The Liberal Tradition in European Thought

By: Editor-David Sidorsky

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Book Condition: Used - Very Good


No marks or writing observed in text. Binding tight and square. DJ is VG. Gently read. . . . . . . . This is part of a series on liberalism and conservatism, edited volumes featuring snippets of the works of representative thinkers. There are occasionally quirky thinkers included who do not fit my sense of either political perspective. Nonetheless, the series as a whole provides entree to a rich world of political thought. This volume focuses on European liberalism. David Sidorsky, the editor, begins by defining liberalism. He observes that (Page 2): it is, first, a conception of man [sic] as desiring freedom and capable of exercising rational free choice. Second, it is a perspective on social institutions as open to rational reconstruction in the light of individual needs. It is, third, a view of history as progressively perfectible through the continuous application of human reason to social institutions. In my judgment, not a bad definition! The first set of readings focus on toleration and freedom of thought. Here, essays by Spinoza, Bayle, Locke, Kant, Bentham, Mill et al. appear. The second section looks at constitutionalism and democracy. Here, we can see snippets of works by Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Kant, mill, de Tocqueville, and Schumpeter. Part III of the book moves on to consider Progress, Economic Liberalism, and Social Democracy. Selections are authored by Adam Smith (one of the defining examples of liberalism), Condorcet (Needless to say; talk about an optimistic view of humankind!), Jeremy Bentham, Von Hayek. The final section? Nationalism, Revolution, and International Order. This section begins, fittingly, with Kant's famous work, Toward Perpetual Peace. John Stuart Mill, Mazzini, Herzen, and the United Nations'' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here and there, a quirky selection. But the inclusion of Smith and Von Hayek are altogether appropriate, to illustrate that some who are embraced by American Conservatives (some of whom, like Goldwater and Kemp) are in actuality classical liberals (I was so pleased that Kemp described himself as within the liberal tradition in his VEEP acceptance speech years ago; he got it as many other classical liberals, who call themselves conservative, do not). Anyhow, reading this with the other three volumes provides context for understanding the varying views of the world from liberal and conservative perspectives. -- Steven Peterson

Title: The Liberal Tradition in European Thought

Author Name: Editor-David Sidorsky

Categories: Philosophy,

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons: 1970

ISBN Number: B000V8W2DE

Size: Hardcover

Book Condition: Used - Very Good

Jacket Condition: Very Good

Seller ID: 82349