What is Political Philosophy?

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2022.06.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Charles Larmore, What is Political Philosophy?, Princeton University Press, 2020, 181pp., $29.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780691179148.

Reviewed by Thom Brooks, Durham University

In this beautifully written and insightful new book, Charles Larmore offers an important vision of what political philosophy is about, and the challenges it faces. The book is composed of an introduction, conclusion, and three chapters in between that have appeared elsewhere, including in the Journal of Moral Philosophy when I was the founding editor, although these essays have been revised and expanded.

Traditionally, many political philosophers whether Kantian, utilitarian or other have looked to reason to better understand the human good or social justice. They have been motivated by the conviction that reason is the instrument with which to overcome disagreements. Of course, there are many dissenting voices that take a different path. Nonetheless, at least since John Rawls…

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