Arguing About Political Philosophy
This second edition of Arguing About Political Philosophy is the most complete, up-to-date, and interdisciplinary anthology of its kind. Its selections cover both classic philosophical sources such as Hobbes and Rousseau, and contemporary figures such as Robert Nozick and G.A. Cohen. But additional excerpts from economists, psychologists, novelists, and legal theorists help students from diverse intellectual backgrounds to connect with and appreciate the problems and distinctive methodology of political philosophy.
This second edition also goes beyond any other anthology on the market in its coverage of traditionally under-represented views such as libertarianism, neo-socialism, feminism, and critical race theory. And it is one of the only anthologies to go beyond A Theory of Justice in its coverage of the political thought of John Rawls.
The volume is divided into 3 parts – Foundational Concepts; Government, the Economy and Morality; and Applied Political Philosophy – covering core arguments and emerging debates in topics like:
- social contract theory
- political economy
- property rights
- global distributive justice
The new companion website offers valuable resources for instructors and students alike, including sample quizzes, exams, and writing assignments, extensive study questions for each reading, and an online version of the "What’s Your Political Philosophy" self-assessment.
Table of Contents
Part 1 – Foundational Concepts
a. Political Authority
Social Contract Theory and its Critics
Thomas Hobbes – Excerpts from Leviathan
Robert Axelrod – Excerpts from The Evolution of Cooperation
John Locke – Excerpts from Second Treatise of Civil Government
David Hume – "Of the Original Contract"
Murray Rothbard – "Society without a State," The Libertarian Forum
Virginia Held – "Non-contractual Society: A Feminist View," Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Charles Mills – Excerpts from The Racial Contract
Obedience to Authority
Plato - Crito
Stanley Milgram - "The Perils of Obedience"
Martin Luther King - "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
M.B.E. Smith - "Is There a Prima Facie Duty to Obey the Law?"
UN – "Universal Declaration of Human Rights"
James Nickel, "Making Sense of Human Rights,"
Robert Nozick – "Libertarian Rights"
David Hume – "Justice as Convention"
John Stuart Mill – "Justice and Utility," excerpts from Utilitarianism,
John Rawls – "A Theory of Justice," excerpts from Theory of Justice
d. Political Liberlism
Michael Sandel – "The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self"
John Rawls, "Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical,"
Gerald Gaus, "The Moral Foundations of Liberal Neutrality"
Part 2 - Government, The Economy, and Morality
a. Political Economy
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels – "Communist Manifesto"
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels – "Critique of the Gotha Program"
Adam Smith, excerpts from The Wealth of Nations
Charles Wolf – "Market Failure," excerpt from Markets or Governments
Randy Simmons – "Pathological Politics: The Anatomy of Government Failure"
b. Property Rights
John Locke – Excerpts from Second Treatise of Civil Government
Henry George – "The Injustice of Private Property in Land,"
David Schmidtz – "The Institution of Property"
c. Distributive Justice
Robert Nozick – "The Entitlement Theory of Justice"
Friedrich Hayek – "The Atavism of Social Justice"
G.A. Cohen - Why Not Socialism
Philippe Van Parijs - "A Basic Income for All"
John Stuart Mill – "On Liberty"
Isaiah Berlin – "Two Concepts of Liberty"
Franklin Delano Roosevelt – "The Four Freedoms"
Philip Pettit - "Republican Political Theory"
Kurt Vonnegut – "Harrison Bergeron"
Richard Arneson – "Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare,"
David Schmidtz – "Equal Respect and Equal Shares,"
Jean Jacques Rousseau – "Discourse on the Origins of Inequality,"
Catharine MacKinnon, "Difference and Dominance"
Part 3 - Applied Political Philosophy
a. Democratic Deliberation and Voting
Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson – "Moral Disagreement in a Democracy,"
Jason Brennan - "Political Liberty: Who Needs It?"
Michael Huemer – "Is There a Right to Immigrate?"
David Miller – "Immigration: The Case for Limits"
c. Global Distributive Justice
Peter Singer – Excerpts from The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty
Thomas Pogge – "World Poverty and Human Rights"
Loren Lomasky - "Liberalism Beyond Borders"
Matt Zwolinski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego, co-director of USD’s Institute for Law and Philosophy, and the founder of and frequent contributor to the popular Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog. He is the author of numerous articles in political philosophy on topics such as exploitation, price gouging, and sweatshop labor.
Browsing the table of contents of Zwolinski's Arguing About Political Philosophy got me eager to teach Introduction to Political Philosophy next time using this text. The readings are well chosen and combine classic texts and state of the art recent work on a broad range of crucial topics within political philosophy better than any other introductory text I know of. I will surely be using this excellent text.
David Sobel, Syracuse University
It’s unusual for a textbook to possess both breadth and depth, but Zwolinski achieves just that. Debates over the meaning of central political concepts, and their reflection in several salient current political issues, are presented through a range of carefully selected readings representing both mainstream and other positions, historical and contemporary. The result is a strongly engaging introduction to the concerns of political philosophy.
Hillel Steiner, University of Manchester
This book is like a time machine, right from your own armchair or library carrel! One of the things students find scary about philosophy is the emphasis on "mastering thinkers." The recent resurgence in interest in studying philosophy has been caused in part by a reorientation toward problems. You can't study problems without time travel: what would Hume have thought of Rawls? How would Hobbes have reacted to Martin Luther King? Arguing About Political Philosophy is a portal to the kind of intellectual time travel that reveals why philosophy is at the core of a liberal education.
Michael Munger, Duke University
Matt Zwolinski has assembled a lively anthology that retains a commitment to high standards while being extremely student-friendly as well. Arguing about Political Philosophy is above all about ideas, and it is refreshing to see so many diverse ideological perspectives brought together in one teaching text. Well-organized and judiciously selected, this collection provides an ideal foundation on which to build your own world-class course in political philosophy.
John Tomasi, Brown University
This excellent anthology presents political philosophy and theory within the social sciences as well as the liberal arts. Its thematic units combine selections from historical and contemporary canonical works with well-chosen supplemental texts ranging from literature to economics. It also lets students encounter an unusually wide range of normative positions, and so makes clear that the central problems of political philosophy remain live questions for debate.
Jacob T. Levy, McGill University
Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.