History and Illusion in Politics / Edition 1

History and Illusion in Politics / Edition 1

by Raymond Geuss
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press

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History and Illusion in Politics / Edition 1

In his new book, distinguished political philosopher Raymond Geuss critically examines some of the most widely held and important preconceptions about contemporary politics western societies: the state, authority, violence and coercion, the concept of legitimacy, liberalism, toleration, freedom, democracy, and human rights. Geuss argues that the liberal democratic state committed to the defense of human rights is in fact a confused conjunction of disparate elements. One of his most striking claims is that it makes sense to speak of rights only relative to a mechanism for enforcing them, and that therefore the whole concept of a "human right" as it is commonly used in contemporary political philosophy, is a confusion. A profound and concise essay on the basic structure of contemporary politics, History and Illusion in Politics is written in a voice that is skeptical, engaged, and clear. Raymond Geuss is University Lecturer, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge. Educated in the United States and Germany, he has held academic posts at Heidelberg, the University of Chicago and Princeton University. He is the editor of Nietzsche The Birth of Tragedy (Cambridge, 1999) and the author of Public Goods, Private Goods (Princeton, 2001). He is a frequent commentator on BBC Radio Three and World Service.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521000437
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/28/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.43(d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; Part I. The State: 1.1 Political associations; 1.2 Violence, coercion, and power; 1.3 The concept of the state; 1.4 The concept of legitimacy; 1.5 Authority; 1.6 Weber's 'modern' state; 1.7 History and the concept of the state; 1.8 Anarchy and the state; 1.9 The legitimacy of the state; Part II. Liberalism: 2.1 The context; 2.2 Toleration; 2.3 Freedom; 2.4 Individualism; 2.5 Limited, unlimited, and discretionary power; Part III. Democracy and Rights: 3.1 Democracy: description and interpretation; 3.2 Democracy: evaluation; 3.3 Popular control and the state; 3.4 Legal rights; 3.5 Human rights; 3.6 Rights and politics; 4. Conclusion; Index.

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