An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Cambridge by Colin Bird

By Colin Bird

Delivering a finished advent to political philosophy, this booklet combines dialogue of historic and modern figures, including a variety of real-life examples. It levels over an surprisingly wide diversity of themes within the box, together with the simply distribution of wealth, either inside nations 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 struggle; and the grounds for toleration in public existence. It additionally bargains an obtainable, non-technical dialogue of perfectionism, utilitarianism, theories of the social agreement, and of lately well known types of severe conception. all through, the ebook demanding situations readers to imagine significantly approximately political arguments and associations that they may another way take without any consideration. it will likely be a provocative textual content for any pupil of philosophy or political technology.

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

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Interests in achieving knowledge and understanding, and especially in a justified consciousness of our lives as success stories. So Plato contended that we have a hierarchically ordered set of basic interests, and a linked set of human capacities that we can harness to realize them. For Plato, human well-being involves the realization of these interests, and rational action simply consists in the effective deployment of these capacities in pursuit of this goal. But because he thought they have discrete psychological sources in three disparate parts of our psychological constitution, these goals and the available means for pursuing them are complex.

That chapter ends with a critical discussion of some of the problems facing this approach as a whole. Public and private To introduce Plato’s notion of the common good, it is helpful to begin with a view that he rejected. Consider the following extract from a poem 33 34 An Introduction to Political Philosophy by W. H. Auden: There are two atlases: the one The public space where acts are done, In theory common to us all, Where we are needed and feel small, The agora of work and news Where each one has the right to choose His trade, his corner and his way, And can, again, in theory, say For whose protection he will pay, And loyalty is help we give The place where we prefer to live; The other is the inner space Of private ownership, the place That each of us is forced to own, Like his own life from which it’s grown, The landscape of his will and need Where he is sovereign indeed, The state created by his acts Where he patrols the forest tracts Planted in childhood, farms the belt Of doings memorized and felt, And even if he find it hell May neither leave it nor rebel.

We may instead come to regard them as culturally and historically relative artifacts, merely questionbegging ‘‘social constructs’’ that serve to induce compliance with prevailing modes of political organization in different places at different times. Plato’s challenge Though today they often step forward in trendy black turtlenecks and sleek postmodern spectacles, doubts of this kind are actually very ancient. The puzzle of justification In the next three chapters we will consider some of the most influential ways in which political philosophers have tried to overcome them.

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