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عنوان: Philosophy and Real Politics
مؤلف: Raymond Geuss
مترجم: -
ناشر: Princeton University Press
سال انتشار: 2008
امتیاز آمازون:
تعداد صفحات: 126
شابک: 691137889
شابک(13): 9780691137889
مشخصات: viii, 116 p. ; 23 cm.
رده بندی کنگره: JA71
دیویی: 320.01
دیویی نرمال: 320.01
نوع فایل: RAR
حجم فایل: 1 مگابایت
قیمت پشت جلد: $15.96
قیمت خرید:

1900 تومان

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چکیده

Many contemporary political thinkers are gripped by the belief that their task is to develop an ideal theory of rights or justice for guiding and judging political actions. But in Philosophy and Real Politics, Raymond Geuss argues that philosophers should first try to understand why real political actors behave as they actually do. Far from being applied ethics, politics is a skill that allows people to survive and pursue their goals. To understand politics is to understand the powers, motives, and concepts that people have and that shape how they deal with the problems they face in their particular historical situations.

Philosophy and Real Politics both outlines a historically oriented, realistic political philosophy and criticizes liberal political philosophies based on abstract conceptions of rights and justice. The book is a trenchant critique of established ways of thought and a provocative call for change.

 
نظرات
 
Densely Written, Sometimes Quo


The author seeks to construct a theoretical language--a "voice," as the postmoderns would say--that can account for what has happened to our country. He writes about "inverted totalitarianism," which rather than mobilizing the masses, marginalizes them into passivity. He also names and discusses "managed democracy," where the demos--the general population--in matter of fact does *not* govern by wielding real power. Instead, a variety of mechanisms constellate in such a way that all the masses are left with is voting...and even that is increasingly questionable as a reliable expression of their desire. This is true not only because of events such as occurred in Florida in 2000, but because the entire process of candidate selection and vetting is drenched in corruption and media bias. "Qualified" candidates are those who are supported by and will faithfully reproduce existing power relations, maintain the Superpower empire, and continue to pass the public's dollars into the usual few hands of the wealthy.

He details this, though the book is less a recounting of historical events than it is the development of the "voice" to account for it. At the end of this book, he devotes only a couple of pages to addressing what might be done to restore democracy in its full, and meaningful sense. The author suggests that there is not *a* people in America, but that there are many peoples, and this makes me recall Foucault's notion of "regions of validity." The various "interest groups" and "profiles" that we see and hear about in abundance are reflective, Wolin suggests, of real groupings, albeit ones portrayed in a far-from-disinterested manner by the media. It is within these "regions" or via particular groups--ethnic, racial, civic, etc.--that Wolin suggests efforts might be made.

This book suggested to me that he could write a sequel, in which he would flesh out the work to be done. If he does, I hope he might be able to write without creating and centering upon an "alternate language," because I don't see "inverted totalitarianism" as having a great future in political discourse. Simple and nonjargon terms are always best, because wherever possible it is best to use the language that people already employ in their daily lives.
 
2009/02/02

The SERIOUS Liberal


Wolin's classic "Politics and Vision" has served students of political theory well. It is more than a survey of political thinking; Wolin passionately argues for the distinction between thinking politically and philosophy, locating in the greats from Plato to Marx that failure to extol the political animal first identified and defined by Aristotle. The newest edition contains several new chapters which have been broken off and published under the clever title "Democracy Inc." Wolin brings his customary intelligence. He writes clearly for someone in the social sciences. His central point is clearly well worth making, although it is not a new argument. In fact, here perhaps more than elsewhere Wolin sounds like Adorno and other members of the Frankfurt School, who wrote so well and extensively 50 years ago on mass culture and the curtailment of political life. Wolin can be clever, witty, and also shallow. He seems to side in a typically academic way with NY Times liberalism. Sometimes you get the idea that he really believes in the difference between Newsweek and Time magazines, Gore and Bush, etc. One can almost hear him humming if not singing along with Obama's fans, the now-famous tune "Yes, We Can," although if McCain had been elected he'd be writing a book titled grumpily, "Now, We Can't." It is not that Wolin is optimistic but that he locates the malaise of our time firmly in the "right-wing" camp, without notice and concern for the degradation of our partisan landscape. He is, in short, naive. I also think his populism is too comfortable, that is, he misses the masses but seems unable to recognize why our best thinkers have feared them. It is also clear that he sees terrorism as a figment of our collective imaginations or as a sign of a witch hunt on the order of McCarthyism, as though the Twin Towers fell on their own accord. Wolin can be tough, and is very good on seeing emptiness for what it is, but when he strives to fill that void with old copies of the Nation magazine, I think we are being taken for a ride.
 
