Inventing the Individual

The Origins of Western Liberalism

Author: Larry Siedentop

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 067474473X

Category: Political Science

Page: 442

View: 9867

Here, in a grand narrative spanning 1,800 years of European history, a distinguished political philosopher firmly rejects Western liberalism’s usual account of itself: its emergence in opposition to religion in the early modern era. Larry Siedentop argues instead that liberal thought is, in its underlying assumptions, the offspring of the Church.
Posted in Political Science

Inventing the Individual

The Origins of Western Liberalism

Author: Larry Siedentop

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674417534

Category: Political Science

Page: 433

View: 1930

Here, in a grand narrative spanning 1,800 years of European history, a distinguished political philosopher firmly rejects Western liberalism’s usual account of itself: its emergence in opposition to religion in the early modern era. Larry Siedentop argues instead that liberal thought is, in its underlying assumptions, the offspring of the Church.
Posted in Political Science

Inventing the Individual

The Origins of Western Liberalism

Author: Larry Siedentop

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 1846147298

Category: History

Page: 448

View: 9637

The new book from Larry Siedentop, acclaimed author of Democracy in Europe, Inventing the Individual is a highly original rethinking of how our moral beliefs were formed and their impact on western society today 'Magisterial, timeless, beautifully written ... Siedentop has achieved something quite extraordinary. He has explained us to ourselves' Spectator This ambitious and stimulating book describes how a moral revolution in the first centuries AD - the discovery of human freedom and its universal potential - led to a social revolution in the west. The invention of a new, equal social role, the individual, gradually displaced the claims of family, tribe and caste as the basis of social organisation. Larry Siedentop asks us to rethink the evolution of the ideas on which modern societies and government are built, and argues that the core of what is now our system of beliefs emerged much earlier than we think. The roots of liberalism - belief in individual liberty, in the fundamental moral equality of individuals, that equality should be the basis of a legal system and that only a representative form of government is fitting for such a society - all these, Siedentop argues, were pioneered by Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages, who drew on the moral revolution carried out by the early church. It was the arguments of canon lawyers, theologians and philosophers from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, rather than the Renaissance, that laid the foundation for liberal democracy. There are large parts of the world where other beliefs flourish - fundamentalist Islam, which denies the equality of women and is often ambiguous about individual rights and representative institutions; quasi-capitalist China, where a form of utilitarianism enshrines state interests even at the expense of justice and liberty. Such beliefs may foster populist forms of democracy. But they are not liberal. In the face of these challenges, Siedentop urges that understanding the origins of our own liberal ideas is more than ever an important part of knowing who we are. LARRY SIEDENTOP was appointed to the first post in intellectual history ever established in Britain, at Sussex University in the 1970's. From there he moved to Oxford, becoming Faculty Lecturer in Political Thought and a Fellow of Keble College. His writings include a study of Tocqueville, an edition of Guizot's History of Civilization in Europe, and Democracy in Europe, which has been translated into a dozen languages. Siedentop was made CBE in 2004. PRAISE FOR THE BOOK 'One of the most stimulating books of political theory to have appeared in many years ... a refreshingly unorthodox account of the roots of modern liberalism in medieval Christian thinking' John Gray, Literary Review 'A brave, brilliant and beautifully written defence of the western tradition' Paul Lay, History Today 'An engrossing book of ideas ... illuminating, beautifully written and rigorously argued' Kenan Malik, Independent 'A most impressive work of philosophical history' Robert Skidelsky
Posted in History

Democracy in Europe

Author: Larry Siedentop

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231123761

Category: History

Page: 253

View: 8294

Why do smokers claim that the first cigarette of the day is the best? What is the biological basis behind some heavy drinkers' belief that the "hair-of-the-dog" method alleviates the effects of a hangover? Why does marijuana seem to affect ones problem-solving capacity? Intoxicating Minds is, in the author's words, "a grand excavation of drug myth." Neither extolling nor condemning drug use, it is a story of scientific and artistic achievement, war and greed, empires and religions, and lessons for the future. Ciaran Regan looks at each class of drugs, describing the historical evolution of their use, explaining how they work within the brain's neurophysiology, and outlining the basic pharmacology of those substances. From a consideration of the effect of stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, and the reasons and consequences of their sudden popularity in the seventeenth century, the book moves to a discussion of more modern stimulants, such as cocaine and ecstasy. In addition, Regan explains how we process memory, the nature of thought disorders, and therapies for treating depression and schizophrenia. Regan then considers psychedelic drugs and their perceived mystical properties and traces the history of placebos to ancient civilizations. Finally, Intoxicating Minds considers the physical consequences of our co-evolution with drugs--how they have altered our very being--and offers a glimpse of the brave new world of drug therapies.
Posted in History

