Politics & Government

Political Philosophy & Science

  • BDMQU
    Andrew Gibson
    • £65.00
    This book is the first major study of the theme of misanthropy, its history, arguments both for and against it, and its significance for us today. Misanthropy is not strictly a philosophy. It is an inconsistent thought, and so has often been mocked. But from Timon of Athens to Motorhead it has had a very long life, vast historical purchase and is seemingly indomitable and unignorable. Human beings have always nursed a profound distrust of who and what they are. This book does not seek to rationalize that distrust, but asks how far misanthropy might have a reason on its side, if a confused reason. There are obvious arguments against misanthropy. It is often born of a hatred of physical being. It can be historically explained. It particularly appears in undemocratic cultures. But what of the misanthropy of terminally defeated and disempowered peoples? Or born of progressivisms? Or the misanthropy that quarrels with specious or easy positivities (from Pelagius to Leibniz to the corporate cheer of contemporary 'total capital')? From the Greek Cynics to Roman satire, St Augustine to Jacobean drama, the misanthropy of the French Ancien Regime to Swift, Smollett and Johnson, Hobbes, Schopenhauer and Rousseau, from the Irish and American misanthropic traditions to modern women's misanthropy, the book explores such questions. It ends with a debate about contemporary culture that ranges from the 'dark radicalisms', queer misanthropy, posthumanism and eco-misanthropy to Houellebecq, punk rock and gangsta rap.
  • BDMQV
    Andrew Gibson
    • £19.99
    This book is the first major study of the theme of misanthropy, its history, arguments both for and against it, and its significance for us today. Misanthropy is not strictly a philosophy. It is an inconsistent thought, and so has often been mocked. But from Timon of Athens to Motorhead it has had a very long life, vast historical purchase and is seemingly indomitable and unignorable. Human beings have always nursed a profound distrust of who and what they are. This book does not seek to rationalize that distrust, but asks how far misanthropy might have a reason on its side, if a confused reason. There are obvious arguments against misanthropy. It is often born of a hatred of physical being. It can be historically explained. It particularly appears in undemocratic cultures. But what of the misanthropy of terminally defeated and disempowered peoples? Or born of progressivisms? Or the misanthropy that quarrels with specious or easy positivities (from Pelagius to Leibniz to the corporate cheer of contemporary 'total capital')? From the Greek Cynics to Roman satire, St Augustine to Jacobean drama, the misanthropy of the French Ancien Regime to Swift, Smollett and Johnson, Hobbes, Schopenhauer and Rousseau, from the Irish and American misanthropic traditions to modern women's misanthropy, the book explores such questions. It ends with a debate about contemporary culture that ranges from the 'dark radicalisms', queer misanthropy, posthumanism and eco-misanthropy to Houellebecq, punk rock and gangsta rap.
  • BDPSE
    Pascal Bruckner
    • £14.95
    • RRP £14.99
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    Fascism, communism, genocide, slavery, racism, imperialism--the West has no shortage of reasons for guilt. And, indeed, since the Holocaust and the end of World War II, Europeans in particular have been consumed by remorse. But Pascal Bruckner argues that guilt has now gone too far. It has become a pathology, and even an obstacle to fighting today's atrocities. Bruckner, one of France's leading writers and public intellectuals, argues that obsessive guilt has obscured important realities. The West has no monopoly on evil, and has destroyed monsters as well as created them--leading in the abolition of slavery, renouncing colonialism, building peaceful and prosperous communities, and establishing rules and institutions that are models for the world. The West should be proud--and ready to defend itself and its values. In this, Europeans should learn from Americans, who still have sufficient self-esteem to act decisively in a world of chaos and violence. Lamenting the vice of anti-Americanism that grips so many European intellectuals, Bruckner urges a renewed transatlantic alliance, and advises Americans not to let recent foreign-policy misadventures sap their own confidence. This is a searing, provocative, and psychologically penetrating account of the crude thought and bad politics that arise from excessive bad conscience.
