Politics and Society
This carefully selected and integrated series of discourses on the central issues of political life presents Robert M. MacIver's views on ethics and politics, society and the state, government and political change, war and peace, and the conditions of a viable international order. It is both a key to the astonishing scope and versatility of MacIver's mind and a major contribution to political thought.Politics and Society elucidates some of the major themes and essential problems of political theory. Here are incisive essays on the nature of understanding in social and political science; on the discontinuities between ethics and politics that render difficult, yet imperative, the ordering of a multigroup society; and on the ever-present tensions between liberty and authority, private interests and the common good. Here too are MacIver's assessments of the forces that make for social change and the transformations requisite to the establishment of a viable international order. And here, with sensitivity and wisdom, are MacIver's articulations of relevant ends and their realization through appropriate means.David Spitz provided a lengthy introduction to this volume on its first publication in 1969 assessing the importance of MacIver's teachings as well as relating these essays within the broader context of MacIver's political and social thought. The republication of this collection now attests to Spitz's conclusion:"The rewards that await the reader of these essays support my conviction that MacIver's eminent achievements, in both method and vision, stamp him as the most distinguished of our social and political theorists." Robert M. MacIver (1882-1970) was Lieber Professor of Political Philosophy and Sociology at Columbia University (1929-1950) and held many other academic posts, directorships and honorary degrees, and in 1962 came out of retirement to be chancellor of the New School for Social Research. Among his most important books were Social Causation and Community, a Sociological Study.David Spitz was professor of political science at Columbia University. He was the author among other books of The Liberal Idea of Freedom. The David and Elaine Spitz Prize is awarded every year for the best book in liberal and/or democratic theory by the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought in his honor.