The Foundations of Political Theory
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First published in 1958, The Foundations of Political Theory strives to answer essential questions of politics by studying its foundations. In this book, Mr. Greaves treats the state as only one among several associations whose function is to promote entirely human ends. He tries to reinterpret such ideas as ‘self-realization’ and the ‘good life’ in ways acceptable to students of contemporary philosophy, who reject the theological and metaphysical doctrines these ideas have been tied to in the past. He insists that men get their moral standards and their ideas about what makes life worth living by reflecting on their experience; that there are no ultimate and self-evident moral principles. While admitting that moral standards are subjective in the sense that we cannot explain how men come to have them except by showing how they serve their needs, he refuses to allow that rational argument about them is therefore impossible. Since men are rational, since they have purposes and ideals and not merely desires, and since they know that to realize these purposes they must live with others, there are moral standards acceptable to all men when their function is understood.
Table of Contents
Foreword 1. The State: Definitions 2. Foundations and Criteria 3. Purpose 4. Obligation and Command 5. Reason and Political Purpose 6. The Individual and Morality 7. Sociality and Morality 8. The Content of Morality: Rules and Values 9. The Social Good 10. The State and Social Purpose 11. Democratic Political Theory: Applications Index
H. R. G. Greaves