  • BDRWA
    Jan Philipp Reemtsma
    • £49.95
    The limiting of violence through state powers is one of the central projects of the modern age. Why then have recent centuries been so bloody? In Trust and Violence, acclaimed German intellectual and public figure Jan Philipp Reemtsma demonstrates that the aim of decreasing and deterring violence has gone hand in hand with the misleading idea that violence is abnormal and beyond comprehension. We would be far better off, Reemtsma argues, if we acknowledged the disturbing fact that violence is normal. At the same time, Reemtsma contends that violence cannot be fully understood without delving into the concept of trust. Not in violence, but in trust, rests the foundation of true power. Reemtsma makes his case with a wide-ranging history of ideas about violence, from ancient philosophy through Shakespeare and Schiller to Michel Foucault, and by considering specific cases of extreme violence from medieval torture to the Holocaust and beyond. In the midst of this gloomy account of human tendencies, Reemtsma shrewdly observes that even dictators have to sleep at night and cannot rely on violence alone to ensure their safety. These authoritarian leaders must trust others while, by means other than violence, they must convince others to trust them. The history of violence is therefore a history of the peculiar relationship between violence and trust, and a recognition of trust's crucial place in humanity. A broad and insightful book that touches on philosophy, sociology, and political theory, Trust and Violence sheds new, and at times disquieting, light on two integral aspects of our society.
  • BDSTQ
    Sam Harris
    • £6.49
    • RRP £7.99
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    The physiologist Benjamin Libet famously demonstrated that activity in the brain's motor regions can be detected some 300 milliseconds before a person feels that he has decided to move. Another lab recently used fMRI data to show that some "conscious" decisions can be predicted up to 10 seconds before they enter awareness (long before the preparatory motor activity detected by Libet). Clearly, findings of this kind are difficult to reconcile with the sense that one is the conscious source of one's actions. The question of free will is no mere curio of philosophy seminars. A belief in free will underwrites both the religious notion of "sin" and our enduring commitment to retributive justice. The Supreme Court has called free will a "universal and persistent" foundation for our system of law. Any scientific developments that threatened our notion of free will would seem to put the ethics of punishing people for their bad behaviour in question.In Free Will Harris debates these ideas and asks whether or not, given what brain science is telling us, we actually have free will?
  • BDYZQ
    Giorgio Agamben
    • £19.00
    "Is it meaningful to call oneself a democrat? And if so, how do you interpret the word?" In responding to this question, eight iconoclastic thinkers prove the rich potential of democracy, along with its critical weaknesses, and reconceive the practice to accommodate new political and cultural realities. Giorgio Agamben traces the tense history of constitutions and their coexistence with various governments. Alain Badiou contrasts current democratic practice with democratic communism. Daniel Bensaid ponders the institutionalization of democracy, while Wendy Brown discusses the democratization of society under neoliberalism. Jean-Luc Nancy measures the difference between democracy as a form of rule and as a human end, and Jacques Ranciere highlights its egalitarian nature. Kristin Ross identifies hierarchical relationships within democratic practice, and Slavoj Zizek complicates the distinction between those who desire to own the state and those who wish to do without it. Concentrating on the classical roots of democracy and its changing meaning over time and within different contexts, these essays uniquely defend what is left of the left-wing tradition after the fall of Soviet communism. They confront disincentives to active democratic participation that have caused voter turnout to decline in western countries, and they address electoral indifference by invoking and reviving the tradition of citizen involvement. Passionately written and theoretically rich, this collection speaks to all facets of modern political and democratic debate.
  • BECWT
    Maurizio Lazzarato
    • £11.95
    "The debtor-creditor relation, which is at the heart of this book, sharpens mechanisms of exploitation and domination indiscriminately, since, in it, there is no distinction between workers and the unemployed, consumers and producers, working and non-working populations, between retirees and welfare recipients. They are all 'debtors,' guilty and responsible in the eyes of capital, which has become the Great, the Universal, Creditor." -- from The Making of the Indebted Man Debt -- both public debt and private debt -- has become a major concern of economic and political leaders. In The Making of the Indebted Man, Maurizio Lazzarato shows that, far from being a threat to the capitalist economy, debt lies at the very core of the neoliberal project. Through a reading of Karl Marx's lesser-known youthful writings on John Mill, and a rereading of writings by Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, and Michel Foucault, Lazzarato demonstrates that debt is above all a political construction, and that the creditor/debtor relation is the fundamental social relation of Western societies. Debt cannot be reduced to a simple economic mechanism, for it is also a technique of "public safety" through which individual and collective subjectivities are governed and controlled. Its aim is to minimize the uncertainty of the time and behavior of the governed. We are forever sinking further into debt to the State, to private insurance, and, on a more general level, to corporations. To insure that we honor our debts, we are at once encouraged and compelled to become the "entrepreneurs" of our lives, of our "human capital." In this way, our entire material, psychological, and affective horizon is upended and reconfigured. How do we extricate ourselves from this impossible situation? How do we escape the neoliberal condition of the indebted man? Lazzarato argues that we will have to recognize that there is no simple technical, economic, or financial solution. We must instead radically challenge the fundamental social relation structuring capitalism: the system of debt.
