, and cultural factors are weakening the political center and empowering the extremes of right and left.  Contemporary leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are employing many of the tactics used by Fascists in the 1920s and 30s.

Fascism: A Warning is a book for our times that is relevant to all times.  Written  by someone who has not only studied history but helped to shape it, this call to arms teaches us the lessons we must understand and the questions we must answer if we are to save ourselves from repeating the tragic errors of the past.

Philip Pettit has drawn together here a series of interconnected essays on three subjects to which he has made notable contributions. The first part of the book deals with the rule-following character of thought. The second discusses the many factors to which choice is rationally responsive - and by reference to which choice can be explained - consistently with being under the control of thought. The third examines the implications of this multiple sensitivity for the normative regulation of social affairs. Thus the volume covers a large swathe of territory, ranging from metaphysics to philosophical psychology to the theory of rational regulation. The connections that Pettit makes between these areas are original and illuminating. Each part of the book develops a key theme. The first is that thought succeeds in following rules - and overcomes Wittgenstein's rule-following problem - so far as it is response-dependent; it is a sort of enterprise that is accessible only to creatures like us for whom certain responses are primitive and shared. The second is that while human choice may be sensitive to discursive reasons, as we would expect in a thinking subject, it can at the same time be subject to the control - the virtual control, in the model developed here - of rational self-interest. And the third is that the rational interest of agents in achieving esteem in the eyes of others, and in avoiding disesteem, exercises a virtual form of control that can explain the emergence of norms and various other aspects of social life.
Philip Pettit has drawn together here a series of interconnected essays on three subjects to which he has made notable contributions. The first part of the book deals with the rule-following character of thought. The second discusses the many factors to which choice is rationally responsive - and by reference to which choice can be explained - consistently with being under the control of thought. The third examines the implications of this multiple sensitivity for the normative regulation of social affairs. Thus the volume covers a large swathe of territory, ranging from metaphysics to philosophical psychology to the theory of rational regulation. The connections that Pettit makes between these areas are original and illuminating. Each part of the book develops a key theme. The first is that thought succeeds in following rules - and overcomes Wittgenstein's rule-following problem - so far as it is response-dependent; it is a sort of enterprise that is accessible only to creatures like us for whom certain responses are primitive and shared. The second is that while human choice may be sensitive to discursive reasons, as we would expect in a thinking subject, it can at the same time be subject to the control - the virtual control, in the model developed here - of rational self-interest. And the third is that the rational interest of agents in achieving esteem in the eyes of others, and in avoiding disesteem, exercises a virtual form of control that can explain the emergence of norms and various other aspects of social life.
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