Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought / Edition 1

Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought / Edition 1

by Sheldon S. Wolin

This is a significantly expanded edition of one of the greatest works of modern political theory. Sheldon Wolin's Politics and Vision inspired and instructed two generations of political theorists after its appearance in 1960. This new edition retains intact the original ten chapters about political thinkers from Plato to Mill, and adds seven chapters about

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This is a significantly expanded edition of one of the greatest works of modern political theory. Sheldon Wolin's Politics and Vision inspired and instructed two generations of political theorists after its appearance in 1960. This new edition retains intact the original ten chapters about political thinkers from Plato to Mill, and adds seven chapters about theorists from Marx and Nietzsche to Rawls and the postmodernists. The new chapters, which show how thinkers have grappled with the immense possibilities and dangers of modern power, are themselves a major theoretical statement. They culminate in Wolin's remarkable argument that the United States has invented a new political form, "inverted totalitarianism," in which economic rather than political power is dangerously dominant. In this new edition, the book that helped to define political theory in the late twentieth century should energize, enlighten, and provoke generations of scholars to come.

Wolin originally wrote Politics and Vision to challenge the idea that political analysis should consist simply of the neutral observation of objective reality. He argues that political thinkers must also rely on creative vision. Wolin shows that great theorists have been driven to shape politics to some vision of the Good that lies outside the existing political order. As he tells it, the history of theory is thus, in part, the story of changing assumptions about the Good.

In the new chapters, Wolin displays all the energy and flair, the command of detail and of grand historical developments, that he brought to this story forty years ago. This is a work of immense talent and intense thought, an intellectual achievement that will endure.

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Princeton University Press
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Expanded Edition xv

Preface xxiii


Chapter One: Political Philosophy and Philosophy 3

I Political Philosophy as a Form of Inquiry 3

II Form and Substance 4

III Political Thought and Political Institutions 7

IV Political Philosophy and the Political 9

V The Vocabulary of Political Philosophy 12

VI Vision and Political Imagination 17

VII Political Concepts and Political Phenomena 20

VIII A Tradition of Discourse 21

IX Tradition and Innovation 23

Chapter Two: Plato: Political Philosophy versus Politics 27

I The Invention of Political Philosophy 27

II Philosophy and Society 32

III Politics and Architectonics 37

IV The Search for a Selfless Instrument 47

V The Question of Power 51

VI Political Knowledge and Political Participation 54

VII The Limits of Unity 58

VIII The Ambiguities of Plato 61

Chapter Three: The Age of Empire: Space and Community 63

I The Crisis in the Political 63

II The New Dimensions of Space 65

III Citizenship and Disengagement 70

IV Politics and the Roman Republic 75

V The Politics of Interest 79

VI From Political Association to Power Organization 82

VII The Decline of Political Philosophy 85

Chapter Four: The Early Christian Era: Time and Community 86

I The Political Element in Early Christianity: The New Notion of
Community 86

II The Church as a Polity: The Challenge to the Political Order 95

III Politics and Power in a Church-Society 103

IV The Embarrassments of a Politicized Religion and the Task of
Augustine 108

V The Identity of the Church-Society Reasserted: Time and Destiny 111

VI Political Society and Church-Society 115

VII The Language of Religion and the Language of Politics: Footnote on Mediaeval Christian Thought 118

Chapter Five: Luther: The Theological and the Political 127

I Political Theology 127

II The Political Element in Luther's Thought 128

III The Bias against Institutions 136

IV The Status of the Political Order 139

V The Political Order without Counterweight 143

VI The Fruits of Simplicity 145

Chapter Six: Calvin: The Political Education of Protestantism 148

I The Crisis in Order and Civility 148

II The Political Quality of Calvin's Thought 151

III The Political Theory of Church Government 158

IV The Restoration of the Political Order 160

V Political Knowledge 164

VI Political Office 166

VII Power and Community 170

Chapter Seven: Machiavelli: Politics and the Economy of Violence 175

I The Autonomy of Political Theory 175

II The Commitments of the Political Theorist 182

III The Nature of Politics and the Categories of the New Science 187

IV Political Space and Political Action 195

V The Economy of Violence 197

VI Ethics: Political and Private 200

VII The Discovery of the Mass 205

VIII Politics and Souls 211

Chapter Eight: Hobbes: Political Society as a System of Rules 214

I The Revival of Political Creativity 214

II Political Philosophy and the Revolution in Science 218

III The Promise of Political Philosophy 222

IV The Language of Politics: The Problem of Constituency 230

V Political Entropy: The State of Nature 235

VI The Sovereign Definer 238

VII Power without Community 243

VIII Interests and Representation 248

IX Politics as a Field of Forces 252

Chapter Nine: Liberalism and the Decline of Political Philosophy 257

I The Political and the Social 257

II Liberalism and the Sobrieties of Philosophy 263

III The Political Claims of Economic Theory 268

IV The Eclipse of Political Authority: The Discovery of Society 273

V Society and Government: Spontaneity versus Coercion 277

VI Liberalism and Anxiety 282

VII Beyond the Pleasure Principle: The Problem of Pain 292

VIII Liberalism and Moral Judgments: The Substitution of Interest for Conscience 297