  • BEGXM
    Dr. Thom Brooks
    • £22.99
    A new edition of the first systematic reading of Hegel's political philosophy Elements of the Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important works in the history of political philosophy. This is the first book on the subject to take Hegel's system of speculative philosophy seriously as an important component of any robust understanding of this text. Key Features Sets out the difference between 'systematic' and 'non-systematic' readings of Philosophy of Right Outlines the unique structure of Hegel's philosophical arguments Explores key areas of Hegel's political philosophy: his theories of property, punishment, morality, law, monarchy, war, democracy and history This significantly expanded second edition includes: a more detailed explanation of Hegel's philosophical system; two new chapters on his theories of democracy and history; and an appendix detailing the implications this work has for future interpretations of Hegel's philosophy.
  • BEHJC
    • £27.89
    Gilbert Simondon (1924--1989), one of the most influential contemporary French philosophers, published only three works: L'individu et sa genese physico-biologique (The individual and its physico-biological genesis, 1964) and L'individuation psychique et collective (Psychic and collective individuation, 1989), both drawn from his doctoral thesis, and Du mode d'existence des objets techniques (On the mode of existence of technical objects, 1958). It is this last work that brought Simondon into the public eye; as a consequence, he has been considered a "thinker of technics" and cited often in pedagogical reports on teaching technology. Yet Simondon was a philosopher whose ambitions lay in an in-depth renewal of ontology as a process of individuation -- that is, how individuals come into being, persist, and transform. In this accessible yet rigorous introduction to Simondon's work, Muriel Combes helps to bridge the gap between Simondon's account of technics and his philosophy of individuation. Some thinkers have found inspiration in Simondon's philosophy of individuation, notably Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Combes's account, first published in French in 1999, is one of the only studies of Simondon to appear in English. Combes breaks new ground, exploring an ethics and politics adequate to Simondon's hypothesis of preindividual being, considering through the lens of transindividual philosophy what form a nonservile relation to technology might take today. Her book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Simondon's work.
  • BEHVO
    Steven Shaviro
    • £19.95
    • RRP £20.00
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    In Without Criteria, Steven Shaviro proposes and explores a philosophical fantasy: imagine a world in which Alfred North Whitehead takes the place of Martin Heidegger. What if Whitehead, instead of Heidegger, had set the agenda for postmodern thought? Heidegger asks, "Why is there something, rather than nothing?" Whitehead asks, "How is it that there is always something new?" In a world where everything from popular music to DNA is being sampled and recombined, argues Shaviro, Whitehead's question is the truly urgent one. Without Criteria is Shaviro's experiment in rethinking postmodern theory, especially the theory of aesthetics, from a point of view that hearkens back to Whitehead rather than Heidegger. In working through the ideas of Whitehead and Deleuze, Shaviro also appeals to Kant, arguing that certain aspects of Kant's thought pave the way for the philosophical "constructivism" embraced by both Whitehead and Deleuze. Kant, Whitehead, and Deleuze are not commonly grouped together, but the juxtaposition of them in Without Criteria helps to shed light on a variety of issues that are of concern to contemporary art and media practices.
  • BEIQX
    Slavoj Zizek
    • £7.69
    • RRP £7.99
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    Call it the year of dreaming dangerously: in 2011 we all witnessed (and participated in) a series of shattering events. Emancipatory dreams mobilized protesters in New York, Tahrir Square, London and Athens - and there were the obscure destructive dreams propelling the mass murderer Breivik and racist populists all around the world, from the Netherlands and Hungary to Arizona. The subterranean work of dissatisfaction is continuing: rage is accumulating and a new wave of revolts will follow. Why? Because the events of 2011 were signs from the future: we should analyze them as limited, distorted (sometimes even perverted) fragments of a utopian future which lies dormant in the present as its hidden potential.
