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Chapter

C. D. C. Reeve

This chapter examines Plato's main political ideas. It first provides a biography of Plato before discussing the overall argument of the Republic and the philosopher–kings that are its centrepiece. It then considers the Form of the good, knowledge of which is exclusive and essential to the philosopher–kings, along with the structure of the city envisioned by them, known as kallipolis, and its key operating principle. It also analyses the kallipolis from a variety of politically significant perspectives; for example, whether it is based on false ideology, whether it involves a totalitarian intrusion of the political into the private sphere, or whether it treats its least powerful members such as invalids, infants, and slaves in an unjust way. The chapter concludes by exploring how the kallipolis limits freedom of speech, artistic expression, personal freedom, and autonomy.

Chapter

David Owen

This chapter assesses power, a basic concept of political theory. In its most fundamental sense, power is a dispositional concept that refers to the capacity to affect some feature of the world and the capacity to produce effects with respect to those feature of the world. The concept of power is closely bound in social and political contexts to the concepts of freedom and responsibility. There are different modes of power: power to, power with, power over, and power of. The power of an agent typically depends on the context of power in which they are situated and on the relations in which they stand to other agents within broader social structures. Moreover, exercises of power are always mediated — and, indeed, we often distinguishes forms of social and political power in terms of prominent general media through which they are exercised. The chapter then considers the three-dimensional view of power.

Chapter

John Gregson

This chapter examines the basic features of socialism and communism. Socialism is a complex ideology with numerous variants that are often strongly opposed to each other on one or more central questions or issues. Variants of socialism have converged with other classical ideologies (such as liberalism) in their beliefs and values, yet other variants have remained vehemently opposed to much within liberalism. The chapter first provides a brief historical background on socialism before discussing the key beliefs, values, and assumptions of socialism. In particular, it looks at socialism's critique of industrial capitalism and its vision of the good society, along with its its conception of human nature, community, and freedom. The chapter proceeds by considering some variants of socialism, especially communism and social democracy, as well as the overlap between socialism and other ideologies like liberalism. Finally, it assesses the historical, contemporary, and future impact of socialism.

Chapter

11. Social Policy  

Between Legal Integration and Politicization

John Bachtler and Carlos Mendez

Social policy in the European Union (EU) is characterized by a fundamental puzzle: integration has happened despite member-state opposition to the delegation of welfare competences. While the policy has developed in small and modest steps, over time, this has led to a considerable expansion of the policy remit. Negative integration pushed by judicial decision-making is often regarded as a main driver for social integration. Positive integration through EU legislation is, however, just as defining for EU social policy, and politics is very evident when EU member states negotiate social regulation. More recently, the policy has been marked by deep politicization.

Chapter

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter assesses when, if ever, a state should restrict hate speech. Political disputes about this topic are part of broader disagreements about the limits of freedom of expression. The chapter makes a case for restricting hate speech when, and on the grounds that, it incites or makes more likely harm to particular members of society. It considers whether some familiar justifications for freedom of expression provide a persuasive case against this view, exploring arguments that appeal to autonomy, individual interests in expression, and the dangers of granting the state regulatory power. None of these justifications supports the protection of hate speech. The chapter then sketches the kinds of hate speech legislation that these arguments justify.

Chapter

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter argues against policies that restrict immigration. It contends that states should have open borders that allow an individual to move between political communities. The chapter begins by defending a presumption in favour of open borders that appeals to the value of freedom of movement. It then responds to those who deny that freedom of movement is sufficiently important to generate such a presumption, as well as to those who insist that states enjoy a prerogative over whether or not to grant an individual the opportunity to migrate. The chapter considers a range of objections that emphasize how open borders can jeopardize the security, economy, and culture of receiving states, showing that a proper concern for these values is consistent with borders that are largely (even if not fully) open.

Chapter

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter examines whether the state should permit an individual to end their own life. Physician-assisted suicide is only one way in which a doctor can hasten an individual’s death. In fact there are three ways in which a doctor may act. First, they can be passive by allowing an individual to die. Second, they can assist an individual by enabling them to bring about their own death. Third, they can be active in hastening an individual’s death by administering life-ending medication. The chapter argues that a doctor should be permitted to assist an individual to end their own life, as well as to intervene to hasten their death. It supports this view by appealing to the value of freedom, specifically the freedom to choose how to live and die. The chapter then considers the worry that it is wrong for the state to allow a doctor to assist an individual to end their life, since this is an affront to the sanctity of life. It outlines some implications of this argument for the design of public policy.