The Evolution of the West

How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values

Author: Nick Spencer

Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press

ISBN: 1611648564

Category: History

Page: 204

View: 7617

What has Christianity ever done for us? A lot more than you might think, as Nick Spencer reveals in this fresh exploration of our cultural origins. Looking at the big ideas that characterize the West, such as human dignity, the rule of law, human rights, science, and even, paradoxically, atheism and secularism,he traces the varied ways in which many of our present values grew up and flourished in distinctively Christian soil. Always alert to the tensions and mess of history, and careful not to overstate or misstate the Christian role in shaping our present values, Spencer shows us how a better awareness of what we owe to Christianity can help us as we face new cultural challenges.
Posted in History

The Making of Modern Liberalism

Author: Alan Ryan

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691148406

Category: Philosophy

Page: 670

View: 1448

"Alan Ryan's magisterial standing in political theory is already well known, but this book--a wonderful array of learned, insightful, historical discussions--puts his mastery beyond doubt. And it is massively more than the sum of its parts. It is just what the title promises: an authoritative, comprehensive, multifaceted, and strikingly intelligent account of the rise of the liberal tradition."--Jeremy Waldron, University of Oxford "These essays are at once a history, a tapestry, and a trenchant defense of liberalism at its best. They have been crafted by one of our generation's most fertile political minds. Alan Ryan's intellectual odyssey is both captivating and compelling."--Ian Shapiro, author of "The Real World of Democratic Theory" "Alan Ryan in this impressive work lights up the vast field of liberalism. He presents an accumulation of beautifully formulated ideas and leaves us with an enhanced knowledge of the depths, complexities, and richness of liberalism. His style is both vigorous and elegant, and his prowess as an interpreter is formidable. This is an invaluable book."--George Kateb, author of "Patriotism and Other Mistakes" "In "The Making of Modern Liberalism," Alan Ryan sheds new light on key thinkers in the Western political tradition and presents his own liberal perspective on political affairs. Ryan's work shines with insight and intelligence. No one can read this book without being provoked to self-reflection, disagreement, and counterargument--precisely what's needed in a great work of political theory."--Glyn Morgan, Syracuse University
Posted in Philosophy

The Theological Origins of Liberalism

Author: Ismail Kurun

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 1498527418

Category: Political Science

Page: 270

View: 1806

This eye-opening book offers a critical survey of the true origins of liberalism. It challenges the widely held belief among social scientists that liberalism was developed in opposition to Christianity. Beginning with the Protestant Reformation, it illustrates how Christian thinkers reinterpreted Christianity and used a set of indemonstrable biblical presuppositions from their reinterpretations to develop the first liberal ideas, starting a process that culminates in the birth of the first liberal political theory in the writings of a devout Christian philosopher, John Locke. It explains how the Protestant Reformation, covenant theology, anti-trinitarianism and medieval Christian natural law theories formed the foundations of liberalism. Thus, the central claim of this book is that liberalism is better understood as a radical reinterpretation of Christianity that emerged in the post-Reformation and early modern period. As a logical consequence of revealing the hitherto generally neglected roots of liberalism, it eventually proposes that a legally pluralist liberal political theory is the best way to maintain human dignity and peace in multi-religious societies of today’s globalized world.
Posted in Political Science

Not by Reason Alone

Religion, History, and Identity in Early Modern Political Thought

Author: Joshua Mitchell

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226532226

Category: Philosophy

Page: 259

View: 5138

Masterfully interweaving political, religious, and historical themes, Not by Reason Alone creates a new interpretation of early modern political thought. Where most accounts assume that modern thought followed a decisive break with Christianity, Joshua Mitchell reveals that the line between the age of faith and that of reason is not quite so clear. Instead, he shows that the ideas of Luther, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau draw on history, rather than reason alone, for a sense of political authority. This erudite and ambitious work crosses disciplinary boundaries to expose unsuspected connections between political theory, religion, and history. In doing so, it offers a view of modern political thought undistorted by conventional distinctions between the ancient and the modern, and between the religious and the political. "Original. . . . A delight to read a political philosopher who takes the theologies of Hobbes and Locke seriously." —J. M. Porter, Canadian Journal of History "Mitchell's argument both illuminates and fascinates. . . . An arresting, even stunning, contribution to our study of modern political thought."—William R. Stevenson, Jr., Christian Scholar's Review
Posted in Philosophy

