Catalogue


The political theory of possessive individualism : Hobbes to Locke /
C.B. Macpherson.
edition
Wynford ed.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011.
description
xvii, 310 p. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0195444019 (pbk.), 9780195444018 (pbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011.
isbn
0195444019 (pbk.)
9780195444018 (pbk.)
general note
Originally published: Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1062.
catalogue key
7633079
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
C.B. Macpherson was professor of political economy at the University of Toronto from 1935 to 1982. His other books include Democratic Theory (1973) and The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy (1977). He died in 1987.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This seminal work by political philosopher C.B. Macpherson was first published in 1962, and remains of key importance to the study of liberal-democratic theory half-a-century later.
Main Description
First published by the Clarendon Press in 1962, this seminal work is widely regarded as a milestone of twentieth-century political theory. Macpherson argues that the chief failing of the notion of individualism that underpins classical liberalism lies in its 'possessive quality'-its definition of the individual as essentially the sole proprietor of his own person and capacities, owing nothing to society. Defined thus, the essence of humanity becomes freedom from dependence on the wills of others. Society is little more than a system of economic relations, and politics the means of safeguarding private property. 'Important, arresting, and original ... a remarkable achievement'-so declared Historical Journal when this book first appeared. Political, economic, and social developments in the decades since have made Macpherson's critique of possessive individualism even more penetrating today. The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism is a WYNFORD book-one of a series of titles representing significant milestones in Canadian literature, thought, and scholarship. This new edition is introduced by Frank Cunningham, professor emeritus of philosophy and political science at the University of Toronto. Book jacket.
Main Description
This seminal work by political philosopher C.B. Macpherson was first published by the Clarendon Press in 1962, and remains of key importance to the study of liberal-democratic theory half-a-century later. In it, Macpherson argues that the chief difficulty of the notion of individualism that underpins classical liberalism lies in what he calls its "possessive quality" - "its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to societyfor them." Under such a conception, the essence of humanity becomes freedom from dependence on the wills of others; society is little more than a system of economic relations; and political society becomes a means of safeguarding private property and the system of economic relations rooted in property. As the New Statesman declared: "It is rare for a book to change the intellectual landscape. It is even more unusual for this to happen when the subject is one that has been thoroughly investigated by generations of historians. . . . Until the appearance of Professor Macpherson's book, it seemed unlikely that anything radically new could be said about so well-worn a topic. The unexpected has happened, and the shock waves are still being absorbed." A new introduction by Frank Cunningham puts the work in a twenty-first-century context.
Main Description
This seminal work by political philosopher C.B. Macpherson was first published by the Clarendon Press in 1962, and remains of key importance to the study of liberal-democratic theory half-a-century later. In it, Macpherson argues that the chief difficulty of the notion of individualism thatunderpins classical liberalism lies in what he calls its "possessive quality" - "its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them." Under such a conception, the essence of humanity becomes freedom from dependence on thewills of others; society is little more than a system of economic relations; and political society becomes a means of safeguarding private property and the system of economic relations rooted in property.As the New Statesman declared: "It is rare for a book to change the intellectual landscape. It is even more unusual for this to happen when the subject is one that has been thoroughly investigated by generations of historians. . . . Until the appearance of Professor Macpherson's book, it seemedunlikely that anything radically new could be said about so well-worn a topic. The unexpected has happened, and the shock waves are still being absorbed."A new introduction by Frank Cunningham puts the work in a twenty-first-century context.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
The Roots of Liberal-Democratic Theoryp. 1
Problems of Interpretationp. 4
Hobbes: The Political Obligation of the Marketp. 9
Philosophy and Political Theoryp. 9
Human Nature and the State of Naturep. 17
Abstraction from Societyp. 17
The State of Naturep. 19
From Physiological to Social Motionp. 29
Models of Society:p. 46
The Use of Modelsp. 46
Customary or Status Societyp. 49
Simple Market Societyp. 51
Possessive Market Societyp. 53
Hobbes and the Possessive Modelp. 61
The Inadequacy of the State of Naturep. 68
Political Obligationp. 70
From Motivation to Obligationp. 70
Moral or Prudential Obligation?p. 72
The Postulate of Equalityp. 74
Morality, Science, and the Marketp. 78
The Presumption of Obligation from Factp. 81
Penetration and Limits of Hobbes's Political Theoryp. 87
Historical Prerequisites of the Deductionp. 87
The Self-perpetuating Sovereignp. 90
Congruence of Sovereignty and Market Societyp. 95
Some Objections Reconsideredp. 100
The Levellers: Franchise and Freedomp. 107
The Problem of the Franchisep. 107
Types of Franchisep. 111
The Recordp. 117
The Chronologyp. 117
Putney and Afterp. 120
Before Putneyp. 129
Summing-upp. 136
Theoretical Implicationsp. 137
The Property in One's Personp. 137
The Deduction of Rights and the Grounds for Exclusionp. 142
Levellers' and Independents' Individualismp. 148
Limits and Direction of the Levellers' Individualismp. 154
Harrington: The Opportunity Statep. 160
Unexamined Ambiguitiesp. 160
The Balance and the Gentryp. 162
The Bourgeois Societyp. 174
The Equal Commonwealth and the Equal Agrarianp. 182
The Self-Cancelling Balance Principlep. 188
Harrington's Staturep. 191
Locke: The Political Theory of Appropriationp. 194
Interpretationsp. 194
The Theory of Property Rightp. 197
Locke's Purposep. 197
The Initial Limited Rightp. 199
The Limitations Transcendedp. 203
The spoilage limitationp. 204
The sufficiency limitationp. 211
The supposed labour limitationp. 214
Locke's Achievementp. 220
Class Differentials in Natural Rights and Rationalityp. 221
Locke's Assumption of the Differentials in Seventeenth-Century Englandp. 222
Differential Rights and Rationality Generalizedp. 229
Differential rightsp. 230
Differential rationalityp. 232
The Ambiguous State of Naturep. 238
The Ambiguous Civil Societyp. 247
Unsettled Problems Reconsideredp. 251
The Joint-stock Theoryp. 251
Majority Rule v. Property Rightp. 252
The Equation of Individual and Majority Consentp. 252
Individualism v. Collectivismp. 255
Locke's Constitutionalismp. 257
Possessive Individualism and Liberal Democracyp. 263
The Seventeenth-Century Foundationsp. 263
The Twentieth-Century Dilemmap. 271
Appendix: Social Classes and Franchise Classes in England, circa 1648p. 279
Notesp. 293
Works and Editions Citedp. 302
Indexp. 305
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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