  • BEJDG
    • £26.99
    Kai Nielsen is one of Canada's most distinguished political philosophers. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has published more than 400 papers in political philosophy, ethics, meta-philosophy, and philosophy of religion. He has engaged much of the best work in Anglophone political philosophy, shedding light on many of the central debates and controversies of our time but throughout has remained a unique voice on the political left. Pessimism of the Intellect , Optimism of the Will: The Political Philosophy of Kai Nielsen presents a thoughtful collection of Nielsen's essays complemented by an extended reflective interview with Nielsen. This collection allows the reader to grasp the systematic scope of his thought and methodology.
  • BELZV
    • £25.95
    G. A. Cohen was one of the most gifted, influential, and progressive voices in contemporary political philosophy. At the time of his death in 2009, he had plans to bring together a number of his most significant papers. This is the first of three volumes to realize those plans. Drawing on three decades of work, it contains previously uncollected articles that have shaped many of the central debates in political philosophy, as well as papers published here for the first time. In these pieces, Cohen asks what egalitarians have most reason to equalize, he considers the relationship between freedom and property, and he reflects upon ideal theory and political practice. Included here are classic essays such as "Equality of What?" and "Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat," along with more recent contributions such as "Fairness and Legitimacy in Justice," "Freedom and Money," and the previously unpublished "How to Do Political Philosophy." On ample display throughout are the clarity, rigor, conviction, and wit for which Cohen was renowned. Together, these essays demonstrate how his work provides a powerful account of liberty and equality to the left of Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, and Isaiah Berlin.
  • BEMIO
    Jean Baudrillard
    • £11.95
    History that repeats itself turns to farce. But a farce that repeats itself ends up making a history.--from The Agony of PowerIn these previously unpublished manuscripts written just before his death in 2007, Jean Baudrillard takes a last crack at the bewildering situation currently facing us as we exit the system of "domination" (based on alienation, revolt, revolution) and enter a world of generalized "hegemony" in which everyone becomes both hostage and accomplice of the global market. But in the free-form market of political and sexual liberation, as the possibility of revolution (and our understanding of it) dissipates, Baudrillard sees the hegemonic process as only beginning. Once expelled, negativity returns from within ourselves as an antagonistic force--most vividly in the phenomenon of terrorism, but also as irony, mockery, and the symbolic liquidation of all human values. This is the dimension of hegemony marked by an unbridled circulation--of capital, goods, information, or manufactured history--that is bringing the very concept of exchange to an end and pushing capital beyond its limits: to the point at which it destroys the conditions of its own existence. In the system of hegemony, the alienated, the oppressed, and the colonized find themselves on the side of the system that holds them hostage. In this paradoxical moment in which history has turned to farce, domination itself may appear to have been a lesser evil.This book gathers together two essays--"The Agony of Power" and "From Domination to Hegemony"--and a related interview with Baudrillard from 2005, "The Roots of Evil." Semiotext(e) launched Baudrillard into English back in the early 1980s; now, as our media and information infested "ultra-reality" finally catches up with his theory, Semiotext(e) offers The Agony of Power, Baudrillard's unsettling coda.
  • BEOMT
    Slavoj Zizek
    • £11.69
    • RRP £12.99
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    The underlying premise of the book is a simple one: the global capitalist system is approaching an apocalyptic zero-point. Its four riders of the apocalypse are the ecological crisis, the consequences of the biogenetic revolution, the imbalances within the system itself (problems with intellectual property, the forthcoming struggle for raw materials, food and water), and the explosions of social divisions and exclusions. Society's first reaction is ideological denial, then explosions of anger at the injustices of the new world order, attempts at bargaining, and when this fails, depression and withdrawal set in. Finally, after passing through this zero-point we no longer perceive it as a threat, but as the chance for a new beginning. Or, as Mao Zedong might have put it, There is great disorder under heaven, the situation is excellent.A" A iA ek traces out in detail these five stances, makes a plea for a return to the Marxian critique of political economy, and sniffs out the first signs of a budding communist culture in all its diverse forms-in utopias that range from Kafka's community of mice to the collective of freak outcasts in the TV series Heroes.
