Author: John Milbank
Publisher: Future Perfect: Images of the Time to Come in Philosophy, Politics and Cultural Studies
Release Date: 2016-08-29
Two expert authors combine a compelling critique of contemporary liberalism with post-liberal alternatives in politics, the economy, culture and international affairs, to provide the fullest account so far of the post-liberal alternative in Western politics.
Winston Churchill said of democracy that it was 'the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.' The same could be said of liberalism. While liberalism displays an unfailing optimism with regard to the capacity of human beings to make themselves 'masters and possessors of nature', it displays a profound pessimism when it comes to appreciating their moral capacity to build a decent world for themselves. As Michea shows, the roots of this pessimism lie in the idea - an eminently modern one - that the desire to establish the reign of the Good lies at the origin of all the ills besetting the human race. Liberalism's critique of the 'tyranny of the Good' naturally had its costs. It created a view of modern politics as a purely negative art - that of defining the least bad society possible. It is in this sense that liberalism has to be understood, and understands itself, as the 'politics of lesser evil'. And yet while liberalism set out to be a realism without illusions, today liberalism presents itself as something else. With its celebration of the market among other things, contemporary liberalism has taken over some of the features of its oldest enemy. By unravelling the logic that lies at the heart of the liberal project, Michea is able to shed fresh light on one of the key ideas that have shaped the civilization of the West.
Conventional politics is at a crossroads. Amid recession, depression, poverty, increasing violence and rising inequality, our current politics is exhausted and inadequate. In Red Tory, Phillip Blond argues that only a radical new political settlement can tackle the problems we face.Red Toryism combines economic egalitarianism with social conservatism, calling for an end to the monopolisation of society and the private sphere by the state and the market. Decrying the legacy of both the Labour and Conservative parties, Blond proposes a genuinely progressive Conservatism that will restore social equality and revive British culture. He calls for the strengthening of local communities and economies, ending dispossession, redistribution of the tax burden and restoration the nuclear family.Red Tory offers a different vision for our future and asks us to question our long-held political assumptions. No political thinker has aroused more passionate debate in recent times. Phillip Blond's ideas have already been praised or attacked in every major British newspaper and journal. Challenging, stimulating and exhilarating, this is a book for our times.
From stem cell research to global warming, human cloning, evolution, and beyond, political debates about science in recent years have fallen into the familiar categories of America's culture wars. Imagining the Future explores the meaning of science and technology in American politics today. The science debates, Yuval Levin argues, expose the deepest strengths and greatest weaknesses of both the left and the right, and present serious challenges to American democratic self-government. What do arguments about embryos, climate, or the origins of man reveal about contemporary America? Why do issues involving science seem to divide us along the same fault lines as so many other issues in our political life? Is science morally neutral, or is it an endeavor filled with moral promise - and peril? Are American conservatives really waging war on science? Is the American left justified in calling itself the party of science? Most of the science debates, Levin concludes, are not about particular theories or facts or technologies. Rather, they come down to a profound dispute between liberals and conservatives about the right way to think about the future. Science is only one subject of this broader dispute; but today's science debates can illuminate the contours of our politics and clarify the rift at the heart of our polity.
Author: John Gray
Release Date: 2014-02-04
Genre: Political Science
John Gray has become one of our liveliest and most influential political philosophers. This current volume is a sequel to his Liberalisms: Essays in Political Philosophy. The earlier book ended on a sceptical note, both in respect of what a post-liberal political philosophy might look like, and with respect to the claims of political philosophy itself. John Gray's new book gives post-liberal theory a more definite content. It does so by considering particular thinkers in the history of political thought, by criticizing the conventional wisdom, liberal and socialist, of the Western academic class, and most directly by specifying what remains of value in liberalism. The upshot of this line of thought is that we need not regret the failure of foundationalist liberalism, since we have all we need in the historic inheritance of the institutions of civil society. It is to the practice of liberty that these institutions encompass, rather than to empty liberal theory, that we should repair.
