Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-03-31
  • Publisher: Harvard Univ Pr

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This last book by the late John Rawls, derived from written lectures and notes for his long-running course on modern political philosophy, offers readers an account of the liberal political tradition from a scholar viewed by many as the greatest contemporary exponent of the philosophy behind that tradition.Rawls's goal in the lectures was, he wrote, "to identify the more central features of liberalism as expressing a political conception of justice when liberalism is viewed from within the tradition of democratic constitutionalism." He does this by looking at several strands that make up the liberal and democratic constitutional traditions, and at the historical figures who best represent these strands--among them the contractarians Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau; the utilitarians Hume, Sidgwick, and J. S. Mill; and Marx regarded as a critic of liberalism. Rawls's lectures on Bishop Joseph Butler also are included in an appendix. Constantly revised and refined over three decades, Rawls's lectures on these figures reflect his developing and changing views on the history of liberalism and democracy--as well as how he saw his own work in relation to those traditions.With its clear and careful analyses of the doctrine of the social contract, utilitarianism, and socialism--and of their most influential proponents--this volume has a critical place in the traditions it expounds. Marked by Rawls's characteristic patience and curiosity, and scrupulously edited by his student and teaching assistant, Samuel Freeman, these lectures are a fitting final addition to his oeuvre, and to the history of political philosophy as well.

Table of Contents

Editor's Forewordp. ix
Introductory Remarksp. xvii
Texts Citedp. xix
Introduction: Remarks on Political Philosophyp. 1
Lectures on Hobbes
Hobbes's Secular Moralism and the Role of His Social Contractp. 23
Human Nature and the State of Naturep. 41
Hobbes's Account of Practical Reasoningp. 54
The Role and Powers of the Sovereignp. 73
Hobbes Indexp. 94
Lectures on Locke
His Doctrine of Natural Lawp. 103
His Account of a Legitimate Regimep. 122
Property and the Class Statep. 138
Lectures on Hume
"Of the Original Contract"p. 159
Utility, Justice, and the Judicious Spectatorp. 174
Lectures on Rousseau
The Social Contract: Its Problemp. 191
The Social Contract: Assumptions and the General Will (I)p. 214
The General Will (II) and the Question of Stabilityp. 229
Lectures on Mill
His Conception of Utilityp. 251
His Account of Justicep. 266
The Principle of Libertyp. 284
His Doctrine as a Wholep. 297
Remarks on Mill's Social Theoryp. 314
Lectures on Marx
His View of Capitalism as a Social Systemp. 319
His Conception of Right and Justicep. 335
His Ideal: A Society of Freely Associated Producersp. 354
Four Lectures on Henry Sidgwick
Sidgwick's Methods of Ethicsp. 375
Sidgwick on Justice and on the Classical Principle of Utilityp. 385
Sidgwick's Utilitarianismp. 392
Summary of Utilitarianismp. 412
Five Lectures on Joseph Butler
The Moral Constitution of Human Naturep. 416
The Nature and Authority of Consciencep. 422
The Economy of the Passionsp. 432
Butler's Argument against Egoismp. 439
Supposed Conflict between Conscience and Self-Lovep. 446
Additional Notes on Butlerp. 452
Course Outlinep. 458
Indexp. 460
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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