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Political Philosophy in the Twentieth Century
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  • Cited by 6
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Lutz, Mark J. 2018. Living the Theologico-Political Problem: Leo Strauss on the Common Ground of Philosophy and Theology. The European Legacy, p. 1.

    Henderson, Juliet 2018. Post-critical writing praxis as a qualitative researcher. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Vol. 31, Issue. 6, p. 535.

    MacKay, Joseph and LaRoche, Christopher David 2018. Why Is There No Reactionary International Theory?. International Studies Quarterly,

    Baroš, Jiří 2018. The Crisis of Liberal Democracy and the Concept of the Common Good. Studia theologica, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 129.

    Keefe, Rosaleen 2013. Common Sense Rhetorical Theory, Pluralism, and Protestant Natural Law. Journal of Scottish Philosophy, Vol. 11, Issue. 2, p. 213.

    2012. Books Received. Philosophy, Vol. 87, Issue. 02, p. 319.

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Book description

This book demonstrates the rich diversity and depth of political philosophy in the twentieth century. Catherine H. Zuckert has compiled a collection of essays recounting the lives of political theorists, connecting each biography with the theorist's life work and explaining the significance of the contribution to modern political thought. The essays are organized to highlight the major political alternatives and approaches. Beginning with essays on John Dewey, Carl Schmitt and Antonio Gramsci, representing the three main political alternatives - liberal, fascist and communist - at mid-century, the book proceeds to consider the lives and works of émigrés such as Hannah Arendt, Eric Voegelin, and Leo Strauss, who brought a continental perspective to the United States after World War II. The second half of the collection contains essays on recent defenders of liberalism, such as Friedrich Hayek, Isaiah Berlin and John Rawls and liberalism's many critics, including Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas and Alasdair MacIntyre.

Reviews

‘This book provides a valuable alternative perspective on the development of contemporary political philosophy.’

Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement

'This collection of essays provides an overview of the work and lives of eighteen thinkers who made significant contributions to the development of political philosophy in the last century...Zuckert’s volume deserves a wide readership to help us acquire a better sense of the discipline’s past, keeping the post-Rawlsian achievement in perspective.'

