Engaging Political Philosophy introduces readers to the central problems of political philosophy. Presuming no prior work in the area, the book explores the fundamental philosophical questions regarding freedom, authority, justice, and democracy. More than a survey of the central figures and texts, Engaging Political Philosophy takes readers on a philosophical exploration of the core of the field, directly examining the arguments and concepts that drive the contemporary debates. Thus the fundamental issues of political philosophy are encountered first-hand, rather than through intermediary summaries of the major texts and theories. As a result, readers are introduced to political philosophy by doing philosophy. Written in a conversational style, Engaging Political Philosophy is accessible to students and general readers. Instructors can use it in the classroom as a stand-alone textbook, a complement to a standard collection of historical readings, or as a primer to be studied in preparation for contemporary readings.
Table of Contents
Preface. Part 1: Setting the Task. 1. Some Preliminary Considerations. 2. Beginning Where We Are. Part 2: Fundamental Concepts. 3. Liberty. 4. Authority. 5. Justice. 6. Democracy. Conclusion: Politics without Certainty
Robert B. Talisse is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Political Science, and Chairperson of the Philosophy Department at Vanderbilt University. His research specialization is political philosophy, with special focus on democratic theory.
"The book is written in a conversational tone, and pitched to the average, educated reader, but is clearly appropriate for introductory philosophy courses. Talisse does a fine job of laying out and discussing core components of central debates. He treats the debates as ongoing discussions, and encourages readers to join. The book covers a broad area, but Talisse brings in plenty of detail, offers and discusses many subtle distinctions and arguments, and presents many helpful illustrations. All things considered, this is a well-planned, useful, and engaging book."
Walter Riker, Journal of Moral Philosophy
"Robert B. Talisse’s Engaging Political Philosophy: An Introduction offers an exemplary approach to teaching philosophical inquiry, one that retrieves narrative and social context as frameworks for grappling with perennial problems facing politics in general and political philosophy in particular. . . . As many of us attempt to cultivate engaging and challenging classrooms, and generate excitement in areas of study like political thought, Engaging Political Philosophy is an excellent resource for improving pedagogical strategies and introducing political thought in creative and engaging ways."
--Terrence L. Johnson in Teaching Philosophy
"Robert Talisse's Engaging Political Philosophy is an insightful and intelligent introduction to contemporary political philosophy. Written in a personable and conversational style, it takes the reader on a balanced and perceptive tour of the field. The key positions and concepts in political philosophy are presented with clarity and precision. Most importantly, it does this without disengaging political philosophy from the real world. Talisse has given us one of the best introductions on the subject in recent years."
--Kok-Chor Tan, University of Pennsylvania, USA
"In this terrific introduction to political philosophy, Robert Talisse succeeds in making complex philosophical ideas clear and accessible. Anyone wishing to learn about the discipline would do well to turn to it. As the title suggests, this is an engaging work."
--Corey Brettschneider, Brown University, USA
"Engaging Political Philosophy is a fabulous introduction to the subject that not only teaches students philosophy, but how to think philosophically. Talisse provides a wonderfully lucid and engaging guide that will benefit anyone with an interest in political philosophy."
--Thom Brooks, Durham University, UK
"In limpid prose Talisse distills the essence of very important and complex debates in political philosophy around the central notions of freedom, authority, justice, and democracy. The book is as engaging as the title promises, while maintaining a high standard of philosophical integrity. A must read."
--Helene Landemore, Yale University, USA
"Engaging Political Philosophy approaches classic topics as open-ended, unresolved, and important problems, demonstrating by example ways that philosophical methods and expertise lead us to consider new possibilities and solutions to our most familiar political challenges. The book's systematic integration of the vast range of ideas informing contemporary political philosophy illuminated my own understanding of the field and provides new tools that I'm excited to use in teaching these topics in the future."
--Melissa Yates, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA