Written by Andrew Levine
Publication Date: October 1, 1998 | ISBN-10: 0801435439 | ISBN-13: 978-0801435430 | Edition: 1
For more than a quarter century, academic political philosophy has been dominated by strains of liberal theory shaped decisively by John Rawls's seminal investigations of distributive justice and political legitimacy. By intervening sympathetically but critically into several ongoing debates initiated by Rawls's work, Andrew Levine suggests the possibility of a supra-liberal egalitarian political philosophy that incorporates the insights of recent developments in liberal theory, while reinvigorating the political vision of the historical Left. Taking current discussions about justice, equality and political neutrality as his points of departure, Levine suggests the need to rethink mainstream liberal understandings of equality and related notions. The rethinking he proposes lends support, ultimately, for a vision of ideal social and political arrangements of a kind intimated, though only barely sketched, in the work of Rousseau and Marx--a vision that, not long ago, was widely endorsed, but that nowadays is almost everywhere regarded as hopelessly utopian.
In marked opposition to the reigning consensus view, Levine argues that, after compelling liberal concerns are taken into consideration, the vision of ideal social and political arrangements which motivated generations of progressive thinkers and political actors is anything but utopian and remains as timely today as it ever was. This vision, Levine insists, is indispensable for curing contemporary liberalism of its tendency to acquiesce in a status quo that is ultimately at odds with democratic, egalitarian and even liberal values.
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