Author: Ronald Beiner
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2010-10-25
Genre: Political Science
Civil Religion offers philosophical commentaries on more than twenty thinkers stretching from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. It examines four important traditions within the history of modern political philosophy. The civil religion tradition, principally defined by Machiavelli, Hobbes and Rousseau, seeks to domesticate religion by putting it solidly in the service of politics. The liberal tradition pursues an alternative strategy of domestication by seeking to put as much distance as possible between religion and politics. Modern theocracy is a militant reaction against liberalism, reversing the relationship of subordination asserted by civil religion. Finally, a fourth tradition is defined by Nietzsche and Heidegger. Aspects of their thought are not just modern, but hyper-modern, yet they manifest an often-hysterical reaction against liberalism that is fundamentally shared with the theocratic tradition. Together, these four traditions compose a vital dialogue that carries us to the heart of political philosophy itself.
Author: James Livingston
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2000-11-09
The rise of corporate capitalism was a cultural revolution as well as an economic event, according to James Livingston. That revolution resides, he argues, in the fundamental reconstruction of selfhood, or subjectivity, that attends the advent of an 'age of surplus' under corporate auspices. From this standpoint, consumer culture represents a transition to a society in which identities as well as incomes are not necessarily derived from the possession of productive labor or property. From the same standpoint, pragmatism and literary naturalism become ways of accommodating the new forms of solidarity and subjectivity enabled by the emergence of corporate capitalism. So conceived, they become ways of articulating alternatives to modern, possessive individualism. Livingston argues accordingly that the flight from pragmatism led by Lewis Mumford was an attempt to refurbish a romantic version of modern, possessive individualism. This attempt still shapes our reading of pragmatism, Livingston claims, and will continue to do so until we understand that William James was not merely a well-meaning middleman between Charles Peirce and John Dewey and that James's pragmatism was both a working model of postmodern subjectivity and a novel critique of capitalism.
Author: Peter Berkowitz
Publisher: Hoover Press
Release Date: 2013-09-01
Genre: Political Science
The contributors reveal how public policy in the United States has weakened the institutions of civil society that play a critical role in forming and sustaining the qualities of mind and character crucial to democratic self-government. The authors show what can be done, consistent with the principles of a free society, to establish a healthier relationship between public policy and character.
Author: Ian Geary
Release Date: 2015-02-28
In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, and the worst recession for over seventy years, Britain has witnessed one of the most turbulent eras in politics since the Second World War. The dominant political and capitalistic system has come under close scrutiny; and the 2008 financial crash has cast serious doubt on the economic and social liberalism of both Thatcherism and Blairism. The Blue Labour movement addresses the fact that neither nationalisation nor privatisation has delivered lasting prosperity or stability. Critiquing the dominance in Britain of a social-cultural liberalism linked to the left and a free-market liberalism associated with the right, Blue Labour blends a 'progressive' commitment to greater economic equality with a more 'conservative' disposition emphasising personal loyalty, family, community and locality. Seeking to move beyond the centrist pragmatism of Blair and Cameron, this essential work speaks to the needs of diverse people and communities across the country. It is the manifesto of a vital new force in politics: one that could define the thinking of the next generation and beyond.
Author: Adrian Pabst
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Release Date: 2012-05-04
"This book does nothing less than to set new standards in combining philosophical with political theology. Pabst s argument about rationality has the potential to change debates in philosophy, politics, and religion." (from the foreword) This comprehensive and detailed study of individuation reveals the theological nature of metaphysics. Adrian Pabst argues that ancient and modern conceptions of "being" or individual substance fail to account for the ontological relations that bind beings to each other and to God, their source. On the basis of a genealogical account of rival theories of creation and individuation from Plato to postmodernism, Pabst proposes that the Christian Neo-Platonic fusion of biblical revelation with Greco-Roman philosophy fulfills and surpasses all other ontologies and conceptions of individuality.
