Reason and Politicsexplores the central phenomena of political life and, therefore, of human affairs in general.
Amidst the seemingly endless books on more and more narrowly specialized topics within politics, Mark Blitz offers something very different. Reason and Politics: The Nature of Political Phenomena examines the central phenomena of political life in order to clarify their meaning, source, and range. Blitz gives particular attention to the notions of freedom, rights, justice, virtue, power, property, nationalism, and the common good. At the same time, Blitz shows how, in order to understand political matters correctly, we must also understand how they affect us directly. We do not merely theorize over political questions; we experience them. Blitz also considers matters such as the powers and motions of the soul, the nature of experience, and the varieties of pleasure and attachment.
Living at a time when technological change makes it difficult even to claim convincingly that there are defining human characteristics and natural limits that we simply cannot change, Reason and Politics proposes that there are in fact basic phenomena not only in politics, but that make up human affairs as such. In examining these central phenomena in a lucid and articulate manner, this book makes a unique contribution not only to the study of politics but also to the study of philosophy more broadly. It will interest undergraduate and graduate students, political scientists and philosophers, those interested in politics, and general readers.
1. The Nature of Practical Action
2. The Nature of Freedom and Rights
3. The Nature of Power and Property
5. The Nature of What is Common
6. The Nature of Goods
Mark Blitz is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Political Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of numerous books, including Conserving Liberty, Plato’s Political Philosophy, and Duty Bound: Responsibility and American Public Life.
“Reason and Politics is an unconventional and important contribution to the field of political philosophy. Mark Blitz uncovers what kind of people we in our age have to be in order to be concerned with justice, or virtue, or rights, or magnanimity, or the common good. He asks: What is going on in our bodies and minds when we have such experiences? And the result is a tour de force.” —Jerry Weinberger, author of Benjamin Franklin Unmasked
“This is a remarkable inquiry into the rational structure of the political phenomena that appear most irrational. Mark Blitz provides a path to clarity in the face of the complexity of our way of life, political partisanship, and the proliferation of false but powerful and ossified political doctrines. One may have to go back all the way to Hobbes to read a book of a comprehensiveness similar to Reason and Politics.” —Svetozar Y. Minkov, author of Leo Strauss on Science
"Mark Blitz has written a work of high political philosophy that is at once clear and accessible. . . . Reason and Politics is dedicated to uncovering reasonably that which ‘forms and directs’ political phenomena, in a word their nature and everything that flows from that. While a product of unforced but altogether impressive erudition, Blitz’s book aims to stay as concrete as possible, eschewing the abstractions that largely inform and deform late modern thought. " —Law and Liberty
"In the course of this remarkable study, we learn that self-knowledge in our 'post-modern' condition requires seeing ourselves in light of both ancient politics and ancient philosophy; the former is the historical moment that provides the essential touchstone for serious trans-historical comparison of human experience and the latter is the way of seeing and thinking most suited to grasping the nature of things." —Perspectives on Political Science
"Blitz makes a strong case for a phenomenological approach to the study of politics. . . . [He] offers a radical, thought-provoking departure from the reigning orthodoxies of the profession." —Choice