Source: Philosophy in Review

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  • 1 - John Dewey: philosophy as theory of education
    pp 19-31
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter gives a deeper analysis of Dewey's philosophy by examining his book Democracy and Education. The purpose of democracy and education is to state the ideas implied in a democratic society and to apply these ideas to the problems of the enterprise of education. Dewey divides the book into four parts. The first part considers education in general as a social need and then in particular as a democratic need, along with the general features of education. The second part treats democratic aims in education and articulates principles of method and subject matter. Part three begins by considering aspects of the curriculum, but is mainly devoted to practical and philosophical impediments to the democratic ideal. The final part concerns the nature of philosophy. It is significant that Dewey begins by treating education in terms of the preservation of social groups.
  • 2 - Carl Schmitt: political theology and the concept of the political
    pp 32-43
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Political Theology, first published in 1922, represents Carl Schmitt's most important initial engagement with the theme that was to preoccupy him for most of his life: that of sovereignty, that is, of the locus and nature of the agency that constitutes a political system. Die Diktatur is a theory of dictatorship; Political Theology, however, is a theory of sovereignty and an attempt to locate the state of emergency in a theory of sovereignty. More importantly, Political Theology discusses that which for Schmitt underlies the commissarial and sovereign dictatorship and makes both of them possible. Schmitt's insistence on the necessarily and irreducibly human quality of political and legal actions is a key. Those who would elaborate a set of rules by which decisions can be made take the politics out of human life; Schmitt is concerned to keep them in human life.
  • 3 - Antonio Gramsci: liberation begins with critical thinking
    pp 44-58
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Within communist and socialist circles, Gramsci's systematic attack on positivism and economism caused deep consternation among the strict adherents and staunch defenders of Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy; at the same time, it encouraged and inspired those who were eager to break away from a dogmatic legacy that had become unbearable during the Stalinist ascendancy. Gramsci's deep interest in philosophy stemmed from his conviction that a political movement cannot succeed unless the worldview that animates it is not only disseminated among the people but is also understood and consciously embraced by them. In Gramsci's formulation, the distinctive character of the philosophy of praxis resides in its attentiveness to specificity, particularity, multiplicity, and difference. Another aspect of Gramsci's thought that has come into sharper relief over the past decade is his treatment of the historical and political status of subaltern social groups.
  • 4 - Philosophy as a way of life: the case of Leo Strauss
    pp 61-79
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter presents the case of Leo Strauss, a philosopher who ceaselessly homed in on and devoted his work to philosophy. In Philosophy as a way of life the French classicist Pierre Hadot argues that the ancient philosophical sects, which include Platonists, Stoics, Epicureans, all understood philosophy first and foremost as a spiritual exercise designed to liberate the mind and free their members from the grip of the passions. Philosophy for Strauss is zetetic or, as he puts it, skeptic in the original sense of the term, that is, knowing that one does not know, or knowing the limits of knowledge. More specifically, Strauss was concerned with what the philosophical life is and what value, if any, it confers on the life of the community. His single-minded examination of this question fulfills the offices of philosophy to the highest degree.
  • 5 - The philosopher's vocation: the Voegelinian paradigm
    pp 80-90
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In his personal and scholarly demeanor, Eric Voegelin's stance was overtly and explicitly that of a philosopher and teacher professing truth and resisting corruption. The responsive center of the philosopher's calling lies in the divine-human partnership, understood as participation in the process-structure governing metaxic-reality-experienced with the philosopher cast in the role of representative man. At the conclusion of the lecture on the German university, Voegelin invoked the words of the prophet Ezekiel as fitting therapy for the pneumopathology of consciousness he had diagnosed and sketched in his meditation on the Nazi disorders. Most of Voegelin's major work lay ahead, and twenty years after the abrupt departure from Vienna he returned to Munich, partly motivated by the hope of instilling the spirit of American democracy into Germany and of injecting an element of international consciousness, and of democratic attitudes, into German political science.
  • 6 - Yves R. Simon: a philosopher's quest for science and prudence
    pp 91-107
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Yves R. Simon is sometimes thought to be a rather obscure philosopher, who came somehow, as if it all dropped out of the sky one day, to write a remarkable book on democratic theory. Near the very end of his life, he appeared especially interested in protecting the sphere of practical judgment or prudence from both philosophy and social science. Simon provided some striking formulations that assist his readers in understanding this grand and significant set of relationships and how ultimate science, or metaphysics, can proceed. This chapter sketches Simon's understanding of the nature and object of philosophy, in fact of all science or rational learning. Yves Simon, who had rejected literary approaches to philosophy for system, rigor of demonstration, and assurance, seemed aware all along that the preparation for human action, for prudent human action, required more than the science of philosophy.
  • 7 - Hannah Arendt: from philosophy to politics
    pp 108-126