Author: Ronald Beiner
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 1992
Genre: Political Science
In the wake of the revolutions of 1989, the ongoing political turmoil in the Soviet Union, and the democratization of most of Latin America, what is the task of political theorists? Ronald Beiner's invigorating critique of liberal theory and liberal practices takes on the shibboleths of modern Western discourse. He confronts the aridity of liberal societies that possess incommensurable "values" and "rights," but no principles. To Beiner, this neutralist view is both a false description of liberal society and an incoherent political ideal. Rather, he encourages the theorist to remain faithful to the important task of questioning and criticism, instead of serving as a source of ideological reassurance about our own superiority. Beiner looks to the Socratic tradition for guidance. Permitting ethos to replace values, and discourse about "the good" to replace talk about "rights," the theorist is able to reorder social priorities. Considered in this light, the liberal political philosophy of the 1970s and 1980s appears insufficiently Socratic, as does a liberal way of life that presents itself as a model of imitation. Polemical, impassioned, and brilliantly argued, What's the Matter with Liberalism? is essential reading for everyone who cares about contemporary theory and the future of liberal society. In the wake of the revolutions of 1989, the ongoing political turmoil in the Soviet Union, and the democratization of most of Latin America, what is the task of political theorists? Ronald Beiner's invigorating critique of liberal theory and liberal practices takes on the shibboleths of modern Western discourse. He confronts the aridity of liberal societies that possess incommensurable "values" and "rights," but no principles. To Beiner, this neutralist view is both a false description of liberal society and an incoherent political ideal. Rather, he encourages the theorist to remain faithful to the important task of questioning and criticism, instead of serving as a source of ideological reassurance about our own superiority. Beiner looks to the Socratic tradition for guidance. Permitting ethos to replace values, and discourse about "the good" to replace talk about "rights," the theorist is able to reorder social priorities. Considered in this light, the liberal political philosophy of the 1970s and 1980s appears insufficiently Socratic, as does a liberal way of life that presents itself as a model of imitation. Polemical, impassioned, and brilliantly argued, What's the Matter with Liberalism? is essential reading for everyone who cares about contemporary theory and the future of liberal society.
The essays in this collection explore the implications of Alasdair MacIntyre's critique of liberalism, capitalism, and the modern state, his early Marxism, and the complex influences of Marxist ideas on his thought. A central idea is that MacIntyre's political and social theory is a form of revolutionary--not reactionary--Aristotelianism. The contributors aim, in varying degrees, both to engage with the theoretical issues of MacIntyre's critique and to extend and deepen his insights. The book features a new introductory essay by MacIntyre, "How Aristotelianism Can Become Revolutionary," and ends with an essay in which MacIntyre comments on the other authors' contributions. It also includes Kelvin Knight's 1996 essay, "Revolutionary Aristotelianism," which first challenged conservative appropriations of MacIntyre's critique of liberalism by reinterpreting his Aristotelianism through the lens of his earlier engagement with Marx. "This is an excellent collection. Its particular strength is its sustained focus on Alasdair MacIntyre's political thought, in particular MacIntyre's complicated relation and indebtedness to Marxism. In their introduction, the co-editors say that the reception of MacIntyre within political philosophy has largely been reductive and one-sided, namely, that he is simply viewed as a conservative communitarian. In focusing on MacIntyre's radical heritage, this volume helps correct that simplistic misperception. --Keith Breen, Queen's University Belfast
Alasdair MacIntyre explores some central philosophical, political and moral claims of modernity and argues that a proper understanding of human goods requires a rejection of these claims. In a wide-ranging discussion, he considers how normative and evaluative judgments are to be understood, how desire and practical reasoning are to be characterized, what it is to have adequate self-knowledge, and what part narrative plays in our understanding of human lives. He asks, further, what it would be to understand the modern condition from a neo-Aristotelian or Thomistic perspective, and argues that Thomistic Aristotelianism, informed by Marx's insights, provides us with resources for constructing a contemporary politics and ethics which both enable and require us to act against modernity from within modernity. This rich and important book builds on and advances MacIntyre's thinking in ethics and moral philosophy, and will be of great interest to readers in both fields.
Author: Regina Mara Schwartz
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Release Date: 2008-05-30
Sacramental Poetics at the Dawn of Secularism asks what happened when the world was shaken by challenges to the sacred order as people had known it, an order that regulated both their actions and beliefs. When Reformers gave up the doctrine of transubstantiation (even as they held onto revised forms of the Eucharist), they lost a doctrine that infuses all materiality, spirituality, and signification with the presence of God. That presence guaranteed the cleansing of human fault, the establishment of justice, the success of communication, the possibility of union with God and another, and love. These longings were not lost but displaced, Schwartz argues, onto other cultural forms in a movement from ritual to the arts, from the sacrament to the sacramental. Investigating the relationship of the arts to the sacred, Schwartz returns to the primary meaning of "sacramental" as "sign making," noting that because the sign always points beyond itself, it participates in transcendence, and this evocation of transcendence, of mystery, is the work of a sacramental poetics.