Critical Concepts in Political Science
Edited by G.W. Smith
Introduction by G.W. Smith
Routledge – 2003 – 1,792 pages
Encompassing the relationship between the state and the individual, society and the individual, the nature of freedom and the concept of the person, this four-volume set covers the main tenets of the liberal tradition. The collection includes material from the rich background and history of classical writings, and also emphasizes modern scholarship and contemporary issues.
Fully indexed and including a new introduction by the editor, this is an invaluable reference tool for both researchers and students in the field.
Volume I: Ideas of Freedom
Identifies a number of salient liberal concerns, preoccupations and positions as they have been addressed by contemporary (post-Second World War) liberals and their critics in the Anglo-American tradition of liberalism. It is divided into three sections: 'Identifying Liberalism', 'Liberal Themes', and the question of the nature of liberal freedom.
Volume II: Liberty and Rights
That freedom is impossible without rights is generally taken to be a cliche of liberalism. This volume begins with consideration of Hayek's influential and very distinctive defence of liberalism. The following section on 'Rights' takes a more orthodox line and presents a selection of liberal arguments for the moral basis of individual liberty. Also included are lively debates within liberalism between libertarians, who may be regarded as radical liberals, and other liberals. The final section - 'The Grounds of Basic Rights' - broaches the topic that has preoccupied liberal philosophers most in recent years and will be taken up at length in subsequent volumes, namely the question of liberal 'foundations'.
Volume III: Justice and Reason
The idea of 'consent' as the only valid legitimation of the authority of the state is historically very much a liberal theme. In recent years this idea has been developed in a number of complex and sophisticated liberal theories of justice, of which those of John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin are perhaps the most influential. Here the development of these ideas is traced from early responses to Rawls's liberal classic A Theory of Justice, through the alternative of 'liberal perfectionism', to the idea of 'political liberalism' as initiated by Rawls in his later writing s and developed by thinkers such as Larmore, Nagel and Ackerman. The volume concludes with a number of critiques of political liberalism.
Volume IV: The Limits of Liberalism
The theme of the final volume is critiques of liberalism. It will include inter alia sections on 'Pluralism and Liberalism', 'Liberalism, Equality and Resources', 'The Marxian Critique of Liberal Values', 'Liberalism and Multiculturalism', and 'What is living and what is dead in liberalism?'