2009/01/12

Managed democracy


A great book; well argued. The influence of 'corporate America' on the body politic is, in my view, well beyond repeal and thus any semblence or vestiges of democracy salvageable. Although differing in form from the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy and Spain, many of the substantive elements in governance common to these regimes can be found in present day America. Unlike the history and evolution or transition of these regimes in to totalitarian governments, the transition to an 'inverted' American totalitarianism has been qualitatively different - but nonetheless effective. All under the veneer and guise of a democracy.
This book should be required reading for all Americans.
 
2008/06/19

A brilliant formulation of the


Author makes a compelling case that the direction of our contemporary politics is toward a political system that is the very opposite of what our leadership, the mass media, opinion leaders, think tanks etc. claim it is--ie, the world's foremost exemplary of democracy. The consummated union of corporate power and governmental power has resulted in an American version of a total system, which he calls "inverted totalitarianism." Unlike traditional totalitarianism (Nazi Germany, Stalin's USSR etc.) the American system of control is not to mobilize the populace, but to distract it, to encourage a sense of dependency (by cultivating fear, calling everything a "war,") and by actully encouraging political disengagement (claiming that our government, which is supposed to be democracy's agent for helping promote the common good, is actually the "enemy.") The destiny of the USA is fast slipping from popular control, while our citizenry shows little interest or concern.
A very provocative book.
LFFenster
 
2008/06/19

Managed Democracy, Superpower,


This is a seminal work which "tells it like it is" concerning the current power arrangements in the American political system, as well as the political leadership's aspirations towards global empire. Prof. Wolin sets the tone of his work on page 1, with the juxtaposition of the imagery of Adolph Hitler landing in a small plane at the 1934 rally at Nuremberg, as shown in Leni Reifenstahl's "Triumph of the Will," and George Bush landing on the aircraft carrier "Abraham Lincoln" in 2003. Certainly one of the dominant themes of the book is comparing the operating power structure in the United States with various totalitarian regimes of the past: Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Prof Wolin emphasizes the differences between these totalitarian powers, and the softer concentration of power in the United States, which he dubs "inverted totalitarianism."

The book is rich with insights - the best way to savor Prof. Wolin's erudition is in small chunks. He shows the influence of the ancient Greeks, both Plato, as well as the Athenian political operative, Alcibiades, on the neo-cons "founding father," Leo Strauss. He examines in detail the efforts of some of America's own "founding fathers," particularly Madison and Hamilton, on how democracy should be contained and managed. He quotes at length an amazingly prescient passage from Tocqueville predicting one possible scenario for the future of the American democracy, which ends with "...and finally reduces each nation to nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd" (p79-80). He also discusses the profound impact of the "National Security Strategy of the United States" document of 2002 on the traditional vision of the values and rights expressed in the Constitution. He raises awkward questions - asking why there were massive public demonstrations in the Ukraine, in 2004, following an election deeply flawed by fraud, which ultimately lead to a new election; yet there were no popular demonstrations in the United States, a country with much stronger democratic traditions following the irregularities in the 2000 election.

He seasons his learning with nuggets of wry wit: "such a verdict after Florida would be an expression of black (sic) humor. (p102); "... to endorse a candidate or a party for reasons that typically pay only lip service to the basic need of most citizens...It speciousness is the political counterpart to products that promise beauty, health, relief of pain, and an end to erectile dysfunction." (p231); and "No collective memory means no collective guilt; surely My Lai is the name of a rock star." (p275). He also has a knack for using the popular phrases for a given sentiment, for example: "get government off our backs."

As other observers have also noted, there is the sharpest of contrasts between FDR's maxim that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself" to the current constant promotion of holding the citizenry in a constant state of fear, admirably summarized on the domestic front by: "Downsizing, reorganization, bubbles bursting, unions busted, quickly outdated skills, and transfer of jobs abroad create not just fear but an economy of fear..." (p67)

For all the above, Prof. Wolin deserves 5 and ½ stars, but I did think his presentation was marred by poor organization, redundancy, and lapses into turgid prose. For example, on p. 190, long after the issue has been thoroughly discussed, he says "The administration seized on 9/11 to declare a `war on terrorism.'" Similarly, on p. 202 he says "Historically, the legislative branch was supposed to be the power closest to the citizenry..." Numerous other examples could be cited. Also, I tried - real hard- to come to terms with the term "inverted totalitarianism" but just never could - the intrinsic meaning simply is not there, like as in "managed democracy." Perhaps something like a "hyper-concentration of power" conveys the meaning better.

Overall though, the book is an essential read for anyone interested in the current state of the world.
 
2008/06/17

 
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