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Rationalism, pluralism, and freedom

Author: Jacob T Levy
Publisher: Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2015. ©2015
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First editionView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Intermediate groups- voluntary associations, churches, ethnocultural groups, universities, and more-can both protect threaten individual liberty. The same is true for centralized state action against such groups. This wide-ranging book argues that, both normatively and historically, liberal political thought rests on a deep tension between a rationalist suspicion of intermediate and local group power, and a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Jacob T Levy
ISBN: 0198717148 9780198717140
OCLC Number: 881139487
Description: xiii, 322 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Freedom, associations, and uniformity --
Two approaches --
Reunderstanding intermediate groups --
Antecedents and foundations --
The ancient constitution, the social contract, and the modern state --
Montesquieu and Voltaire, philosophes and parlements --
The age of revolutions --
Centralization in a democratic age : Tocqueville and Mill --
From liberal constitutionalism to pluralism --
The constitution of group life --
Associations are not states --
Conclusion: Against synthesis.
Other Titles: Rationalism, pluralism, & freedom
Responsibility: Jacob T. Levy.
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This book offers an original account of the history of liberal thought, one grounded in an institutional history of medieval pluralism and the early modern rationalizing state, and explores the deep  Read more...

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Levy should be applauded for advancing a vital discussion within liberal theory, and doing so in a way that is informed by philosophical, historical and social-scientific perspectives. Political Read more...

 
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   schema:description "Intermediate groups- voluntary associations, churches, ethnocultural groups, universities, and more-can both protect threaten individual liberty. The same is true for centralized state action against such groups. This wide-ranging book argues that, both normatively and historically, liberal political thought rests on a deep tension between a rationalist suspicion of intermediate and local group power, and a pluralism favorable toward intermediate group life, and preserving the bulk of its suspicion for the centralizing state. The book studies this tension using tools from the history of political thought, normative political philosophy, law, and social theory. In the process, it retells the history of liberal thought and practice in a way that moves from the birth of intermediacy in the High Middle Ages to the British Pluralists of the twentieth century. In particular it restores centrality to the tradition of ancient constitutionalism and to Montesquieu, arguing that social contract theory's contributions to the development of liberal thought have been mistaken for the whole tradition. It discusses the real threats to freedom posed both by local group life and by state centralization, the ways in which those threats aggravate each other. Though the state and intermediate groups can check and balance each other in ways that protect freedom, they may also aggravate each other's worst tendencies. Likewise, the elements of liberal thought concerned with the threats from each cannot necessarily be combined into a single satisfactory theory of freedom. While the book frequently reconstructs and defends pluralism, it ultimately argues that the tension is irreconcilable and not susceptible of harmonization or synthesis; it must be lived with, not overcome."@en ;
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