The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy

1st Edition

Edited by Gerald F. Gaus, Fred D'Agostino


872 pages

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The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy is a comprehensive, definitive reference work, providing an up-to-date survey of the field, charting its history and key figures and movements, and addressing enduring questions as well as contemporary research. Features unique to the Companion are:

  • an extensive coverage of the history of social and political thought, including separate chapters on the development of political thought in the Islamic world, India, and China as well in modern Germany, France, and Britain
  • a focus on the core concepts and the normative foundations of social and political theory
  • a seven-chapter section devoted exclusively to distributive justice, the central issue of political philosophy since Rawls' Theory of Justice
  • extensive coverage of global justice and international issues, which recently have emerged as vital topics
  • an eight-chapter section on issues in social and political philosophy.

The Companion is divided into eight thematic sections: The History of Social and Political Theory; Political Theories and Ideologies; Normative Foundations; The National State and Beyond; Distributive Justice; Political Concepts; Concepts and Methods in Social Philosophy; Issues in Social and Political Philosophy.

Comprised of sixty-nine newly commissioned essays by leading scholars from throughout the world, The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy is the most comprehensive and authoritative resource in social and political philosophy for students and scholars.


"Like all the books in the Routledge companion series, this one is a marvelous combination of guidebook and treasure-trove. The contributors address the most important thinkers in the field, the most important concepts, the most important theories and methodologies, and they bring their thinking to bear on important issues like health care, sexuality, democracy, terrorism and security. The articles are provocative as well as informative, and the choice of contributors reflects as fine a combination of diversity and expertise as you are likely to find in any volume of this kind." - Jeremy Waldron, NYU Law School and Oxford University

"This is a mountain of a book, the most accessible trove of authoritative political philosophy between two covers! My own copy is destined to become well-worn, and I will direct my students to it as their primary resource once they buck up the courage to go beyond Wikipedia." - Loren Lomasky, University of Virginia

"It is extremely impressive that Gaus and D'Agostino were able to commission these essays from so many of the leading scholars on such a vast and diverse slate of subjects. Given the breadth of historical and contemporary topics covered, this collection is an invaluable addition to the literature in social and political philosophy." - Christopher Heath Wellman, Washington University in St. Louis

"In assembling this ambitious book, editors Gaus and D’Agostino aspired to guide their readers through the whole of political philosophy and its history. They have succeeded admirably. The book’s unrivalled breadth of coverage is complemented by the depth of the essays it includes. The sixty-nine entries have all been written by recognized experts, who were encouraged to produce entries of sufficient length and sophistication that they will interest scholars while remaining accessible to undergraduates, graduate students and philosophers who work in other areas. This marvelous and incomparable volume will prove an indispensable companion to anyone with an interest in social and political philosophy." - Paul Weithman, University of Notre Dame

"The polish and high quality of the essays provide a multifaceted mirror of the passions and interests of contemporary academic Anglophone philsophy. Highly recommended. Undergraduate, graduate, and research collections." - E.J. Eisenach, emeritus, University of Tulsa, CHOICE magazine

Table of Contents

Part 1: The History of Social and Political Theory1. Plato George Klosko 2. Aristotle Rachana Kamtekar 3. Augustine Scott McDonald 4. Aquinas Paul Sigmund 5. Medieval Political Thought Cary J. Nederman 6. Machiavelli Vickie B. Sullivan 7. Hobbes S. A. Lloyd 8. Locke Eric Mack 9. Rousseau Christopher Bertram 10. Adam Smith and Hume Steve Buckle 11. Kant Oliver Sensen 12. Hegel David Rose 13. Mill C. L. Ten 14. Marx David Leopold 15. Late 19th Century British Political Thought Maria Dimova-Cookson 16. 20th Century German Political Thought James Bohman 17. 20th Century French Political Thought Jeremy Jennings 18. Foucault Thomas Dumm 19. The Political Thought of China Bai Tongdong 20. The Political Thought of India A. Raghuramaraju 21. Islamic Political Thought Andrew March Part 2: Political Theories and Ideologies 22. Anarchism Roderick Long 23. Liberalism Michael Freeden 24. Conservatism John Kekes 25. Republicanism Christian Nadeau 26. Marxism and Contemporary Political Thought Alex Callinicos 27. Feminism Penelope Deutscher 28. Environmentalism Mathew Humphrey Part 3: Normative Foundations 29. Contractarianism Claire Finkelstein 30. Contractualism and Political Liberalism Aaron James 31. Utilitarianism and Consequentialism Dale Miller 32. Perfectionism Steven Wall 33. Pluralism George Crowder 34. Virtue Daniel Russell 35. Natural Law and Rights Theory David S. Oderberg Part 4: Distributive Justice 36. Luck Egalitarianism Zofia Stemplowska 37. The Difference Principle Rex Martin 38. Left Libertarianism Hillel Steiner 39. Libertarianism John Meadowcroft 40. Desert David Schmidtz 41. Needs and Distributive Justice Gillian Brock 42. Capabilities and Social Justice Ingrid Robeyns 43. Justice and Future Generations Clark Wolf Part 5: The National State and Beyond 44. Nationalism Margaret Moore 45. Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights David Reidy 46. Multiculturalism Chandran Kukathas 47. Global Justice and Politics Thom Brooks 48. Borders and Secession David Miller 49. War Fernando Teson Part 6: Political Concepts 50. Equality Tom Christiano 51. Liberty Katrin Flikschuh 52. Autonomy Horacio Spector 53. Power Peter Morris 54. Authority and Legitimacy Fabienne Peter 55. Democracy Bob Talisse 56. Rights John Quong 57. Toleration Peter Jones Part 7: Approaches and Methods in Social and Political Philosophy 58. Evolutionary Approaches Jerry Gaus 59. Pragmatism Cheryl Misak 60. Postmodernism Todd May 61. Social Choice Theory John Weymark 62. Rational Choice Theory Peter Vanderschraaf 63. Discourse Theory William Rehg Part VIII: Issues in Social and Political Philosophy 64. Education Harry Brighouse 65. Health Norman Daniels 66. Marriage, Family, Sexuality David Archard 67. Work Nien-He Hsieh 68. Punishment Mark R. Reiff 69. Terrorism Tony Coady 70. Paternalism, Moralism, and Markets Mark D. White 71. Religion in Public Life Christopher J. Eberle and Kevin Vallier

About the Editors

Gerald Gaus is James E. Rogers Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona.

Fred D'Agostino is Professor of the Humanities and Dean in the Faculty of the Arts at the University of Queensland.

About the Series

Routledge Philosophy Companions

Routledge Philosophy Companions offer thorough, high quality surveys and assessments of the major topics and periods in philosophy. Covering key problems, themes and thinkers, all entries are specially commissioned for each volume and written by leading scholars in the field. Clear, accessible and carefully edited and organised, Routledge Philosophy Companions are indispensable for anyone coming to a major topic or period in philosophy, as well as for the more advanced reader.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / History & Surveys / General
PHILOSOPHY / Political
PHILOSOPHY / Criticism