Chapter

This edition provides an introduction to the major schools of thought that dominate contemporary debates in political philosophy. The focus is on theories which have attracted a certain allegiance, and which offer a more or less comprehensive vision of the ideals of politics. The text examines the notion, advanced by Ronald Dworkin, that every plausible political theory has the same ultimate value, which is equality. It considers another, more abstract and more fundamental, idea of equality in political theory — namely, the idea of treating people ‘as equals’. It also explores what it might mean for libertarianism to have freedom as its foundational value, or for utilitarianism to have utility as its foundational value. Finally, it analyses the relationship between moral and political philosophy and argues that the ultimate test of a theory of justice is that it should be concordant with, and help illuminate, our convictions of justice.

Chapter

Robert Garner

This chapter examines two related, but distinct, political concepts — justice and freedom. It first considers various possible constraints on freedom before discussing the degree to which freedom is desirable. It then explores various alternative values that might conflict with freedom, mainly in the context of John Stuart Mill’s political thought; these include equality, paternalism, and happiness. The chapter proceeds by analysing the concept of justice and various criteria for determining its meaning in the context of the major competing theories of justice provided by John Rawls and Robert Nozick. Finally, it evaluates alternative theories of justice which challenge the conventional liberal view that theories of justice should focus only on the nation-state and are applicable only to human beings.

Chapter

This chapter considers the impact of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 on the UK Parliament. Since 2005, FOI 2000 has helped make both the House of Commons and the House of Lords more open and accountable. The most high-profile effect of the law came in 2009, when it played a part in exposing the abuse of the expense allowance system. Despite the scandal, it is not clear whether FOI has transformed the culture of the two Houses. Nevertheless, the law has indirectly sparked a series of other reforms, so that FOI now sits alongside a whole range of instruments intended to make Parliament more open and accessible. The chapter first provides an overview of what FOIs consist of, their application to legislatures and Westminster specifically, before analysing the extent of the impact of FOI 2000 on the UK Parliament.

Chapter

Alan Patten

This chapter examines the political ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In his Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1821), Hegel articulates his views about reason, actuality, and philosophy. For Hegel, the task of philosophy is to identify and display the reason contained in the actual institutions and practices of the social world. Hegel believes that philosophy will be able to find reason in the institutions of the social world he inhabits. After providing a short biography of Hegel, this chapter considers some of the central themes and theses of the Philosophy of Right. It also explores several basic elements in Hegel's thought, including his concept of freedom, his ideas of spirit and dialectic, and his account of the institutions of property and contract. It concludes by reflecting on Hegel's significance as a political thinker.

Chapter

Katrin A. Flikschuh

This chapter examines the political ideas of Immanuel Kant. Kant is widely regarded as a precursor to current political liberalism. There are many aspects of Kant's political philosophy, including his property argument, that remain poorly understood and unjustly neglected. Many other aspects, including his cosmopolitanism, reveal Kant as perhaps one of the most systematic and consistent political thinkers. Underlying all these aspects of his political philosophy is an abiding commitment to his epistemological method of transcendental idealism. After providing a short biography of Kant, this chapter considers his epistemology as well as the relationship between virtue and justice in his practical philosophy. It also explores a number of themes in Kant's political thinking, including the idea of external freedom, the nature of political obligation, the vindication of property rights, the denial of a right to revolution, and the cosmopolitan scope of Kantian justice.

Chapter

Paul Patton

This chapter examines Michel Foucault's approach to the history of systems of thought, which relied upon a distinctive concept of discourse he defined in terms of rules governing the production of statements in a given empirical field at a given time. The study of these rules formed the basis of Foucault's archaeology of knowledge. The chapter first considers Foucault's conception of philosophy as the critique of the present before explaining how his criticism combined archaeological and genealogical methods of writing history and operated along three distinct methodological axes corresponding to knowledge, power, and ethics. It then describes Foucault's archaeological approach to the study of systems of thought or discourse, along with his historical approach to truth. It also discusses Foucault's theory of freedom, his views on the nature and tasks of government, and his ideas about subjectivity in relation to care for the self.

Chapter

Carole Pateman

This chapter examines Mary Wollstonecraft's political thought. Wollstonecraft advances the argument that the private and public are interrelated and that God has given reason to both sexes. Among her ideas: ‘natural’ qualities, including masculinity and femininity, are socially constructed; reason and virtue require cultivation; private and public virtue demands non-sexually differentiated principles and standards, and freedom, equal rights, and political representation for women and men; tyranny in private, especially in marriage, undermines political virtue and active citizenship; education must be reformed, marriage transformed into an equal relationship between loving friends, and wives must have economic independence. After providing a short biography of Wollstonecraft, the chapter analyses her views on nature, sentiment, reason, men's rights and women's freedom, private virtue, and public order. It shows how Wollstonecraft's insights challenge standard conceptions of democracy.

