In Search of Authority: Twentieth-Century Political Thought

In Search of Authority: Twentieth-Century Political Thought

In Search of Authority: Twentieth-Century Political Thought

In Search of Authority: Twentieth-Century Political Thought

Excerpt

This study intends primarily to illuminate the present state of political philosophy. It does not seek to provide, as textbooks properly do, a pleasing synthesis of available interpretations. It embodies a point of view which, I would hope, is focused, consistent, and comprehensive enough to allow the reader to take issue.

There are various ways of encouraging him to become critical. He might feel moved to disagree with me after being exposed to one of my academic colleagues who, teaching a course surveying modern political thought, offers a different perspective. He might also feel invited to take issue by considering such secondary works (listed in the end-of-chapter bibliographies) as proceed from premises differing from mine. Or he might feel invited by his independent review of the primary sources (similarly listed).

This study, in any case, proposes to proceed in the light of a general proposition. As it considers a succession of leading writers who have systematically reflected on political issues, it will be guided by the belief that political philosophy seeking to elucidate our ultimate common purposes, seeking to define the good life and the just state, has become increasingly inapplicable to our public realm. In fact, the very possibility of political philosophy having such aims has been put in jeopardy.

Our first concern will be to inquire what, on the level of theory, has produced this critical state of affairs. That is, what philosophical approach has challenged the possibility of engaging in discourse about the wisdom of public goals? And our second concern will be to probe, one by one, the variety of contemporary responses to the crisis in theory.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.