An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Cambridge - download pdf or read online

By Colin Bird

ISBN-10: 0521544823

ISBN-13: 9780521544825

Delivering a accomplished advent to political philosophy, this booklet combines dialogue of ancient and modern figures, including a variety of real-life examples. It levels over an strangely wide diversity of issues within the box, together with the simply distribution of wealth, either inside international locations and globally; the character and justification of political authority; the which means and importance of freedom; arguments for and opposed to democratic rule; the matter of warfare; and the grounds for toleration in public lifestyles. It additionally deals an obtainable, non-technical dialogue of perfectionism, utilitarianism, theories of the social agreement, and of lately well known kinds of serious concept. all through, the publication demanding situations readers to imagine seriously approximately political arguments and associations that they may another way take with no consideration. it will likely be a provocative textual content for any pupil of philosophy or political technology.

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Extra resources for An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy)

Sample text

The story I have told about Pacifica and Atlantis is of course fictional and stylized. Still, it is built up from raw materials that we can easily recognize. In particular, it is important to emphasize the similarity between the Western liberal democracies in which we live and the fictional society of Atlantis. ’’ And, as at Atlantis, these broadly ‘‘liberal’’ doctrines are not for us mere empty abstractions: they are woven into the routine practices of our public life. In our societies, ‘‘equality before the law,’’ ‘‘freedom of speech,’’ ‘‘respect for the dignity of all,’’ ‘‘one person, one vote,’’ are not merely theoretical slogans but actively enforced social practices that many believe they have reasons to value and support.

Thus many political philosophers writing today openly declare their allegiance to ‘‘liberalism’’ and to its organizing assumptions about justice. They then inquire into the question of whether or not endorsing these background assumptions commits one to such specific practices as affirmative action, redistributive taxation, the public provision of healthcare, same-sex marriage, overseas aid, the legal enforcement of moral standards, civil disobedience, and so forth. Understood in this way, the political philosopher’s major concern is with a particular kind of coherence À the consistency of specific political arrangements and policies with background principles that are generally professed by participants in a common culture.

Recognition and evaluation When we make judgments about the justness of some social arrangement, that is, there seem to be two elements in play. There is, first, an element of recognition or accreditation: a person who judges Atlantis to be a just (or unjust) polity recognizes that certain of Atlantis’s actual procedures, practices, and characteristics satisfy (or violate) relevant desiderata. The puzzle of justification Part of what we seem to do in judging a society as just, then, is to hold that it meets certain standards or expectations.

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