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by P N Furbank
Binding: Hardcover, 126 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Weight: 0.73 pound
Dimension: H: 0.75 x L: 8.79 x W: 0.54 inches
ISBN 10: 080322009X
ISBN 13: 9780803220096
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Book Description:
In Behalf P. N. Furbank argues that in thinking about society and politics, one needs to start from the proposition that every human being contains within himself or herself the entire potentiality of the human species and that it is therefore wrong to regard cultural differences as innate. This conclusion, in turn, raises doubts about the concept of pluralism as propounded by political philosophers such as Isaiah Berlin. According to Berlin, societies incarnate sets of values that, while good in themselves, might be incommensurable or incompatible with those of other societies. As Furbank shows, however, the epithets incommensurable and incompatible fall to pieces under scrutiny. Furthermore, the tacit implication that pluralism is a political concept, rivaling democracy, appears to be an illusion. Furbank proceeds to consider the question of what it means to act on behalf of others. He notes that the apparent strength of politics of the person the ground of feminist, black, and gay politics, with its insistence that everyone should speak with his or her own distinctive voice, unmediated by representation or action on behalf of others is its freedom from the taint of philanthropy. But he argues that this freedom comes at a high price, which is no less than that of involving the term politics in self contradiction. He concludes that there is seemingly no substitute for what one might call politics proper and that this form of politics is by nature on behalf of someone or something not itself a politics that is, incurably, philanthropic, and, being so, is exposed to all the snares and temptations with which philanthropy is plagued.

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