Political Obligation in Its Historical Context: Essays in Political Theory

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 11, 2002 - History - 368 pages
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What sort of commitments do human beings have good reason to acknowledge to one another and to the social units (family, tribe, state) to which they belong? Is the sovereign authority of the state anywhere or everywhere a true moral authority, or is it simply a coercive capacity of varying force, reposing on a range of effectively touted false beliefs? What political obligations, if any, do men truly have? The central questions of political philosophy have not lessened in practical urgency or in theoretical difficulty in recent decades. But they have become increasingly hard to address in an intellectually serious fashion and modern thinkers have become increasingly reluctant even to try to address them in such a fashion. Mr Dunn's collection of essays records an attempt to recapture the sense and character of these questions by approaching them from an unusually broad variety of perspectives.
 

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Contents

The identity of the history of ideas
13
Consent in the political theory of John Locke
29
The politics of Locke in England and America in the eighteenth century
53
Practising history and social science on realist assumptions
81
From democracy to representation an interpretation of a Ghanaian election
112
Hoc signo victor eris representation allegiance and obligation in the politics of Ghana and Sri Lanka
157
Democracy unretrieved or the political theory of Professor Macpherson
206
The success and failure of modern revolutions
217
Political obligations and political possibilities
243
Notes
301
Index
345
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