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Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691088310
ISBN-10: 0691088314
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"This book is an extraordinary achievement. It is brilliantly conceived and executed, closely argued and erudite, sensitive to textual and political nuance and lucid even at its most inventive and sophisticated. . . . Particular discussions of thinkers, actors and issues are as original as the architecture of the work as a whole. Thus one learns something significant not only about Rousseau, Tocqueville, Madison, Frances Williard, Martin Luther King, Saul Alinsky, and Everett Dirksen, but about larger issues such as what Sabl calls democratic constancy, philosophy and politics, theory and institutions. Many of the book's formulations are memorable, almost all are provocative in ways that stimulate reflection. There is much to argue with in this book, but every argument is one worth having."--Peter Euben, author of Corrupting Youth and The Tragedy of Political Theory

"This is a significant, highly original, and interesting contribution to our understanding of political ethics. The author displays a mastery of a large theoretical literature, which he brings to bear in a restrained way to shed light on the ethical obligations of politicians."--Joseph Bessette, Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics, Claremont-McKenna College --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"This book is an extraordinary achievement. It is brilliantly conceived and executed, closely argued and erudite, sensitive to textual and political nuance and lucid even at its most inventive and sophisticated. . . . Particular discussions of thinkers, actors and issues are as original as the architecture of the work as a whole. Thus one learns something significant not only about Rousseau, Tocqueville, Madison, Frances Williard, Martin Luther King, Saul Alinsky, and Everett Dirksen, but about larger issues such as what Sabl calls democratic constancy, philosophy and politics, theory and institutions. Many of the book's formulations are memorable, almost all are provocative in ways that stimulate reflection. There is much to argue with in this book, but every argument is one worth having."--Peter Euben, author of Corrupting Youth and The Tragedy of Political Theory

"This is a significant, highly original, and interesting contribution to our understanding of political ethics. The author displays a mastery of a large theoretical literature, which he brings to bear in a restrained way to shed light on the ethical obligations of politicians."--Joseph Bessette, Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics, Claremont-McKenna College

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691088314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691088310
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,798,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mark Kleiman on March 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Andrew Sabl has written that most unusual of documents: a book on political theory that will be of real use to those who actually practice politics, including those of us who exercise the supreme office of citizen and voter. Facing squarely the problems set by the existence of real moral disagreements and the real contention of interests, he asks how the holders of what he calls "offices" (which others of a more sociological turn might call "roles") ought to act if the project of democratic self-rule is to be carried through. He argues -- convicingly, at least to me -- that different offices imply different sets of moral guidelines: that a good senator and a good community organizer are good in different ways, and that neither one can fulfill his office simply by acting out in public some version (any version) of what private ethics defines as a good person.
As a bonus, Sabl writes clearly and elegantly; Ruling Passions is a pleasure to read. A must for the scholar, the book is completely accessible to the general reader who is willing to stretch his mind just a little.
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The very idea of this book is fascinating: different people in different positions have different duties towards the public they serve or are trying to influence. Hence a much more complex and subtle discussion of a range of ethical issues than one often finds. Sabl's execution is impressive both in its subtle argumentation and its ample documentation. Certainly one of the most interesting new books in political science.
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