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Liberalism without Illusions

Essays on Liberal Theory and the Political Vision of Judith N. Shklar

Well before her untimely death in 1992, Judith Shklar was widely recognized as one of the outstanding political theorists of our time. A pivotal figure in the reinvigoration of liberal theory during the past two decades, Shklar brought to life a complex world in which every vice has distinct political consequences and every virtue unavoidable costs. Her unique and unusually realistic approach to the study of liberal practices and institutions added psychological depth as well as a bracing pragmatism to the liberal political imagination.

In this tightly organized collection of essays, sixteen distinguished political theorists explore Shklar’s intellectual legacy, focussing on both her own ideas and the broad range of issues that most intrigued her. The volume opens with a series of varied and illuminating assessments of Shklar’s conception of liberal politics. The second section, with essays on Descartes and Racine, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Laski, emphasizes the relation between individual freedom and moral psychology in modern political thought. The third section addresses contemporary issues, such as the role of hypocrisy, offensive speech, and constitutional courts in liberal democracies. The book concludes with an autobiographical essay by Shklar that provides a vivid sense of her singular voice and personality.

The contributors to this volume are Bruce Ackerman, Seyla Benhabib, John Dunn, Amy Gutmann, Stanley Hoffmann, Stephen Holmes, George Kateb, Isaac Kramnick, Patrick Riley, Nancy Rosenblum, Quentin Skinner, Rogers M. Smith, Tracy B. Strong, Dennis F. Thompson, Michael Walzer, and Bernard Yack.

299 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Philosophy: Ethics

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Table of Contents

Liberalism without Illusions: An Introduction to Judith Shklars’ Political
Bernard Yack
1: On Negative Politics
Michael Walzer
2: The Democracy of Everyday Life
Nancy L. Rosenblum
3: Hope over Fear: Judith Shklar as Political Educator
John Dunn
4: Judith Shklar’s Dystopic Liberalism
Seyla Benhabib
5: How Limited Is Liberal Government?
Amy Gutmann
6: Judith Shklar as a Political Thinker
Stanley Hoffmann
7: Ordinary Passions in Descartes and Racine
Stephen Holmes
8: The Self Knowing the Self in the Work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Tracy B. Strong
9: Shklar on Rousseau on Fenelon
Patrick Riley
10: Liberalism, Marxism, and the Enlightenment: The Case of Harold Laski
Isaac Kramnick
11: Thomas Hobbe’s Antiliberal Theory of Liberty
Quentin Skinner
12: Hypocrisy and Democracy
Dennis F. Thompson
13: Active and Passive Justice
Bernard Yack
14: The Political Case for Constitutional Courts
Bruce Ackerman
15: The Freedom of Worthless and Harmful Speech
George Kateb
16: The Unfinished Tasks of Liberalism
Rogers M. Smith
Appendix: A Life of Learning
Judith N. Shklar
Works by Judith N. Shklar

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