An Introduction to Modern Political Theory by Norman P. Barry

By Norman P. Barry

Within the considerably revised 3rd variation of this widely-used textbook Norman Barry presents a entire advent to modern political thought. The publication introduces the most issues and ideas in political debate in addition to the information of latest theorists together with Rawls, Hart, Dworkin, Nozick, and Hayek. This version gains big extra fabric at the debate among liberals and communitarians and an summary of the most positive factors of feminist political idea. Reviewers' reviews on past variants: '...well worthy reading...up-to-date and entire' - Michael Laver, British ebook information '...a succinct creation now not in basic terms to such glossy masters as Hayek, but in addition paintings performed in different disciplines...which has implications for political conception. It merits a large viewers' - Gillian Peele, occasions academic complement

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Since all human behaviour is causally determined it is argued that the way to 'improve' society is to perfect the causal mechanisms (the reinforcement agencies) and point them in some desired direction. The behaviourist's social programme, in so far as he has one, is to subject human behaviour to greater control through the learning process. The original command theory of law which explains social order in terms of threats issued by an all-powerful sovereign is, in fact, an early example of behaviourism.

The elementary principles of justice, which constitute a framework of predictability within which individuals can pursue their self-chosen goals, constitute the best examples of the rules of a liberal social order. The range of collective institutions is limited to those that are essential for the peaceful and harmonious satisfaction of necessarily subjective desires. This is obviously exemplified in market arrangements which, it is claimed, spontaneously emerge as decentralised procedures for the co-ordination of private activities.

However, this does not all mean that anti-individualism has diminished in intensity: quite the reverse. In fact, the most important feature of political philosophy in the last twenty years has been the resurgence of a particularly potent form of anti-liberalism - communitarianism. Although most of the prominent communitarians owe nothing to Marxism, the doctrines they espouse share something of that hostility to abstract individualism that Marxism has often espoused. The apparent practical success of market economies has not resulted in any kind of triumph of the philosophy that underlies that economic system.

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