Against Recognition

Author: Lois McNay

Publisher: Polity

ISBN: 0745629326

Category: Social Science

Page: 232

View: 914

The idea of the struggle for recognition features prominently in the work of various thinkers from Charles Taylor and Jurgen Habermas to Axel Honneth and Nancy Fraser who are concerned with the centrality of issues of identity in modern society. In differing ways, these thinkers use the idea of recognition to develop accounts of the individual which are opposed to the asocial individualism of liberal thought and to the abstraction of much work on the subject. The idea of recognition expresses the notion that individuality is an intersubjective phenomenon formed through pragmatic interactions with others. By highlighting the intersubjective features of individuality, the idea of recognition has both descriptive and normative content and it has important implications for a feminist account of gender identity. In this brilliant and original book, Lois McNay argues that the insights of the recognition theorists are undercut by their reliance on an inadequate account of power. The idea of recognition relies on an account of social relations as extrapolations of a primal dyad of interaction that overlooks the complex ways in which individuality is connected to abstract social structures in contemporary society. Using Bourdieu′s relational sociology, McNay develops an alternative account of individual agency that connects identity to structure. By focussing on issues of gender identity and agency, she opens up new pathways to move beyond the oppositions between material and cultural feminisms.
Posted in Social Science

Liberalism

The Life of an Idea, Second Edition

Author: Edmund Fawcett

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400889677

Category: Political Science

Page: 536

View: 2985

Despite playing a decisive role in shaping the past two hundred years of American and European politics, liberalism is no longer the dominant force it once was. In this expanded and updated edition of what has become a classic history of liberalism, Edmund Fawcett traces its ideals, successes, and failures through the lives and ideas of exemplary thinkers and politicians from the early nineteenth century to today. Significant revisions--including a new conclusion--reflect recent changes affecting the world political order that many see as presenting new and very potent threats to the survival of liberal democracy as we know it. A richly detailed account of a vulnerable but critically important political creed, this book reminds us that to defend liberalism it is vital to understand its character and history.
Posted in Political Science

Liberalisms (Routledge Revivals)

Essays in Political Philosophy

Author: John Gray

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135229821

Category: Philosophy

Page: 274

View: 995

Liberalisms, a work first published in 1989, provides a coherent and comprehensive analytical guide to liberal thinking over the past century and considers the dominance of liberal thought in Anglo-American political philosophy over the past 20 years. John Gray assesses the work of all the major liberal political philosophers including J. S. Mill, Herbert Spencer, Karl Popper, F. A Hayek, John Rawls and Robert Nozick, and explores their mutual connections and differences.
Posted in Philosophy

The Invention of Humanity

Equality and Cultural Difference in World History

Author: Siep Stuurman

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674977513

Category: History

Page: 672

View: 5617

For much of history, strangers were seen as barbarians, seldom as fellow human beings. The notion of common humanity had to be invented. Drawing on global thinkers, Siep Stuurman traces ideas of equality and difference across continents and civilizations, from antiquity to present-day debates about human rights and the “clash of civilizations.”
Posted in History

Christian Human Rights

Author: Samuel Moyn

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 0812292774

Category: Political Science

Page: 264

View: 6626

In Christian Human Rights, Samuel Moyn asserts that the rise of human rights after World War II was prefigured and inspired by a defense of the dignity of the human person that first arose in Christian churches and religious thought in the years just prior to the outbreak of the war. The Roman Catholic Church and transatlantic Protestant circles dominated the public discussion of the new principles in what became the last European golden age for the Christian faith. At the same time, West European governments after World War II, particularly in the ascendant Christian Democratic parties, became more tolerant of public expressions of religious piety. Human rights rose to public prominence in the space opened up by these dual developments of the early Cold War. Moyn argues that human dignity became central to Christian political discourse as early as 1937. Pius XII's wartime Christmas addresses announced the basic idea of universal human rights as a principle of world, and not merely state, order. By focusing on the 1930s and 1940s, Moyn demonstrates how the language of human rights was separated from the secular heritage of the French Revolution and put to use by postwar democracies governed by Christian parties, which reinvented them to impose moral constraints on individuals, support conservative family structures, and preserve existing social hierarchies. The book ends with a provocative chapter that traces contemporary European struggles to assimilate Muslim immigrants to the continent's legacy of Christian human rights.
Posted in Political Science

The System of Liberty

Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism

Author: George H. Smith

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 110735479X

Category: Political Science

Page: N.A

View: 2962

Liberal individualism, or 'classical liberalism' as it is often called, refers to a political philosophy in which liberty plays the central role. This book demonstrates a conceptual unity within the manifestations of classical liberalism by tracing the history of several interrelated and reinforcing themes. Concepts such as order, justice, rights and freedom have imparted unity to this diverse political ideology by integrating context and meaning. However, they have also sparked conflict, as classical liberals split on a number of issues, such as legitimate exceptions to the 'presumption of liberty', the meaning of 'the public good', natural rights versus utilitarianism, the role of the state in education, and the rights of resistance and revolution. This book explores these conflicts and their implications for contemporary liberal and libertarian thought.
Posted in Political Science

