Saturday, December 12, 2020

New Book Contract

I am very pleased to announce that I have signed a new contract with Hackett Publishing for a book tentatively titled Classics in Political Philosophy for Today.  It will cover a range of thinkers and themes from the history of political thought, including Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Anarchism (Kropotkin and Goldman), Rousseau, Burke and Conservatism, Mary Wollstonecraft and feminism, Black Political Thought (Anna Cooper, WEB Du Bois and MLK, Jr.), Utilitarianism and Marx, along with a concluding chapter examining the societal challenges of the 21st century (e.g. climate change and Artificial Intelligence).  The material draws on 20 years experience of teaching the history of political philosophy, especially the last 12 years of teaching my mandatory year-long course to 250+ students each year.  

What I hope will be a distinctive feature of this book is its emphasis on the contemporary significance of engaging with the critical thinkers of the past, revealing the "emancipatory knowledge" they offer (e.g. Plato on the limits of democracy, Wollstonecraft on the nature vs nurture debate, Du Bois on racial inequality, Burke on the wisdom of tradition, Marx on the harms of capitalism, etc.), but also highlighting their cognitive blindspots and the unexamined assumptions and beliefs of their arguments.  By fostering a critical engagement with thinkers of the past we can refine the critical thinking skills necessary to think sagely about how we ought to live now.  

It is an ambitious project, one I have contemplated undertaking for years.  Events over the past year helped convince me that I needed to make this project a top priority in my research plans.