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Just and Unjust Wars has forever changed how we think about the ethics of conflict. In this modern classic, political philosopher Michael Walzer examines the moral issues that arise before, during, and after the wars we fight. Reaching from the Athenian attack on Melos, to the Mai Lai massacre, to the current war in Afghanistan and beyond, Walzer mines historical and contemporary accounts and the testimony of participants, decision makers, and victims to explain when war is justified and what ethical limitations apply to those who wage it.
Walzer offers an eloquent defense of toleration, group differences, and pluralism, moving quickly from theory to practical issues, concrete examples, and hard questions. His concluding argument is focused on the contemporary United States and represents an effort to join and advance the debates about "culture war," the "politics of difference," and the "disuniting of America." Although he takes a grim view of contemporary politics, he is optimistic about the possibility of coexistence: cultural pluralism and a common citizenship can go together, he suggests, in a strong and egalitarian democracy.
In Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad, Michael Walzer revises and extends the arguments in his influential Spheres of Justice, framing his ideas about justice, social criticism, and national identity in light of the new political world that has arisen in the past three decades. Walzer focuses on two different but interrelated kinds of moral argument: maximalist and minimalist, thick and thin, local and universal. This new edition has a new preface and afterword, written by the author, describing how the reasoning of the book connects with arguments he made in Just and Unjust Wars about the morality of warfare.
Walzer's highly literate and fascinating blend of philosophy and historical analysis will appeal not only to those interested in the polemics surrounding Spheres of Justice and Just and Unjust Wars but also to intelligent readers who are more concerned with getting the arguments right.
Liberalism is egalitarian in principle, but why doesn’t it do more to promote equality in practice? In this book, the distinguished political philosopher Michael Walzer offers a critique of liberal theory and demonstrates that crucial realities have been submerged in the evolution of contemporary liberal thought.
In the standard versions of liberal theory, autonomous individuals deliberate about what ought to be donebut in the real world, citizens also organize, mobilize, bargain, and lobby. The real world is more contentious than deliberative. Ranging over hotly contested issues including multiculturalism, pluralism, difference, civil society, and racial and gender justice, Walzer suggests ways in which liberal theory might be revised to make it more hospitable to the claims of equality.
Combining profound learning with practical wisdom, Michael Walzer offers a provocative reappraisal of the core tenets of liberal thought. Politics and Passion will be required reading for anyone interested in social justiceand the means by which we seek to achieve it.
In his provocative, well-reasoned discussion, Walzer asks why these secular democratic movements have failed to sustain their hegemony: Why have they been unable to reproduce their political culture beyond one or two generations? In a postscript, he compares the difficulties of contemporary secularism to the successful establishment of secular politics in the early American republic—thereby making an argument for American exceptionalism but gravely noting that we may be less exceptional today.
Political Action is a how-to book for activists that was written at one of the darkest moments of the Nixon administration and remains no less timely and intelligent and useful today. Michael Walzer draws on his extensive engagement in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s to lay out the practical steps necessary to keep movement politics alive both in victory and in defeat. What do people need to do when out of outrage or fear of looming disaster they come together to demand change? Should they focus on one or several issues? Should they form coalitions? What can and can’t be accomplished through electoral politics? How can movements operate democratically? What is effective leadership? Walzer addresses such questions with clarity, concision, wisdom, and wit in a book that everywhere insists not only on the centrality of movement politics to the health of democratic societies but on the deep satisfaction that is to be found there. Political Action is both an indispensable resource for activists and a lasting and inspiring summons to arms.
In this eagerly awaited book, political theorist Michael Walzer reports his findings after decades of thinking about the politics of the Hebrew Bible. Attentive to nuance while engagingly straightforward, Walzer examines the laws, the histories, the prophecies, and the wisdom of the ancient biblical writers and discusses their views on such central political questions as justice, hierarchy, war, the authority of kings and priests, and the experience of exile.
Because there are many biblical writers with differing views, pluralism is a central feature of biblical politics. Yet pluralism, Walzer observes, is never explicitly defended in the Bible; indeed, it couldn’t be defended since God’s word had to be as singular as God himself. Yet different political regimes are described in the biblical texts, and there are conflicting political arguments—and also a recurrent anti-political argument: if you have faith in God, you have no need for strong institutions, prudent leaders, or reformist policies. At the same time, however, in the books of law and prophecy, the people of Israel are called upon to overcome oppression and “let justice well up like water, righteousness like an unfailing stream.”
Jewish legal and political thought developed in conditions of exile, where Jews had neither a state of their own nor citizenship in any other. What use, then, can this body of thought be today to Jews living in Israel or as emancipated citizens in secular democratic states? Can a culture of exile be adapted to help Jews find ways of being at home politically today? These questions are central in Law, Politics, and Morality in Judaism, a collection of essays by contemporary political theorists, philosophers, and lawyers.
How does Jewish law accommodate--or fail to accommodate--the practice of democratic citizenship? What range of religious toleration and pluralism is compatible with traditional Judaism? What forms of coexistence between Jews and non-Jews are required by shared citizenship? How should Jews operating within halakha (Jewish law) and Jewish history judge the use of force by modern states?
The authors assembled here by prominent political theorist Michael Walzer come from different points on the religious-secular spectrum, and they differ greatly in their answers to such questions. But they all enact the relationship at issue since their answers, while based on critical Jewish texts, also reflect their commitments as democratic citizens.
The contributors are Michael Walzer, David Biale, the late Robert M. Cover, Menachem Fisch, Geoffrey B. Levey, David Novak, Aviezer Ravitzky, Adam B. Seligman, Suzanne Last Stone, and Noam J. Zohar.