Beyond Neutrality: Perfectionism and Politics

Beyond Neutrality: Perfectionism and Politics

by George Sher
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521570689

ISBN-13: 9780521570688

Pub. Date: 01/13/1997

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Many people, including many contemporary philosophers, believe that the state has no business trying to improve people's characters or elevating their tastes or preventing them from living degraded lives. They believe that governments should remain absolutely neutral when it comes to the consideration of competing conceptions of the good. One fundamental aim of George…  See more details below

Overview

Many people, including many contemporary philosophers, believe that the state has no business trying to improve people's characters or elevating their tastes or preventing them from living degraded lives. They believe that governments should remain absolutely neutral when it comes to the consideration of competing conceptions of the good. One fundamental aim of George Sher's book is to show that this view is indefensible. A second complementary aim is to articulate a conception of the good that is worthy of promotion by the state. The first part of the book analyzes attempts to ground the neutrality thesis in the value of autonomy, respect for autonomy, the dangers of a nonneutral state, and skepticism about the good. The second part defends an objective conception of the good which remains sensitive to some of the considerations that make subjectivism attractive. According to this conception, the elements of a good life include (but are not exhausted by) knowledge, excellence, certain preferred modes of interaction among persons, and various familiar virtues. Lucidly written and structured, this book represents a major contribution to contemporary political theory.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521570688
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
01/13/1997
Pages:
265
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1Introduction1
2The principle of neutrality20
3Autonomy and neutrality (1)45
4Autonomy and neutrality (2)72
5Prophylactic neutrality106
6Knowing about the good140
7Three grades of social involvement156
8Against subjectivism176
9Perfectionism: A theory199
10Conclusion245
Index249

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