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Hannah Arendt's vocation as a political thinker was hardly in the cards during her university days. As she later acknowledged, this vocation was in large part a function of events in Germany in 1933 and later. Arendt's clarity about the significance of the Nazi rise to power was in no small part due to discussions she had with the German Zionist leader Kurt Blumenfeld. Of course, Arendt's idea of public freedom has a long and distinguished pedigree in Western political thought, going back to the Greek polis and to the republican city-states of Renaissance Italy. Transcending the context of totalitarian horror that gave birth to it, Arendt's political theory reminds citizens of the contemporary world that the meaning of politics is not power, wealth, or virtue. As she puts it simply in the unfinished Introduction into Politics, the meaning of politics is freedom.
  • 8 - Friedrich Hayek on the nature of social order and law
    pp 129-141
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter explores the connections between Friedrich Hayek's scientific investigations of the nature of social order and law and his various attempts to restate the case for the fundamental values or principles of liberal individualism. A great deal of Hayek's work in social and legal philosophy from the late 1930s through his final work, The Fatal Conceit, can be seen as an expansion and generalization of his contribution during the mid-1930s to the debate about the rationality of central economic planning. Hayek endorses the understanding of Adam Smith that economic order arises out of particular economic agents deploying their personal resources in pursuit of their separate ends and on the basis of their own inventory of knowledge, including their knowledge about others' preferences and likely actions. The law of the designed social order must be an enormous set of different task assignments that individuals are commanded to carry out.
  • 9 - Michael Oakeshott: the philosophical skeptic in an impatient age
    pp 142-153
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Michael Oakeshott was an extraordinary teacher and lecturer, enjoying exchanges with students that faculty half his age could not match. In essays that he wrote on the nature of philosophy and political philosophy in the 1930s and 1940s, Oakeshott insisted on the open-endedness of thought, referring to philosophy as radically subversive questioning that shuns ideology and political advocacy. Oakeshott was skeptical of the pretensions of politics and spoke of politics as a necessary evil. He was at the same time reserved in speaking of transcendence even though he had a lifelong interest in religion. He looked for the poetic in the midst of the quotidian experience. Oakeshott was a radical individualist. Every human being is an essay in self-understanding; every human being thinks and interprets and responds to the world. Oakeshott understands the self-understanding in terms of such beings.
  • 10 - Moral pluralism and liberal democracy: Isaiah Berlin's heterodox liberalism
    pp 154-169
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    When the definitive history of political theory in the twentieth century is written, Isaiah Berlin will take his place as one of the most distinguished representatives of the liberal tradition. In "Two Concepts of Liberty", he distinguished between negative and positive liberty, noncoercion and self-mastery, identifying the former with liberalism and the latter with political doctrines that evolved in antiliberal directions. Berlin's determination to understand cultures and their characteristic thinkers on their own terms has given rise to the suspicion that he was a relativist. He distinguished between pluralism, which he espoused, and relativism, which he repudiated. Similarly, although liberty and decency require an economic minimum, they do not dictate socialism or even social democracy. Turning from method to substance, Berlin's clarification of the differing dimensions of liberty and their practical consequences has often been criticized but never dismissed.
  • 11 - H. L. A. Hart: a twentieth-century Oxford political philosopher
    pp 170-184
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Herbert Hart's significance can be understood only when his work is measured against conceptions of political philosophy that were dominant in Oxford in the years between his postwar return and the publication of The Concept of Law. In Hart's own terminology, the central case of morality understood from the internal point of view is critical, that is, justified, morality. Hart's exclusive focus on positive morality cut the debate off from the main political-philosophic tradition, and from reason. That Hart had a political philosophy at all was an act of conscious resistance to skepticism. Yet the resistance was itself shaped and limited by Hart's own skepticism about something more foundational: the truth-value, and truth, of moral judgments intended as critical because asserted as true, sound, really justified. Hart criticized On Liberty for relying on a presumption of middle-aged psychological caution and stability to justify rejecting paternalism.
  • 12 - John Rawls and the task of political philosophy
    pp 185-197
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    John Rawls spent his professional life developing a conception of justice that was suitable for regulating the basic institutions of a liberal democracy under modern conditions. This chapter provides an accurate picture of Rawls's motivations, drawing on the Theory of Justice and on his Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy for occasional support. Rawls describes the social bases of self-respect as the most important of the primary goods. Rawls thinks we can sustain our commitment to the principles of justice and to bringing about a just society only if we think human nature is not unfriendly to the realization of that society in the world. Just because Rawls produced a work of power and scope within the analytic tradition and identified and addressed so many of the central problems of political philosophy, his work is recognized as being of continuing philosophical interest by those who work in analytic philosophy.
  • 13 - Richard Rorty: liberalism, irony, and social hope
    pp 198-212
