What would life be like without the state? What justifies the state? Who should rule? How much liberty should the citizen enjoy? How should property be justly distributed? This book examines the central problems involved in political philosophy and the past attempts to respond to these problems. Jonathan Wolff looks at the works of Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, and Rawls (among others), examining how the debates between philosophers have developed, and searching for possible answers to these provocative questions. His final chapter looks at more recent issues, particularly feminist political theory.
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Jonathan Wolff is Professor of Philosophy at University College London.
`Review from previous edition 'A lucid and enviably clear introduction to some of the most important questions of political philosophy...The book is written in a style that manages to be chatty without being irritating, something not often achieved by professional philosophers aspiring to
write for a general or student audience''
Matt Matravers, International Journal of Philosophical Studies
`'This is exactly what the title says - it introduces students to many of the central topics of political philosophy and in the process to many of its most distinguished figures from Plato to John Rawls. By organizing his book around major issues, Wolff provides the structure that beginners
need. He also introduces some distinctive ideas of his own, especially on such matters as the ownership of property, the persuasiveness of anarchism, and the limits of the right to self-destructive behaviour. He writes with an enviable clarity and even-handedness''
`'A superb piece of work...far and away the best introduction to political philosophy I've ever seen''
`'Wolff makes each issue come alive...This book is the ideal introduction to the subject and should be widely read. It is a book I wish I had written''
Paul J. Kelly, Political Studies
`'There is probably no better introduction of this sort...a clear and engaging account of academic political philosophy today''
Andrew Levine, Mind
`'The clarity of presentation betrays an admirable intimacy with the problems and texts discussed, and an ability to present sympathetic accounts of positions on both sides of controversial issues. To my knowledge, it is the best volume of its kind''
Clark Wolf, Teaching Philosophy
`'Jonathan Wolff's An Introduction to Political Philosophy can be unhesitatingly recommended. With its clarity of language, which never sacrifices subtlety of thought, this book is set to become a classic...We are given just what we require, with no ideologies being subliminally proposed''
Christopher J. Walker, Diplomat
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