  • BAAAX
    Carlos Fraenkel
    • £22.95
    Teaching Plato in Palestine is part intellectual travelogue, part plea for integrating philosophy into our personal and public life. Philosophical toolkit in tow, Carlos Fraenkel invites readers on a tour around the world as he meets students at Palestinian and Indonesian universities, lapsed Hasidic Jews in New York, teenagers from poor neighborhoods in Brazil, and the descendants of Iroquois warriors in Canada. They turn to Plato and Aristotle, al-Ghaz?l? and Maimonides, Spinoza and Nietzsche for help to tackle big questions: Does God exist? Is piety worth it? Can violence be justified? What is social justice and how can we get there? Who should rule? And how shall we deal with the legacy of colonialism? Fraenkel shows how useful the tools of philosophy can be--particularly in places fraught with conflict--to clarify such questions and explore answers to them. In the course of the discussions, different viewpoints often clash. That's a good thing, Fraenkel argues, as long as we turn our disagreements on moral, religious, and philosophical issues into what he calls a "culture of debate." Conceived as a joint search for the truth, a culture of debate gives us a chance to examine the beliefs and values we were brought up with and often take for granted. It won't lead to easy answers, Fraenkel admits, but debate, if philosophically nuanced, is more attractive than either forcing our views on others or becoming mired in multicultural complacency--and behaving as if differences didn't matter at all.
  • BAALF
    Dieter Grimm
    • £66.95
    Dieter Grimm's accessible introduction to the concept of sovereignty ties the evolution of the idea to historical events, from the religious conflicts of sixteenth-century Europe to today's trends in globalization and transnational institutions. Grimm wonders whether recent political changes have undermined notions of national sovereignty, comparing manifestations of the concept in different parts of the world. Geared for classroom use, the study maps various notions of sovereignty in relation to the people, the nation, the state, and the federation, distinguishing between internal and external types of sovereignty. Grimm's book will appeal to political theorists and cultural-studies scholars and to readers interested in the role of charisma, power, originality, and individuality in political rule.
  • BAGUJ
    Felix Guattari
    • £14.95
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    Originally published in French in 1972, Psychoanalysis and Transversality gathers all the articles that Felix Guattari wrote between 1955 and 1971. It provides a fascinating account of his intellectual and political itinerary before Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972), the ground-breaking book he wrote with Gilles Deleuze, propelled him to the forefront of contemporary French philosophy. Guattari's background was unlike that of any of his peers. In 1953, with psychoanalyst Jean Oury, he founded the La Borde psychiatric clinic, which was based on the principle that one cannot treat psychotics without modifying the entire institutional context. For Guattari, the purpose of "institutional psychotherapy" was not just to cure psychotic patients, but also to learn with them a different relation to the world. A dissident in the French Communist Party and active in far-left politics (he participated in the May 1968 student rebellion), Guattari realized early on that it was possible to introduce analysis into political groups. Considered as open machines (subject-groups) rather than self-contained structures (subjugated groups), these subject-groups shunned hierarchy and vertical structures, developing transversally, rhizomatizing through other groups. Psychoanalysis and Transversality collects twenty-four essays by Guattari, including his foundational 1964 article on transversality, and a superb introduction by Gilles Deleuze, "Three Group-Related Problems."
  • BAHOP
    Giorgio Agamben
    • £11.99
    Offers Agamben's genealogy of power in terms of political, philosophical and legal thought. This book investigates the genealogy of the strife between the Polis and its population with particular regard to the Greek concept of stasis and the strife with the commonwealth of Hobbes' Leviathan. It re opens the questioning of the answers offered from the pre history of the power of the State all the way to the time after the end of its power and towards the renewed questioning of the state of power today. This is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relations that form historically and theoretically between law and philosophy. It is a unique simultaneous investigation into the laws of philosophy and the philosophies of law. It focusses on the creativity of the legal and philosophical imagination in the face of the present social situation. It explores legal and philosophical concepts and modalities in relation to the formation and intersection of institutional traditions, histories and ideas.
  • BAIYA
    • £8.76
    • RRP £10.95
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    More than ever, people across the planet want deep and meaningful change. From those campaigning for social justice and ecological sustainability, to those who want to protect animals, indigenous cultures and those in poverty, millions are realising that another world is not only possible, but absolutely essential. Yet despite the creative and determined efforts of so many, our crises deepen. A politico-economic system, increasingly benefiting a small elite, has brought us to the brink of climate catastrophe, ransacking ecosystems and unravelling communities, forcing us into unhealthy ways of life that conflict with our deepest yearnings. The problem may no longer be a lack of will - but a dogmatic adherence to laws and cultural narratives designed to keep things just the way they are. In this incendiary book, best-selling author Mark Boyle explores, with terrible beauty, the uncharted depths of these challenges, and how we might face them with dignity, great heart and potency.Drawing on inspiration from the natural world, he sets out the case for the rewilding of our political landscapes, calling for solidarity between reformers, revolutionaries and resisters for the creation of a world worth sustaining. His uncompromising and surprising conclusions could revolutionise the way we face the challenges of our time.
