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Political Philosophy: A Beginner's Guide for Students and Politicians 1st Edition

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0745628479
ISBN-10: 0745628478
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Editorial Reviews


"Adam Swift's book accomplishes a rare feat: it is at once an engaging and accessible introduction to a complex body of philosophical ideas that will be immensely useful to novices, and it is a sophisticated and original synthesis that will be of great value to seasoned academics familiar with the problems under discussion." Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin

"A stunning achievement. Beginning students will learn painlessly how to avoid the commonest blunders in the interpretation of Rawls's theory of justice (all of which have appeared in print, incidentally), and will be spared the effort to make sense of Berlin's "two concepts of liberty", thanks to Swift's crisp exploration of its multiple confusions. Politicians will, if they take it to heart, feel ashamed of pretending that the invocation of "community" solves any problems, intellectual or practical, and will understand why it is morally disreputable to pander to popular notions of desert. In addition academic political philosophers will find their criticisms of egalitarian liberalism stated clearly and succinctly, and then deftly refuted." Brian Barry, Arnold A Saltzman Professor in Philosophy and Political Science, Columbia University, New York

"Adam Swift's introduction to political philosophy is clear-headed, fair-minded and fluently written. It will be of great value to students and all those interested in contemporary debates about liberty, equality, justice and community." Michael Sandel, Professor of Government, Harvard University

"Worthwhile read!" Politico's Bookshop

"he has produced a triumph of a book that illuminates the last two decades of politics and points the way to the next...How does philosophy affect politics? Through books like this." James Purnell, MP

"It most certainly fills a market niche in the international introductory political theory / philosophy textbooks market." Contemporary Political Theory

From the Back Cover

Politicians invoke grand ideas: social justice, liberty, equality,community. But what do these ideas really mean? How can politicians across the political spectrum appeal to the same values?

Political Philosophy: A Beginners' Guide for Students and Politicians answers these important questions. Accessible and lively, the book is an ideal student text, but it also brings the insights of the world's leading political philosophers to a wide general audience. Using plenty of examples, it equips readers to think for themselves about the ideas that shape political life.

Democracy works best when both politicians and voters move beyond rhetoric to think clearly and carefully about the political principles that should govern their society. But clear thinking is difficult in an age when established orthodoxies have fallen by the wayside. Bringing political philosophy out of the ivory tower and within the reach of all, this book provides us with tools to cut through the complexities of modern politics. In so doing, it makes a valuable contribution to the democratic process.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (October 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745628478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745628479
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,499,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wanderer on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book is an excelent introduction into some of the central themes of political philosophy and is enjoyable to read, which is always a bonus for this kind of book. On the other hand Swift fails to detail the positions of many major theorists, including Rousseau and Hobbes, in fact most thinkers are only occasionally utilised when needed to furnish a point. That said the book is intended as an introductio to the issues themselves, so perhaps this is understandable. The only other minor quibble is that the book takes an extremely simplified view of most issues and lacks depth, anyone who has spent time considering political issues of their own volition may well have though of many or most of the concepts introduced within, nonetheless Swift does a good job in formalising these into concrete terms.
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