Chapter

David Boucher

This chapter examines Jean-Jacques Rousseau's political thought. It first provides a short biography of Rousseau before discussing varying interpretations of his ideas, suggesting that, because of his emphasis upon civic virtues and freedom as lack of an insidious form of dependence, the republican tradition best reflects Rousseau's concerns. It then considers Rousseau's distinctive contribution to the idea of the state of nature, noting that the springs of action in his state of nature are not reason are self-preservation and sympathy. It also explores Rousseau's views on private property, social contract, inequality, natural law and natural rights, democracy, religion, and censorship. The chapter concludes with an analysis of Rousseau's concern with freedom and dependence, and how the related issues of slavery and women were relevant for him.

Chapter

This chapter explores the theory that, to avoid the ‘tyranny of the majority’, we should be given the liberty to act just as we wish, provided that we do no harm to others. The focus is on John Stuart Mill's Liberty Principle (also known as the Harm Principle), according to which you may justifiably limit a person's freedom of action only if they threaten harm to another. The chapter considers Mill's arguments based on the Liberty Principle, including his claim there should be complete freedom of thought and discussion, and that harming another's interests is not a sufficient condition to justify constraint. It also discusses justifications for the Liberty Principle by focusing on issues of rights and utility, individuality and progress, and liberty as an intrinsic good. It concludes with an analysis of some of the problems of the kind of liberalism espoused by Mill's Liberty Principle.

Chapter

11. Social Policy  

Left to the Judges and the Markets?

Stephan Leibfried

This chapter examines the European Union’s social policy. In the 1980s and 1990s, the EU accumulated significant regulatory mandates in social policy, reaching out more recently to anti-discrimination politics. Yet due to pressures from integrated markets, member governments have lost more control over national welfare policies than the EU has gained in transferred authority, although this development may have stopped, affected by the EU’s responses to the economic crises since 2008. The chapter first considers the limited success of activist social policy before discussing European integration and market compatibility requirements, focusing on the freedom of movement for workers and freedom to provide services and their implications for European competition policy. It also explores how European integration affects national welfare states and concludes with an assessment of Europe’s multi-tiered social policy.

Chapter

This chapter examines the European Union’s (EU’s) policy activity in the area of freedom, security, and justice (AFSJ). Introduced mainly by the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the AFSJ was initially given the name Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The AFSJ was greatly enhanced by the Treaty of Lisbon and has matured over time, despite the controversy surrounding the way in which it strikes at national sovereignty. A key characteristic of JHA, later AFSJ, has been the use of differentiated integration. The chapter first provides a historical background on the AFSJ, focusing on the policy dynamics and JHA structures under the Treaty on European Union (TEU) as well as the reforms of the Treaty of Amsterdam. It then considers the AFSJ’s institutional character and policy content, before examining the refugee crisis. It concludes with an assessment of key explanations and debates relating to the AFSJ.

Chapter

This chapter considers problems associated with classifying countries as democracies and non-democracies and measuring the extent to which a country has advanced on the path of democratization. It first examines different concepts and dimensions of democracy such as political sovereignty, political liberty, competition, participation, freedom of expression and belief, and rule of law. Using publicly available quantitative indices of democracy, the chapter illustrates the problems faced by researchers of translating these concepts into measures. It also asks whether democracy should be thought of as a property that is either present or absent, or, alternatively, a characteristic that can be present to a greater or lesser extent. Finally, it discusses various hybrid regime categories for their contribution to efforts of classifying and measuring political regimes.

Chapter

16. Neoconservatism and the domestic sources of American foreign policy  

The role of ideas in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Yuen Foong Khong

This chapter examines the role played by neoconservative ideas about foreign policy in persuading the George W. Bush administration to launch a preventive war against Iraq in March 2003. It considers the four key tenets of neoconservative foreign policy thought and how some of its leading proponents won key positions in the Bush administration. It argues that, by itself, neoconservatism provides only a partial explanation of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A more satisfactory explanation, it contends, would need to take into account the following: the 9/11 attacks, the strategic placement of neoconservative ideas by its advocates in calmer times, the assumption that the United States would have no trouble waging a successful war, and the ‘one per cent’ doctrine. It is the combination of these events, ideas, and probability estimates that tipped the balance in favour of war.