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Does life have any meaning for you? Is it possible to create meaning? What do you think life is about? Do you think life is worth living?
These questions, taken from the text of Rethinking Our World, challenge the reader to look critically and creatively at many of society’s traditional beliefs. They encourage readers to look at their world differently by asking questions about change, identity and direction. The authors outline the major figures and basic principles of each philosophy, then analyse the type of thinking each approach encourages. They go on to challenge readers to examine ways in which the different approaches can be used to understand the world.
Rethinking Our World will be invaluable to undergraduate students in the human and social sciences, as well as to a more general readership seeking an understanding of the arguments in the major philosophies.
In Critique of Black Reason eminent critic Achille Mbembe offers a capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness-from the Atlantic slave trade to the present-to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity. Mbembe teases out the intellectual consequences of the reality that Europe is no longer the world's center of gravity while mapping the relations between colonialism, slavery, and contemporary fi nancial and extractive capital. Tracing the conjunction of Blackness with the biological fiction of race, he theorizes Black reason as the collection of discourses and practices that equated Blackness with the nonhuman in order to uphold forms of oppression. Mbembe powerfully argues that this equation of Blackness with the nonhuman will serve as the template for all new forms of exclusion. With Critique of Black Reason, Mbembe offers nothing less than a map of the world as it has been constituted through colonialism and racial thinking while providing the first glimpses of a more just future.
A major intellectual history of the American Revolution and its influence on later revolutions in Europe and the AmericasThe Expanding Blaze is a sweeping history of how the American Revolution inspired revolutions throughout Europe and the Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jonathan Israel, one of the world's leading historians of the Enlightenment, shows how the radical ideas of American founders such as Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Monroe set the pattern for democratic revolutions, movements, and constitutions in France, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Canada, Haiti, Brazil, and Spanish America.The Expanding Blaze reminds us that the American Revolution was an astonishingly radical event-and that it didn't end with the transformation and independence of America. Rather, the Revolution continued to reverberate in Europe and the Americas for the next three-quarters of a century. This comprehensive history of the Revolution's international influence traces how American efforts to implement Radical Enlightenment ideas-including the destruction of the old regime and the promotion of democratic republicanism, self-government, and liberty-helped drive revolutions abroad, as foreign leaders explicitly followed the American example and espoused American democratic values.The first major new intellectual history of the age of democratic revolution in decades, The Expanding Blaze returns the American Revolution to its global context.
`IB was one of the great affirmers of our time.' John Banville, New York Review of Books The title of this final volume of Isaiah Berlin's letters is echoed by John Banville's verdict in his review of its predecessor, Building: Letters 1960-75, which saw Berlin publish some of his most important work, and create, in Oxford's Wolfson College, an institutional and architectural legacy. In the period covered by this new volume (1975-97) he consolidates his intellectual legacy with a series of essay collections. These generate many requests for clarification from his readers, and stimulate him to reaffirm and sometimes refine his ideas, throwing substantive new light on his thought as he grapples with human issues of enduring importance. Berlin's comments on world affairs, especially the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the collapse of Communism, are characteristically acute. This is also the era of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the Iranian revolution, the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and wars in the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. Berlin scrutinises the leading politicians of the day, including Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev, and draws illuminating sketches of public figures, notably contrasting the personas of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrey Sakharov. He declines a peerage, is awarded the Agnelli Prize for ethics, campaigns against philistine architecture in London and Jerusalem, helps run the National Gallery and Covent Garden, and talks at length to his biographer. He reflects on the ideas for which he is famous - especially liberty and pluralism - and there is a generous leavening of the conversational brilliance for which he is also renowned, as he corresponds with friends about politics, the academic world, music and musicians, art and artists, and writers and their work, always displaying a Shakespearean fascination with the variety of humankind. Affirming is the crowning achievement both of Berlin's epistolary life and of the widely acclaimed edition of his letters whose first volume appeared in 2004.