Natural Law and Justice

Author: Lloyd L. Weinreb

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674604261

Category: Law

Page: 320

View: 9995

"Human beings are a part of nature and apart from it." The argument of Natural Law and Justice is that the philosophy of natural law and contemporary theories about the nature of justice are both efforts to make sense of the fundamental paradox of human experience: individual freedom and responsibility in a causally determined universe. Professor Weinreb restores the original understanding of natural law as a philosophy about the place of humankind in nature. He traces the natural law tradition from its origins in Greek speculation through its classic Christian statement by Thomas Aquinas. He goes on to show how the social contract theorists adapted the idea of natural law to provide for political obligation in civil society and how the idea was transformed in Kant's account of human freedom. He brings the historical narrative down to the present with a discussion of the contemporary debate between natural law and legal positivism, including particularly the natural law theories of Finnis, Richards, and Dworkin. Professor Weinreb then adopts the approach of modern political philosophy to develop the idea of justice as a union of the distinct ideas of desert and entitlement. He shows liberty and equality to be the political analogues of desert and entitlement and both pairs to be the normative equivalents of freedom and cause. In this part of the book, Weinreb considers the theories of justice of Rawls and Nozick as well as the communitarian theory of Maclntyre and Sandel. The conclusion brings the debates about natural law and justice together, as parallel efforts to understand the human condition. This original contribution to legal philosophy will be especially appreciated by scholars, teachers, and students in the fields of political philosophy, legal philosophy, and the law generally.
Posted in Law

The Tyranny of the Moderns

Author: Nadia Urbinati

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300189958

Category: Political Science

Page: 224

View: 4858

In a well-reasoned and thought-provoking polemic, respected political theorist Nadia Urbinati explores a profound shift in the ideology of individualism, from the ethical nineteenth-century standard, in which each person cooperates with others as equals for the betterment of their lives and the community, to the contemporary “I don’t give a damn” maxim. Identifying this “tyranny of the moderns” as the most radical risk that modern democracy currently faces, the author examines the critical necessity of reestablishing the role of the individual citizen as a free and equal agent of democratic society.
Posted in Political Science

The Great Debate

Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left

Author: Yuval Levin

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465040942

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 5692

For more than two centuries, our political life has been divided between a party of progress and a party of conservation. In The Great Debate, Yuval Levin explores the origins of the left/right divide in America by examining the views of the men who best represent each side of that debate: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. In a groundbreaking exploration of the roots of our political order, Levin shows that American partisanship originated in the debates over the French Revolution, fueled by the fiery rhetoric of these ideological titans. Levin masterfully shows how Burke and Paine’s differing views continue to shape our current political discourse—on issues ranging from gun control and abortion to welfare and economic reform. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Washington’s often acrimonious rifts, The Great Debate offers a profound examination of what conservatism, liberalism, and the debate between them truly amount to.
Posted in History

The Invention of the Jewish People

Author: Shlomo Sand,Yael Lotan

Publisher: Verso

ISBN: 1844676234

Category: History

Page: 344

View: 1611

"Anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East should read this book." Tony Judt --
Posted in History

Reinventing Liberal Christianity

Author: Theo Hobson

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

ISBN: 0802868401

Category: Religion

Page: 304

View: 6069

In past years liberal Christianity challenged centuries of authoritarian tradition and had great political influence. Today it is widely dismissed as a watering-down of the faith, and more conservative forms of Christianity are increasingly dominant. Can the liberal Christian tradition recover its influence? Hobson argues that a simple revival is not possible, because liberal Christianity consists of two traditions. He aims to transform liberal Christianity through the rediscovery of faith and ritual.
Posted in Religion

The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance (New Edition)

Author: Anthony Gottlieb

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393354229

Category: Philosophy

Page: 512

View: 6103

"His book...supplant[s] all others, even the immensely successful History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell."—A. C. Grayling Already a classic, this landmark study of early Western thought now appears in a new edition with expanded coverage of the Middle Ages. This landmark study of Western thought takes a fresh look at the writings of the great thinkers of classic philosophy and questions many pieces of conventional wisdom. The book invites comparison with Bertrand Russell's monumental History of Western Philosophy, "but Gottlieb's book is less idiosyncratic and based on more recent scholarship" (Colin McGinn, Los Angeles Times). A New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best Book, and a Times Literary Supplement Best Book of 2001.
Posted in Philosophy