The first political theory of post-Communism examines its implications for understanding liberty, rights, transitional justice, property rights, privatization, rule of law, centrally planned public institutions, and the legacies of totalitarian thought in language and discourse. The transition to post-totalitarianism was the spontaneous adjustment of the rights of the late-totalitarian elite to its interest. Post-totalitarian governments faced severe scarcity in the supply of justice. Rough justice punished the perpetrators and compensated their victims. Historical theories of property rights became radical, and consequentialist theories, conservative. Totalitarianism in Europe disintegrated but did not end. The legacies of totalitarianism in higher education met New Public Management, totalitarian central planning under a new label. Totalitarianism divorced language from reality through the use of dialectics that identified opposites and the use of logical fallacies to argue for ideological conclusions. This book illustrates these legacies in the writings of Habermas, Derrida, and Žižek about democracy, personal responsibility, dissidence, and totalitarianism.
How do historians, comparative linguists, biblical and textual critics and evolutionary biologists establish beliefs about the past? How do they know the past? This book presents a philosophical analysis of the disciplines that offer scientific knowledge of the past. <P><P> Using the analytic tools of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science the book covers such topics as evidence, theory, methodology, explanation, determination and underdetermination, coincidence, contingency and counterfactuals in historiography. Aviezer Tucker's central claim is that historiography as a scientific discipline should be thought of as an effort to explain the evidence of past events. He also emphasizes the similarity between historiographic methodology to Darwinian evolutionary biology. This is an important, fresh approach to historiography and will be read by philosophers, historians and social scientists interested in the methodological foundations of their disciplines.
How do we decide what is good and bad? What is virtue? What constitutes a meaningful life? These are some of the intractable, still-relevant questions that the ancient Greek philosopher Plato grappled with 2,500 years ago. Unfortunately, Plato's dialogues, featuring his famous mentor Socrates, often prove difficult to understand for many contemporary readers. Students today miss the ancient cultural and historical references, and they have trouble following Plato's arguments as presented in dialogue format. This book remedies these problems by recasting five of Plato's dialogues into accessible and entertaining short stories in modern settings. The Euthyphro becomes a tale about a televangelist bent on disowning his son at a denominational boarding school in rural Virginia; the Crito - retitled "What do you have to do for your country?" - is focused on the question of whether a US citizen who considers a current war to be unjust should avoid a military draft by moving to Canada. In all of the stories (the Meno, the Statesman, and Phaedo are also included), the central character is Socrates, just as in the original dialogues, but here the maverick philosopher appears in twenty-first-century guise. The author, who has taught philosophy for many years, captures the tone, wit, and philosophical essence of Plato's dialogues in a modern English interpretation that is often amusing and fun to read. For instructors looking for an engaging way to interest undergraduates in Plato and for students who find the original works a bit daunting, this book offers an enlightening and enjoyable read.
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