Critical theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose - and, if at all possible, cure - the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of leading representatives of the critical tradition (such as George Lukacs and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. This Very Short Introduction sheds light on the cluster of concepts and themes that set critical theory apart from its more traditional philosophical competitors. Bronner explains and discusses concepts such as method and agency, alienation and reification, the culture industry and repressive tolerance, non-identity and utopia. He argues for the introduction of new categories and perspectives for illuminating the obstacles to progressive change and focusing upon hidden transformative possibilities. In this newly updated second edition, Bronner targets new academic interests, broadens his argument, and adapts it to a global society amid the resurgence of right-wing politics and neo-fascist movements. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Internationally acclaimed as a novelist, Siri Hustvedt is also highly regarded as a writer of non-fiction whose insights are drawn from her broad knowledge in the arts, humanities, and sciences. In this trilogy of works collected in a single volume, Hustvedt brings a feminist, interdisciplinary perspective to a range of subjects. Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Susan Sontag and Knut Ove Knausgaard are among those who come under her scrutiny. In the book's central essay, she explores the intractable mind-body problem and in the third section, reflects on the mysteries of hysteria, synesthesia, memory, perception, and the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. With clarity, wit, and passion, she exposes gender bias, upends received ideas, and challenges her reader to think again.
Many people regard Hegel's work as obscure and extremely difficult, yet his importance and influence are universally acknowledged. Peter Singer eliminates any excuse for remaining ignorant of the outlines of Hegel's philosophy by providing a broad discussion of his ideas and an account of his major works.
Idealization is a fundamental feature of human thought. We build simplified models in our scientific research and utopias in our political imaginations. Concepts like belief, desire, reason, and justice are bound up with idealizations and ideals. Life is a constant adjustment between the models we make and the realities we encounter. In idealizing, we proceed "as if" our representations were true, while knowing they are not. This is not a dangerous or distracting occupation, Kwame Anthony Appiah shows. Our best chance of understanding nature, society, and ourselves is to open our minds to a plurality of imperfect depictions that together allow us to manage and interpret our world.The philosopher Hans Vaihinger first delineated the "as if" impulse at the turn of the twentieth century, drawing on Kant, who argued that rational agency required us to act as if we were free. Appiah extends this strategy to examples across philosophy and the human and natural sciences. In a broad range of activities, we have some notion of the truth yet continue with theories that we recognize are, strictly speaking, false. From this vantage point, Appiah demonstrates that a picture one knows to be unreal can be a vehicle for accessing reality.As If explores how strategic untruth plays a critical role in far-flung areas of inquiry: decision theory, psychology, natural science, and political philosophy. A polymath who writes with mainstream clarity, Appiah defends the centrality of the imagination not just in the arts but in science, morality, and everyday life.
In 1962, the eminent statesman Dean Acheson enunciated a principle that has dominated global politics ever since: that no legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its 'power, position, and prestige'. In short, whatever the world may think, US actions are legitimate because they say so. Spanning the impact of Edward Snowden's whistleblowing and Palestinian-Israeli relations to deeper reflections on political philosophy and the importance of a commons to democracy, Because We Say So takes American imperialism head on.
Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power in to forty-eight well explicated laws. As attention--grabbing in its design as it is in its content, this bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers. Some laws teach the need for prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master"), the virtue of stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"), and many demand the total absence of mercy ("Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally"), but like it or not, all have applications in real life. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded--or been victimized by--power, these laws will fascinate any reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.
In contemporary discussions of political and social thought theories of personalism remain largely absent. Personalism emerged, after World War I, onto the French cosmopolitan intellectual scene as a theory that puts the concept of the person at the center of politics. Responding, in part, to the chaos of an emergent modernity inaugurated by the First World War, personalism, with the exception of the theories of Pope John Paul II, has faded from secular discussions of politics. Its spirit and intellectual rigor, however, are recaptured with the publication of A Theory of Personalism. This distinctive and contemporary departure from hackneyed discussions of political theory introduces readers to a contemporary personalism rooted in the work of Bartolome de Las Casas and emerging again in the contributions of Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin as well as the liberation theology of Gustavo Guiterrez and Jon Sobrino. Thomas Rourke and Rosita A. Chazarreta Rourke introduce readers to new sources of personalism by investigating and revising the intellectual history of this theory and its development. Anyone interested in the relationship between religion and politics, poverty and political economy, and the cultural effects of globalization should read this book.
Drawing from the traditions and teachings of the Prophet, Imam Muhammad Shirazi offers solutions to the issues faced by countries worldwide, especially issues of war and peace, nonviolence, social justice, and human rights. He also touches on the subjects of collaborative governments, freedom of expression, economics, and legal systems. His writings provide answers to anyone seeking clarity on these subjects with regard to Islamic beliefs and practice.
Democracy for Realists assails the romantic folk-theory at the heart of contemporary thinking about democratic politics and government, and offers a provocative alternative view grounded in the actual human nature of democratic citizens.Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. They demonstrate that voters-even those who are well informed and politically engaged-mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. They also show that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties. When parties are roughly evenly matched, elections often turn on irrelevant or misleading considerations such as economic spurts or downturns beyond the incumbents' control; the outcomes are essentially random. Thus, voters do not control the course of public policy, even indirectly.Achen and Bartels argue that democratic theory needs to be founded on identity groups and political parties, not on the preferences of individual voters. Democracy for Realists provides a powerful challenge to conventional thinking, pointing the way toward a fundamentally different understanding of the realities and potential of democratic government.Now with new analysis of the 2016 elections, Democracy for Realists provides a powerful challenge to conventional thinking, pointing the way toward a fundamentally different understanding of the realities and potential of democratic government.
"It is safer to be feared than loved." These words embody the spirit of The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli's classic work of political philosophy. Machiavelli's advice for how a ruler should acquire and ruthlessly exercise power over others continues to be relevant to contemporary readers more than five centuries after it was first published. This is one of Barnes & Noble's 'Collectible Editions' classics. Each volume features authoritative texts by the world's greatest authors in an elegantly designed bonded-leather binding, with distinctive gilt edging. Durable and collectible, these volumes are an indispensable cornerstone of every home library.
What is it that makes humans, human? As science and technology challenge the boundaries between life and non-life, between organic and inorganic, this ancient question is more timely than ever. Acclaimed Object-Oriented philosopher Timothy Morton invites us to consider this philosophical issue as eminently political. It is in our relationship with non-humans, that we decided the fate of our humanity. Becoming human, claims Morton, actually means creating a network of kindness and solidarity with non-human beings, in the name of a broader understanding of reality that both includes and overcomes the notion of species. Negotiating the politics of humanity is the first and crucial step to reclaim the upper scales of ecological coexistence, not to let Monsanto and cryogenically suspended billionaires to define them and own them.
Authors in this illuminating book probe the social and spiritual contexts from which select iconic figures emerge as innovators and cultural leaders and draw material into forms that subsequent generations consider pioneering and emblematic. The book identifies creators such as novelists, poets, performers and dramatists who are leaders in their respective genres, and in culture and society at large, and examines the influence exerted on and by their works. Critics and admirers understand the cultural leaders discussed in this book as significant figures affecting social and political change. The chapters cover a range of genres, time periods and individuals, mixing literary and historical analysis with concerns relevant to leadership studies. The book includes a cross-disciplinary analysis focusing on its subjects' roles as leaders within and beyond their fields. Scholars and students of religion, history and popular culture with wide-ranging interests in the humanities will find this book a unique and fascinating look at cultural leadership.
With notes and an apparatus, a new translation of Hegel's essay "Machiavelli's "The Prince" and Italy," and the first pages of "The Prince" in the original Italian
At the end of an industrious political career in conflict-riven Italy, the Florentine diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli composed his masterpiece "The Prince," a classic study of power and politics, and a manual of ruthlessness for any ambitious ruler. Controversial in his own time, the work made Machiavelli's name a byword for manipulative scheming, and had an impact on such major figures as Napoleon and Frederick the Great. It contains principles as true today as when they were first written almost five centuries ago.