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature was extremely successful, attracting a readership not only in philosophy but also across the arts and humanities. Although committed to the Enlightenment, Richard Rorty thinks it important to distinguish between what he regards as its two legacies: the philosophical and the political. By distinguishing between the philosophical and political elements of the Enlightenment, Rorty departs from classical liberalism. Rorty states that a society that has come to accept that justice is its first virtue will become accustomed to the thought that social policy needs no more authority than successful accommodation among individuals, individuals who find themselves heir to the same historical traditions and faced with the same problems. Rorty himself epitomizes the notion of the liberal ironist, ready to reread and revise the thinkers he encounters in order to offer redescriptions of issues in political theory and political life.
  • 14 - Jean-Paul Sartre: ???in the soup???
    pp 215-227
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Jean-Paul Sartre wrote several significant essays dealing with and criticizing colonialism and neocolonialism, the most enduringly famous being no doubt his provocative preface to Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, published in 1961 when the French government was still asserting its sovereignty over Fanon's adopted land of Algeria. Sartre accepted his invitation and wrote a forthright tour dʾhorizon, taking as its initial focus what Continental European philosophers sometimes call "philosophical anthropology": the question, treated by Sartre as a methodological one, of how to understand human behavior in a social context. Seriality is characteristic not only of early human societies, however, but is to be found in many contemporary situations as well: Sartre gives us, for example, some unforgettable descriptions of commuters queuing for a bus; of citizens listening impotently, in millions of homes, to a government-controlled radio station; of the functioning of the stock market; and the like.
  • 15 - Michel Foucault: an ethical politics of care of self and others
    pp 228-237
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Michel Foucault's ethical turn of the early 1980s led him in the direction of a re-conceptualization of politics as an ethical politics. Foucault explored the prospects for self-creation within the ambit of his treatment of ethics, which for him was integral to politics, and its link to the question of freedom. Indeed, one implication of care of self is care of others, of those with whom we share a communal life. Foucault's concern for self and its cultivation is assuredly not solipsistic. The agonistic character of democracy on which Foucault insisted, linked to its parrhesiastic game, the framework within which truth telling functions, opens a path to a politics of care of self and care of others by its constant effort to expand the scope for new modes of subjectivity, by creating the space for the flourishing of a multiplicity of arts of living.
  • 16 - J??rgen Habermas: postwar German political debates and the making of a critical theorist
    pp 238-251
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Jurgen Habermas's crucial early contributions to political theory should be grouped alongside a handful of other influential works from the same historical juncture, each of which was driven by a strikingly parallel interest in salvaging the political and, even more specifically, a vision of political action capable of countering the ominous authoritarian and totalitarian options widely embraced in the twentieth century. Schmitt is a key target not only in Habermas's early political writings but also in his latest discussions of globalization and the prospects of post-national democratization. The systematic attempt in Between Facts and Norms to draw integral links between and among radical democratization, the rule of law, and a reflexive welfare state contains significant remnants of Abendroth's original critical response to post-war German Schmittians who sharply juxtaposed the rule of law to an ambitious model of the welfare state, seeing the latter as necessarily incongruent with the former.
  • 17 - Alasdair MacIntyre on political thinking and the tasks of politics
    pp 252-263
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter traces the evolution of Alasdair MacIntyre's political thinking and outlines the position that he has held since the late 1980s. It offers a brief evaluation of MacIntyre's contribution to political thinking. MacIntyre regards the contemporary nation-state as the embodiment and protector of capitalism, liberalism, and individualism. Its politics is a sham politics, because the processes of voting and elections only appear to allow the electors a free choice of their representatives, a free choice among policies. The most basic categories of MacIntyre's political thinking is embedded in the Aristotelian ethics, the ethics are practices, the goods internal to practices, and the virtues necessary to sustain practices. MacIntyre's political thinking is thus Aristotelian in its focus on the achievement of goods specified by a shared human nature, especially on the achievement of genuinely common human goods.
  • 18 - Another philosopher-citizen: the political philosophy of Charles Taylor
    pp 264-278
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028530.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Anyone familiar with Charles Taylor's political philosophy will readily intuit how applicable his depiction of Habermas is to Taylor himself. Taylor too has been a philosopher-citizen, which, with its allusion to Plato, is the term he coins for Habermas. There is also an intimate connection between Taylor's political practice and his political philosophy. Taylor is a central figure in the debate about the relationship between the human and the natural sciences. Underlining the centrality of intersubjective meanings in politics as Taylor does should not, however, be mistaken for identifying consensus. Dissent and critique are themselves parasitic on the existence of intersubjective meanings in a political culture. Practices lie at the heart of political life for Taylor. Taylor also contends that political theory should focus on practices that are meaning laden and intersubjective and that vary to some degree from society to society.

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