IX Liberalism and Conformity: The Socialized Conscience 307

Chapter Ten: The Age of Organization and the Sublimation of Politics 315

I The Age of Organization 315

II Identifying a Tradition of Discourse 319

III Organization and Community 325

IV Rousseau: The Idea of Community 330

V Freedom and Impersonal Dependence 334

VI Saint-Simon: The Idea of Organization 336

VII Organization Theory and Methodology: Some Parallels 342

VIII Organization, Method, and Constitutional Theory 348

IX Communal Values in Organization 352

X The Attack on Economic Rationalism 360

XI Organization Theory: Rationalism versus Organicism 364

XII The Attack on the Political 371

XIII Elite and Mass: Action in the Age of Organization 376

XIV Concluding Remarks 384


Chapter Eleven: From Modern to Postmodern Power 393

I Celebrating the Death of the Past 393

II The Baconian Vision of Power 395

III Cultivating Mind and Method 397

IV Modern Power Realized 399

V Modern Power and Its Constituent Elements 400

VI Containing Power 402

Chapter Twelve: Marx: Theorist of the Political Economy of the Proletariat or of Uncollapsed Capitalism? 406

I Marx and Nietzsche: Economy or Culture? 406

II Marx and the Theoretical Vocation 407

III Marx and the Idea of a Political Economy 410

IV Working through the Idea of Democracy 412

V The Power of Theory 415

VI The Politics of Economy: The 1844 Manuscripts 416

VII The Historical Origins of Power 420

VIII Power, Force, and Violence 423

IX Modern Power Revealed 425

X Marx and Locke: Parallel Narratives 427

XI The Alienation of Power 430

XII The Worker as Political Actor 432

XIII Capitalism and the Political Shaping of the Working Class 435

XIV Capital: Contradiction and Crisis 436

XV Inheriting the Power-System of Capital 438

XVI The Status of Politics 439

XVII The Question of Dictatorship 440

XVIII The Paris Commune 445

XIX Anticipating the End of Politics 448

XX Defending a Post-politics 450

XXI Underestimating the Capitalist 452

Chapter Thirteen: Nietzsche: Pretotalitarian, Postmodern 454

I From Economy to Culture 454

II "Some are born posthumously" 456

III The New Nietzsche 457

IV Totalitarianism as a Form 458

V Nietzsche: A Political Theorist? 460

VI The Theorist as Immoralist 462

VII The Politics of Critical Totalitarianism 464

VIII The Extraordinary versus the Normal 467

IX The Totalitarian Dynamic 468

X The Extermination of Decadence 471

XI Cultural Wars 472

XII The Crisis of Nihilism 474

XIII The Aesthete and the Herd 475

XIV The Politics of Culture 477

XV A New Elite 479

XVI The Theorist of Anti-theory 481

XVII Rediscovering Myth 484

XVIII The Making of the Herd 485

XIX Myth and Theory 486

XX Looking for a New Dionysius 489

XXI Nietzsche as Political Analyst 490

XXII The Will-to-Power in the Twentieth Century 492

Chapter Fourteen: Liberalism and the Politics of Rationalism 495

I Popper, Dewey, and Rawls: Playing Out Liberalism 495

II The Closed Society 496

III The Open Society 500

IV Hints of an Emerging Ambiguity 502

V Dewey: The Philosopher as Political Theorist 503

VI Bacon Redivivus 504

VII Educating for Power 506

VIII Democracy's Means: Education 507

IX Democracy and Economy 508

X The Contest over Science 510

XI The Idea of a Public 511

XII Great Society and Great Community 513

XIII The Scientific Community as Model Democracy 514

XIV The Fading Aura of Science 518

XV Totalitarianism and Technology 519

XVI Totalitarianism and the Reaction against Democracy 520

XVII Democratic Revival? 522

Chapter Fifteen: Liberal Justice and Political Democracy 524

I Liberalism on the Defensive 524

II Freedom and Equality: Liberal Dilemma 525

III John Rawls and the Revival of Political Philosophy 529

IV Economy and Political Economy 530

V Justice and Inequality 531

VI The "Original Position" and the Tradition of Contract Theory 536

VII Liberalism and Its Political 538

VIII Rawls's Genealogy of Liberalism 540

IX The Reasonableness of Liberalism 542

X The Threat of Comprehensive Doctrines 545

XI Liberal Political Culture 547

XII Liberalism and Governance 551

XIII Neo-liberalism in the Cold War 551

Chapter Sixteen: Power and Forms 557

I Old and New Political Forms 557

II Superpower and Terror 559

III Modern and Postmodern Power 562

IV Political Economy: The New Public Philosophy 563

V Collapsed Communism and Uncollapsed Capitalism 565

VI Political Economy and Postmodernism 566

VII The Political and Its Absent Carrier 567

VIII The Demythologizing of Science 568

IX Rational Political Science 570

X Political Science and the Political Establishment 574

XI The Odyssey of the State: From Welfare to Superpower 575

XII Faltering Vision 578

XIII Towards Totality 579

Chapter Seventeen: Postmodern Democracy: Virtual or Fugitive? 581

I Postmodern Culture and Postmodern Power 581

II Nietzschean Pessimism Transformed 582

III The Self as Microcosm 584

IV Centrifugals and Centripetals 585

V Centripetal Power 587

VI The Political Evolution of the Corporation 587

VII Empire and the Imperial Citizen 590

VIII Superpower and Inverted Totalitarianism 594

IX The Limits of Superpower? 594

X A Land of Political Opportunity 595

XI Capital and Democracy 596

XII Democracy at Bay 598

XIII Postrepresentative Politics 599

XIV Fugitive Democracy 601

Notes 607

Index 741

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