  • BAJLY
    Andrew Sabl
    • £24.95
    Hume's Politics provides a comprehensive examination of David Hume's political theory, and is the first book to focus on Hume's monumental History of England as the key to his distinctly political ideas. Andrew Sabl argues that conventions of authority are the main building blocks of Humean politics, and explores how the History addresses political change and disequilibrium through a dynamic treatment of coordination problems. Dynamic coordination, as employed in Hume's work, explains how conventions of political authority arise, change, adapt to new social and economic conditions, improve or decay, and die. Sabl shows how Humean constitutional conservatism need not hinder--and may in fact facilitate--change and improvement in economic, social, and cultural life. He also identifies how Humean liberalism can offer a systematic alternative to neo-Kantian approaches to politics and liberal theory. At once scholarly and accessibly written, Hume's Politics builds bridges between political theory and political science. It treats issues of concern to both fields, including the prehistory of political coordination, the obstacles that must be overcome in order for citizens to see themselves as sharing common political interests, the close and counterintuitive relationship between governmental authority and civic allegiance, the strategic ethics of political crisis and constitutional change, and the ways in which the biases and injustices endemic to executive power can be corrected by legislative contestation and debate.
  • BAKUM
    Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen
    • £21.99
    Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen tackles all the major questions concerning luck egalitarianism, providing deep, penetrating and original discussion of recent academic discourses on distributive justice as well as responses to some of the main objections in the literature. It offers a new answer to the "Why equality?" and "Equality of what?" questions, and provides a robust luck egalitarian response to the recent criticisms of luck egalitarianism by social relations egalitarians. This systematic, theoretical introduction illustrates the broader picture of distributive justice and enables the reader to understand the core intuitions underlying, or conflicting with, luck egalitarianism.
  • BANCE
    Cesar Rendueles
    • £21.00
    The great ideological cliche of our time, Cesar Rendueles argues in Sociophobia, is the idea that communication technologies can support positive social dynamics and improve economic and political conditions. We would like to believe that the Internet has given us the tools to overcome modernity's practical dilemmas and bring us into closer relation, but recent events show how technology has in fact driven us farther apart. Named one of the ten best books of the year by Babelia El Pais, Sociophobia looks at the root causes of neoliberal utopia's modern collapse. It begins by questioning the cyber-fetishist dogma that lulls us into thinking our passive relationship with technology plays a positive role in resolving longstanding differences. Rendueles claims that the World Wide Web has produced a diminished rather than augmented social reality. In other words, it has lowered our expectations with respect to political interventions and personal relations. In an effort to correct this trend, Rendueles embarks on an ambitious reassessment of our antagonistic political traditions to prove that post-capitalism is not only a feasible, intimate, and friendly system to strive for but also essential for moving past consumerism and political malaise.
  • BANCZ
    Bart Schultz
    • £32.95
    A colorful history of utilitarianism told through the lives and ideas of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and its other founders In The Happiness Philosophers, Bart Schultz tells the colorful story of the lives and legacies of the founders of utilitarianism--one of the most influential yet misunderstood and maligned philosophies of the past two centuries. Best known for arguing that "it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong," utilitarianism was developed by the radical philosophers, critics, and social reformers William Godwin (the husband of Mary Wollstonecraft and father of Mary Shelley), Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart and Harriet Taylor Mill, and Henry Sidgwick. Together, they had a profound influence on nineteenth-century reforms, in areas ranging from law, politics, and economics to morals, education, and women's rights. Their work transformed life in ways we take for granted today. Bentham even advocated the decriminalization of same-sex acts, decades before the cause was taken up by other activists. As Bertrand Russell wrote about Bentham in the late 1920s, "There can be no doubt that nine-tenths of the people living in England in the latter part of last century were happier than they would have been if he had never lived." Yet in part because of its misleading name and the caricatures popularized by figures as varied as Dickens, Marx, and Foucault, utilitarianism is sometimes still dismissed as cold, calculating, inhuman, and simplistic. By revealing the fascinating human sides of the remarkable pioneers of utilitarianism, The Happiness Philosophers provides a richer understanding and appreciation of their philosophical and political perspectives--one that also helps explain why utilitarianism is experiencing a renaissance today and is again being used to tackle some of the world's most serious problems.