- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Penn State University Press; 1 edition (November 2, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0271020490
- ISBN-13: 978-0271020495
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,592,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism 1st Edition
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“Total Freedom offers a convincing demonstration of how crucial a role dialectics has played in the work of many of our greatest philosophers. No one interested in dialectics—or in the problems of change and interaction on which it centers—can afford to miss Sciabarra’s scholarly and surprisingly lucid history of dialectical thinking.”
—Bertell Ollman, Author of Alienation and Dialectical Investigations
“Total Freedom is a first-rate contribution to social theory and the enduring political project of a free and humane society.”
—Peter Boettke, Author of Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation
“Total Freedom is a treat: a scholarly tour de force that successfully integrates seemingly disparate intellectual traditions, while providing a feast of valuable insights whose assimilation promises to raise libertarian theory to new heights of sophistication, flexibility, and theoretical power.”
—Roderick T. Long, Journal of Ayn Rand Studies
“Total Freedom marks out a unique, and philosophically and intellectually sophisticated argument for libertarianism. A short review focused on the Austrian elements in the book cannot [do] justice to the breadth and depth of Sciabarra’s scholarship, nor to the subtlety of his arguments. For those whose interests encompass both Austrian economics and political philosophy, as well as those doing Hayek scholarship, this book is a must-read, even if the historical work on dialectics in the first half is somewhat abstract and slow-going. Sciabarra’s understanding of Austrian economics is first-rate and this path-breaking application of those ideas to both dialectical philosophy and a new set of foundations for libertarian political philosophy is a perspective that will demand our attention in the years to come.”
—Steven Horwitz, Review of Austrian Economics
“Chris Sciabarra’s Total Freedom is an astonishing work, astonishing in the depth and breadth of its scholarship, in its evidence of the use of the dialectic process by philosophers such as Aristotle, in its discovery of dialectics in the work of economists such as Murray Rothbard, and—most of all—in the firsthandedness of its author. Unlike so many other scholars and historians, Sciabarra looks at the history of philosophy through his own eyes and his own understanding. As a result, this beautifully and clearly written book will make the reader reexamine the history of philosophy and the history of dialectics by means of a new epistemological perspective: the perspective of dialectics. Total Freedom is a landmark in philosophical studies and interpretation.”
“In a lucid, scholarly, and daringly original exercise in truly independent thinking, Chris Sciabarra reclaims the concept of dialectics and makes its methodology the foundation for a radical defense of ‘the libertarian vision.’ In his originality, Sciabarra is a man ahead of his time. He stimulates us with fresh and provocative perspectives, and challenges us to join him at the intellectual heights he so persuasively traverses. Must reading for all those committed to the ideal of a truly free society.”
From the Publisher
Penn State Press has also published Sciabarra's AYN RAND: THE RUSSIAN RADICAL (1995), and his co-edited volume with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, FEMINIST INTERPRETATIONS OF AYN RAND (1999). --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first half of this book examines the history of the dialectical method and the second half applies this to Libertarian thinkers, primarily Murray Rothbard. This book is not for the faint of heart but if you are serious about the subject I recommend you give it a look.
...Chris Matthew Sciabarra's Total Freedom is a splendid and ambitious defense of an original and surprising thesis: that a dialectical libertarianism is not a contradiction in terms. Sciabarra argues that libertarians too can think dialectically while still remaining libertarians...
...Total Freedom comprises nine chapters that fall into two parts: "Dialectics: History and Meaning" (chapters 1-4) and "Libertarian Crossroads: The Case of Murray Rothbard" (chapters 5-9)...
...I recommend that after reading the introduction, one begin with chapter 4, "Defining Dialectics," which provides the necessary context for making sense of the first three chapters. Sciabarra treats dialectic as a methodological category and defines it in contradistinction to two pairs of rival methodological orientations: strict atomism versus strict organicism and dualism versus monism. He also defines dialectic as a "dynamic" and "historical" method, as opposed to a static and ahistorical one...
...Total Freedom is obligatory reading for libertarian philosophers and social scientists who are concerned with methodological issues. Sciabarra is an original thinker and an impressively accomplished scholar. In particular, the chapters on Rothbard are the most thoroughly researched, probing, and intelligent treatment of Rothbard's thought ever written. They are the most successful part of Total Freedom and might easily stand on their own. Indeed, Total Freedom is a very good book, but it might have been two great ones: a book on the method and content of dialectical social theory and a book on Murray Rothbard. If these two projects had been separated and given room to breathe and grow, both would have become well-rounded wholes. Joined together, however, they make Total Freedom less than the sum of its parts...
Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism is a stunning accomplishment on the part of this young, prolific and fascinating author. It's depth and scholarship is hardly matched and, for those who choose to take up this challenge (and it is a challenge), the rewards are there for the taking.
Sciabarra's project in this book can be seen as two-fold: the first part of the book explores the history of dialectics from figures like Plato and Aristotle, to Hegel and Kierkegaard, while the second part focuses on the use of dialectics within libertarian philosophy using Murray Rothbard as the perennial backdrop. Implicit throughout the book is Sciabarra's desire to shift the methodological orientation of libertarians and others toward the use of dialectics. Indeed, the 'ability to make interconnections amongst seemingly disparate things within a context' (a loose definition of dialectics), is precisely the task Sciabarra sets out for future scholars.
The topic itself is unbearably difficult. I had an incredibly difficult time getting through the first part with satisfactory understanding, reading and re-reading certain sections which simply escaped immediate comprehension. Sciabarra insists to also place an inordinate amount of footnotes on each page. This made me feel like he was slipping another book under my unsuspecting nose, while I flittered back and forth between footnote and the text.
This having been said, the excitement of finally grasping (I think...) the content of the first part, and being led through the awe-inspiring 'radical' anarcho-capitalist philosophy of Murray Rothbard left me with a smile on my face from ear to ear. This is a marvelous book, rife with complexity, richness, and scholarly integrity--an accomplishment the author should be proud of.
Total Freedom, concluding his trilogy, is a must read for anyone seriously concerned with negative liberty. If that's you, and I hope it is, then snatch it up.
Sciabarra defines dialectics as "the art of context-keeping" and takes us on a journey in which this method is conjoined with libertarian political philosophy -- which, in and of itself, is quite an achievement, considering that the Left has monopolized "dialectics" for years and years. No longer... this book and the other books in Sciabarra's trilogy promise to topple the left-wing monopoly on dialectical method.
A must read for anyone interested in radical politics.