Political Concepts and Political Theories
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Political Concepts and Political Theories

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Political Concepts and Political Theories introduces political theory by focusing on enduring disputes about the nature of freedom, power, equality, justice, democracy, and authority. The first part of the book examines the nature of these disputes. It clarifies what we are disagreeing about when we offer different interpretations of political concepts, and why our disagreements about them are so difficult to resolve. Providing accessible accounts of the views of Plato, Wittgenstein, and recent theorists such as Gallie, Gaus argues that our interpretation of a political concept such as liberty is not freestanding but linked to our understandings of power, equality, justice, democracy, and other values. To understand a particular political concept, Gaus argues, we must place it in a political theory, which constitutes a system of such concepts. The second part of the book examines the ways in which liberal, socialist, and conservative thinkers have interpreted these enduring political concepts. Gaus considers a wide range of classical and contemporary advocates of these theories.Political Concepts and Political Theories presents in an accessible way an innovative approach to the analysis of political concepts and the study of political theory. As such, it will be of interest both to those looking at political concepts and political theories for the first time, as well as to scholars who have already examined these issues.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 22.86mm | 476.27g
  • The Perseus Books Group
  • Westview Press Inc
  • Boulder, CO, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0813333318
  • 9780813333311
  • 1,081,458

About Gerald Gaus

Gerald F. Gaus is professor of philosophy at Tulane University. He has been professor of and political science at the University of Minnesota, Duluth professor of ethics and public philosophy at Queensland University of Technology, Australia research fellow at the Australian National University visiting research fellow at the University of New England, New South Wales and visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy centre, Bowling Green State University. He is the author of The Modern Liberal Theory of Man (1983), Value and Justification (1990), Justificatory Liberalism (1996), and Social Philosophy (1999). With Stanley Benn, he edited Public and Private in Social Life (1983), and with F. B. D'Agostino, he edited Public Reason (1998). With William Street, he edited Bernard Bosanquet's The Philosophical Theory of the State and Related Essays (2000). He is co-editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy and co-founding editor of PPE: A Journal of Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.show more

Table of contents

* List of Figures * Preface Part I: Conceptual Analysis and Political Theories * 1. What Are Political Concepts? * 1.1 Socrates's Question * 1.2 Words, Definitions, and Things * 1.3 Wittgenstein's Later Analysis * 1.4 Wittgenstein and Conceptual Investigations * 1.5 Summary * Notes * 2. Conceptual Disputes * 2.1 Essentially Contested Concepts * 2.2 Political Ideologies * 2.3 Political Philosophy and Political Theories * 2.4 Summary * Notes * 3. Political Theories: Conceptual Structures and Enduring Types * 3.1 Liberalism, Socialism, and Conservatism * 3.2 Rationalism/Antirationalism * 3.3 Theories of Human Nature * 3.4 Individualism/Collectivism * 3.5 Summary * Notes Part II: Political Concepts * 4. Negative and Positive Liberty * 4.1 Negative Liberty: Some Ordinary Language Considerations * 4.2 Positive Freedom * 4.3 Two Concepts of Liberty * 4.3 Questioning the Positive/Negative Distinction * 4.4 Summary * Notes * 5. Liberty and Power * 5.1. Positive Freedom as Power to Act * 5.2 Power and Freedom * 5.3 Freedom, Power, and Property * 5.4 Freedom, Power, and the Law * 5.5 Summary * Notes * 6. Equality * 6.1 Equality and the Grounds for Equal Treatment * 6.2 Why Equality? External Arguments for the Importance of Equality * 6.3 Why Equality? Arguments from Fundamental Human Equality * 6.4 Equality of What? * 6.5 Summary * Notes * 7. Equality and Liberty in Political Theories * 7.1 Do Liberty and Equality Conflict? * 7.2 Classical Liberalism: Liberty and Basic Equality * 7.3 Revisionist Liberalisms * 7.4 A Socialist Reconciliation Proposal * 7.5 The Conservative Critique of Equality * 7.6 Summary * Notes * 8. Justice and Liberalism * 8.1 The Elements of Justice * 8.2 Classical Liberalism: Rules for Equally Free People * 8.3 Monistic Revisionist Liberalism: Social Justice and Contributions to the Common Good * 8.4 Pluralistic Revisionist Liberalism: A Revised Social Contract Among Free and Equal People * 8.5 Summary * Notes * 9. Justice, Society, and Community * 9.1 Marx on Societies and Their Justice * 9.2 Socialism and the Democratic Community * 9.3 Three Conservative Approaches to Justice * 9.4 Summary * Notes * 10. Political Authority * 10.1 Conservatism and Political Authority * 10.2 On Being "In Authority," * 10.3 Liberal Political Authority * 10.4 Democratic Authority and the Management of Collective Affairs * 10.5 Summary * Notes * Concluding Remarks: From Political Concepts to Political Theories * Indexshow more

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