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Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 13 Jul 2017
Intermediate groups— voluntary associations, churches, ethnocultural groups, universities, and more-can both protect threaten individual liberty. The same is true for centralized state action against such groups. This wide-ranging book argues that, both normatively and historically, liberal political thought rests on a deep tension between a rationalist suspicion of intermediate and local group power, and a pluralism favorable toward intermediate group life,and preserving the bulk of its suspicion for the centralizing state. The book studies this tension using tools from the history of political thought, normative political philosophy, law, and social theory. In the process, it retells the history of liberal thought and practice in a way that moves from the birth of intermediacy in the High Middle Ages to the British Pluralists of the twentieth century. In particular it restores centrality to the tradition of ancient constitutionalism and to Montesquieu, arguing that social contract theory's contributions to thedevelopment of liberal thought have been mistaken for the whole tradition. It discusses the real threats to freedom posed both by local group life and by state centralization, the ways in which those threats aggravate each other. Though the state and intermediate groups can check and balance each other in ways that protect freedom, they may also aggravate each other's worst tendencies. Likewise, the elements of liberal thought concerned with the threats from each cannot necessarily be combined into a single satisfactory theory of freedom. While the book frequentlyreconstructs and defends pluralism, it ultimately argues that the tension is irreconcilable and not susceptible of harmonization or synthesis; it must be lived with, not overcome.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9780198808916
ISBN-10: 0198808917
Pagini: 336
Dimensiuni: 156 x 234 x 18 mm
Greutate: 0.52 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP Oxford
Locul publicării: Oxford, United Kingdom

Recenzii

Levy should be applauded for advancing a vital discussion within liberal theory, and doing so in a way that is informed by philosophical, historical and social-scientific perspectives. Political theorists should definitely read it, but so too should lawyers, policymakers, journalists and others interested in reconciling these dilemmas from a more practical perspective.
This is a first-class work of political, social, and intellectual history-a tour de force indeed.
Levy has rehabilitated a neglected tradition in liberal political thought, demonstrated its salience for politics today and shown the defensibility of some of its key theoretical claims.
Levy has written a valuable book.
He begins his excellent Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom with a deconstruction of purely theoretical accounts of how liberals should view the existence of distinct associations and communities within society.
The breathtakingly expansive scope of the work aims to teach us that the tension between rationalism and pluralism is ineliminable, and that adopting one perspective may blind us to domination. On the theoretical front, it is wildly successful. It presents a rereading of the liberal tradition that is at points truly revelatory.
This really is a crucial argument and serves as a stern reminder that there is no such thing as the superior virtue of the oppressed.

Notă biografică

Jacob T. Levy is Tomlinson Professor of Political Theory and coordinator of the Research Group on Constitutional Studies at McGill University, and a member of the Montreal Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Philosophie Politique.