The Moral Foundations of Politics [NOOK Book]

Overview

When do governments merit our allegiance, and when should they be denied it? Ian Shapiro explores this most enduring of political dilemmas in this innovative and engaging book. Building on his highly popular Yale courses, Professor Shapiro evaluates the main contending accounts of the sources of political legitimacy. Starting with theorists of the Enlightenment, he examines the arguments put forward by utilitarians, Marxists, and theorists of the social contract. Next he turns to the anti-Enlightenment tradition ...

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The Moral Foundations of Politics

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Overview

When do governments merit our allegiance, and when should they be denied it? Ian Shapiro explores this most enduring of political dilemmas in this innovative and engaging book. Building on his highly popular Yale courses, Professor Shapiro evaluates the main contending accounts of the sources of political legitimacy. Starting with theorists of the Enlightenment, he examines the arguments put forward by utilitarians, Marxists, and theorists of the social contract. Next he turns to the anti-Enlightenment tradition that stretches from Edmund Burke to contemporary post-modernists. In the last part of the book Shapiro examines partisans and critics of democracy from Plato’s time until our own. He concludes with an assessment of democracy’s strengths and limitations as the font of political legitimacy. The book offers a lucid and accessible introduction to urgent ongoing conversations about the sources of political allegiance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a rigorous and insightful reconsideration of the theories of political legitimacy underpinning the utilitarian, Marxist, social contract, anti-Enlightenment, and democratic traditions, from one of the foremost democratic theorists in America today. Shapiro conveys the reader through a maze of complex moral, economic and political argument surrounding this topic with impressive skill and enviable clarity. It will be of substantial interest to students of moral philosophy as well as political theory, and should reach a broader audience concerned with how to think about the moral dilemmas implicit in contemporary democratic theory and practice."—Shannon Stimson, UC Berkeley

“A deeply valuable book at many levels. Students will find a synoptic, clear overview with an argument to supplement their own courses; faculty can secretly get back up to speed on philosophers they should remember better; specialists will be impelled to put ‘their guy’ into a more comprehensive framework than usual. Shapiro shows an almost unique ability to combine the broad sweep with the telling detail or precise insight—just what a book of this sort needs.”—Jennifer Hochschild, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300189759
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 643,295
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. Among his many books are Democratic Justice and, with Donald Green, Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory, both published by Yale University Press. He lives in New Haven, CT.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Enlightenment Politics 7
Chapter 2 Classical Utilitarianism 18
Chapter 3 Synthesizing Rights and Utility 37
Chapter 4 Marxism 71
Chapter 5 The Social Contract 109
Chapter 6 Anti-Enlightenment Politics 151
Chapter 7 Democracy 190
Chapter 8 Democracy in the Mature Enlightenment 224
Notes 231
Index 267
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2002

    The most enlightening book I have read.

    Professor Shapiro shows all the intriguing twists and turns of different philosophical traditions. More than being a useful survey of these traditions have been crucial in shaping our society, the book is by itself an enlightening work of philosophy. In addition, the lucid and elegant prose coupled with humourous hypotheticals make this book a healing pleasure whenever you need it.

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