on February 2, 2006
This book is a collection of essays written by T. M. Scanlon between 1969 and 1999 to examine the standards for justifying and appraising social and political institutions. T. M. Scanlon is Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity at Harvard University.
Scanlon is methodical and thorough in his arguments and this is an exceptionally well-written book. He presents all sides of each issue and convincingly eliminates those that do not support his conclusion. The topics cover those anticipated from political philosophy, including freedom of expression, rights, due process, contractualism, value, quality of life, punishment and law, promises and contracts, and the diversity of objections to inequality.
Because Scanlon's essays are well written, the arguments are easily followed. The reader has an opportunity for reinforcing or for modifying his or her own beliefs regarding the concepts discussed. The issues are all important and this book is highly recommended for scholars and for anyone who considers him or herself to be a philosopher.
on June 10, 2004
Although he is less well-known to the general public than John Rawls or Ronald Dworkin, T.M. Scanlon may be held in even higher esteem by political philosophers working within the analytic tradition. This collection of essays in political philosophy includes five of major importance: "A Theory of Freedom of Expression," "Preference and Urgency," "Rights, Goals, and Fairness," "Contractualism and Utilitarianism," and "The Diversity of Objections to Inequality."