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David Miller (2) (1946–)

Teoksen Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction tekijä

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David Miller (2) has been aliased into David Leslie Miller.

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Associated Works

Works have been aliased into David Leslie Miller.

Suomen poliittinen historia 1809-1966 (1975) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset13 kappaletta

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Very short, very clear, very fair. Well done!
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steve02476 | 1 muu arvostelu | Jan 3, 2023 |
I guess it is always a little problematic to take a book like this which has in its title "A very short introduction" and expect to get a good grasp of a subject by reading the 130 pages. However, David Miller does a reasonable job...covering off:
1 Historical ideas of good government
2. Political authority ....kings, despots, democracy, states, etc
3. Democracy..and it's problems...minorities, uninformed voters etc
4. Freedom and the limits of government...trading off one group's freedom for another groups rights etc
5. Justice...and fairness...The role of governments and the concept of social justice such as health and distribution of incomes
6. Feminism and multiculturalism....changes in attitudes about what is fair, and about freedom and justice
Nation States and global justice....discussing the slow move to international systems ....over-riding the Nation State systems.
He makes his own views fairly transparent and is clearly a supporter of Rawls theory of justice.
But he also certainly made me think a bit more.He poses the question....."Why was it , that for many centuries the relations between men and women and the position of minority groups were routinely ignored in the treatises of political thought?" (He might have written "for thousands of years"). And his answer is that the dominant groups in society kept them off the agenda.
And, of course, nothing is ever straightforward. Does freedom of religion mean freedom for some to proselytise and try to convert others to their religion. (What about the freedom to be protected from proselytizers?) and so on.
He suggests (as a first shot) that a person's freedom depends on the number of options open to her and her capacity to make a choice between them. And then goes on to demonstrate that the "capacity to choose" is not straightforward. He talks about human rights and the gradual growth in this field since the UN endorsed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Anyway, bottom line for me was that Miller underlined my own ignorance about much of the field of Political philosophy ...despite my studies of history and philosophy and ethics. Though I must say I wonder about the lack of perspective with political rights by virtue of the fact that they ignore humans situation as just one species (among billions of species) ....and hence ignore animal rights more generally. And maybe environmental rights entirely. And on the other hand I have often thought that there were no natural rights other than those which either we were strong enough to grab for ourselves or somebody else was gracious enough to grant us (maybe it was in their interest to grant us these rights anyway). To get to a point where you accept concepts like universal rights (for humans) you need a starting point like "fairness". And, for most of history...and even today .....life has not really been very fair to most people. Guess I'm reminded of Thrasymachus when being interviewed by Socrate's who says that justice is whatever benefits the ruler.
Anyway, I think he does an admirable job in this short introduction to political philosophy. Four stars from me.
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booktsunami | 1 muu arvostelu | Sep 28, 2019 |
This book is total hodgepodge. The author pretends to lay out a new vision of socialism which he calls "market socialism". The idea is that all productive enterprises should be cooperatives that are ruled democratically by their workers and provided with capital by state agencies. These enterprises would compete with each other to produce the benefits of the market and their cooperative mode of governance would forestall its drawbacks.

This would be mighty interesting if the author had actually constructed a plausible theoretical model of this society. But his model of cooperatives is nothing more than a brief sketch. I can't remember the last time I read a book where a central theoretical idea is left so undeveloped. Instead of working on his vision of society in detail, the author goes on to discuss a number of disparate topics around the theoretical periphery of market and state, such as consumer choice, social justice, multiculturalism, the nature of politics, citizenship and so on. Surprise surprise, none of these discussions amounts to anything because no vital links can be drawn to the author's stillborn framework for market socialism. The author invokes Hayek in one chapter and Marx in the next, but all chapters are separated from each other so no general argument emerges.

Since the author spends almost 100 pages on a "Critique of libertarianism", I should add that his reading of Hayek's "Law, Legislation and Liberty" is unfair and woefully partial in both senses of the word. Hayek's discussion of justice, which the author repeatedly refers to, is only a small part of the book. I don't understand how anyone can write a theoretical book about markets and actively refer to Hayek's work, yet fail to make any use of the most basic element of Hayek's theory: the dispersed and ordinary knowledge which comes together in markets and makes them so effective. Including this key aspect of Hayek's work wouldn't have saved the author's vision of "market socialism", but at least the hodgepodge would have been more interesting.
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thcson | Aug 26, 2015 |
Issues of contracts, rights, claims, needs, outcomes, and the critical analysis of theories and the changes political theories undergo: Hume, Spencer, Kropotkin
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vegetarian | Dec 15, 2011 |

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