Equality and Tradition (Selected Essays)

Equality and Tradition (Selected Essays)

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This collection of essays combines the discussion of abstract questions in moral and political theory with an attention to the normative dimension of current social and political controversies. There are essays on immigration, terrorism, toleration, political equality, the role of partiality in ethics, and the importance of tradition., This collection of essays by noted philosopher Samuel Scheffler combines discussion of abstract questions in moral and political theory with attention to the normative dimension of current social and political controversies. In addition to chapters on more abstract issues such as the nature of human valuing, the role of partiality in ethics, and the significance of the distinction between doing and allowing, the volume also includes essays on immigration, terrorism, toleration, political equality, and the normative significance of tradition. Uniting the essays is a shared preoccupation with questions about human value and values. The volume opens with an essay that considers the general question of what it is to value something - as opposed, say, to wanting it, wanting to want it, or thinking that it is valuable. Other essays explore particular values, such as equality, whose meaning and content are contested. Still others consider the tensions that arise, both within and among individuals, in consequence of the diversity of human values. One of the overarching aims of the book is to illuminate the different ways in which liberal political theory attempts to resolve conflicts of both of these kinds., INTRODUCTION ; PART I: INDIVIDUALS ; 1. Valuing ; 2. Morality and Reasonable Partiality ; 3. Doing and Allowing ; PART II: INSTITUTIONS ; 4. The Division of Moral Labour: Egalitarian Liberalism as Moral Pluralism ; 5. Is the Basic Structure Basic? ; 6. Cosmopolitanism, Justice, and Institutions ; PART III: SOCIETY ; 7. What is Egalitarianism? ; 8. Choice, Circumstance, and the Value of Equality ; 9. Is Terrorism Morally Distinctive? ; 10. Immigration and the Significance of Culture ; 11. The Normativity of Tradition ; 12. The Good of Toleration, As I hope this short summary makes clear, Scheffler's vision is an attractive one, and his arguments for it are compelling. That alone makes Equality and Tradition an important contribution to contemporary political philosophy, even though many of the essays have been published elsewhere. It is a bonus that they are also a pleasure to read. There are philosophers whose writing, despite its acuity and depth, gives the impression that the everyday emotions and experiences of most of their fellow humans are alien to them. Scheffler's writing is different: here, acuity and depth are combined with a sure sense of the nature and variety of our projects, our concerns, and our motivations. To judge by Equality and Tradition, Scheffler is not only a first-rate philosopher but also a wise one. Thomas Porter, Ethics and International Affairs, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, New York University; author of CONSEQUENTIALISM AND ITS CRITICS (1988),HUMAN MORALITY (1993), BOUNDARIES AND ALLEGIANCES (2003),THE REJECTION OF CONSEQUENTIALISM (1994), all OUP

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