ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Social Democracy Updated

Political Philosophy by Jean Hampton; THIS is an introductory work reprinted by OUP, Delhi, by arrangement with Westview Press. The blurb perhaps originated with Westview. To try and attract the largest possible readership for the book it makes somewhat sweeping claims for it. "Lively and readable", "a marvellous feat of synthesis", "the most complete survey of the field of political philosophy" are some of the claims made for the book, There is also a more cautious endorsement by our own Rajeev Bhargava who describes it as insightful and original written with lucidity and elegance. Lucid and elegant it certainly is although one may have some reservations about some of the other claims made. The author herself is more modest in her introduction. As she points out, the Westview series was intended to provide a landscape of a field, not a detailed picture. Within that agenda she has discussed some of the foundational and enduring questions in political philosophy, drawing On the work of both classical and contemporary political thinkers, and with reference to some important political problems confronting contemporary western societies. Although mainly exegetical in approach she claims to also offer some original theorising, "in part to prevent the book from being boring". Few authors would have been so modest about their work and it seems quaint to believe that original thinking can be an optional extra for a book on political philosophy. In fact, a number of issues have been carefully and thoroughly discussed in the book, the very framing of the questions and the discussion reflecting the perspective of the author - feminist, North American and located slightly to the left of the spectrum of liberal political theories.

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