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In the past few decades social changes have impacted how we understand justice, as societies become both more multicultural and more interconnected globally. Much philosophical thought, however, seems to proceed in isolation from these developments. While philosophers from Plato onwards have portrayed justice as an abstract, universal ideal, Miller argues that principles of justice are always rooted in particular social contexts, and connects these ideas to the changing conditions of human life. In this important contribution to political philosophy, it is argued that philosophers need to pay more attention to the way that people actually think about what's fair, and only defend principles that are feasible to apply in the real world. To understand equality of opportunity, for example, we must explore the cultural constraints that people face when presented with life choices. Justice for Earthlings also explains how national boundaries make justice at global level different from social justice.
This book introduces readers to the key concepts of political philosophy: authority, democracy, freedom and its limits, justice, feminism, multiculturalism, and nationality. Accessibly written and assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, it encourages the reader to think clearly and critically about the leading political questions of our time. Miller first investigates how political philosophy tackles basic ethical questions such as 'how should we live together in society?' He furthermore looks at political authority, discusses the reasons society needs politics in the first place, explores the limitations of politics, and asks if there are areas of life that shouldn't be governed by politics. Moreover, he explores the connections between political authority and justice, a constant theme in political philosophy, and the ways in which social justice can be used to regulate rather than destroy a market economy. In his travels through this realm, Miller covers why nations are the natural units of government and wonders if the rise of multiculturalism and transnational co-operation will change all this, and asks in the end if we will ever see the formation of a world government.
Following an introductory chapter on the governing of metropolitan regions in the U. S. , Miller (public and international affairs, U. of Pittsburgh) examines several aspects of regional government. Coverage includes the financial system of state and local governments, defining local government, differences in state systems and metropolitan areas, a comparison of variations in the design of metropolitan systems throughout the U. S. , the debate over how metropolitan areas in the U. S. should be organized, existing regional strategies for governing metropolitan areas in the U. S. , and problems and issues arising as a result of structuring of government systems in metropolitan areas (with particular attention to racial segregation and fiscal equity between jurisdictions). Academic but accessible to the general reader interested in regional governance issues. Annotation c. Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
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