Laid out in this book is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor, The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince, a king or a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government, and is the ultimate book on power politics.
The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships-and how it influenced modern thoughtDavid Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as "the Great Infidel" for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor is the first book to tell the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers-and how it influenced their world-changing ideas.The book follows Hume and Smith's relationship from their first meeting in 1749 until Hume's death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other's writings, supported each other's careers and literary ambitions, and advised each other on personal matters, most notably after Hume's quarrel with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Members of a vibrant intellectual scene in Enlightenment Scotland, Hume and Smith made many of the same friends (and enemies), joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects well beyond philosophy and economics-from psychology and history to politics and Britain's conflict with the American colonies. The book reveals that Smith's private religious views were considerably closer to Hume's public ones than is usually believed. It also shows that Hume contributed more to economics-and Smith contributed more to philosophy-than is generally recognized.Vividly written, The Infidel and the Professor is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.
Each year a new eruption of "leaderless" social movements - from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe, the Americas, and East Asia - leaves journalists, political analysts, police forces, and governments disoriented and perplexed. Activists too struggle to understand and evaluate the power and effectiveness of horizontal movements. Why have the movements, which address the needs and desires of so many, not been able to achieve lasting change and create a new, more democratic and just society? Some people assume that if only social movements could find new leaders they would return to their earlier glory. Where, they ask, are the new Martin Luther Kings, Rudi Dutschkes, and Steven Bikos? Although today's leaderless and spontaneous political organizations are not sufficient, a return to traditional, centralized forms of political leadership is neither desirable nor possible. Necessary, instead, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue, is an inversion of the roles of the multitude and leadership in political organizations. Leaders should be confined to short-term, tactical action, while the multitude drives strategy. In other words, the formulation of long-term goals and objectives must come from the collective, rather than designated figureheads. Drawing on the ideas developed through their well-known Empire trilogy, Hardt and Negri have produced, in Assembly, a timely proposal for how current large-scale, horizontal movements can develop collectively the capacities for political strategy and decision-making to effect lasting and democratic change.
'In this thought-provoking book, Massimo Pigliucci shares his journey of discovering the power of Stoic practices in a philosophical dialogue with one of Stoicism's greatest teachers.' RYAN HOLIDAY, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY AND THE DAILY STOIC Who am I? What am I doing? How ought I to live my life? Stoicism teaches us to acknowledge our emotions, reflect on what causes them and redirect them for our own good. Whenever we worry about how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal seems more elusive. Massimo Pigliucci explores this remarkable philosophy and how its wisdom can be applied to our everyday lives in the quest for meaning. He shows how stoicism teaches us the importance of a person's character, integrity and compassion. Whoever we are, we can take something away from stoicism and, in How to be a Stoic, with its practical tips and exercises, meditations and mindfulness, he also explains how relevant it is to every part of our modern lives.
A new era of political power has arrived, one in which the social media forces of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter indisputably play a larger role in the political process. In this revised and expanded edition of Political Communication: The Manship School Guide, edited by Robert Mann and David D. Perlmutter, contributors discuss technological changes in the context of studies and techniques that remain unchallenged, resulting in a truly comprehensive manual of the world of political communication.
This shift in communication began with Howard Dean's social media interaction between voters and candidates. Later, Barack Obama redefined these techniques during his march to the White House. This intriguing development in political campaigns focuses the impact of social media on political consultation and communication, and this volume provides an up-to-date and peerless guide to the events, methods, technologies, venues, theories, and applications of political dialogues.
More than just a how-to primer, this new edition also expertly explains the process behind the political engine. Political Communication: The Manship School Guide includes individual essays that tackle the growing myths revolving around politics, such as the political money-monster and the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"--candidate fantasy.
Twenty-seven chapters from a variety of contributors -- including academics, journalists, and political professionals -- provide insightful, astute, and critical essays for a deeper understanding of political communication and the many roles the public has played in twenty-first-century politics.
With this second edition, Political Communication: The Manship School Guide offers readers a valuable resource that clarifies the confusing world of politics.
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