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Public Policy and the Public Good
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As a reading of the recent literature indicates, there has been a trend among public policy analysts to disavow the utility of the Western political tradition for understanding contemporary social dilemmas. This edited collection demonstrates that the history of political philosophy actually increases the awareness of the nature of such problems. By employing models of historical understanding, the contributors permit political theory to illuminate the dilemmas underlying modern policy questions and permit historical theorists to model perspectives that are useful in confronting current policy alternatives. Each of the book's ten chapters, written by some of today's most respected political theorists, explains how knowledge of a specific historical thinker or school of thought can lead to a clearer appreciation of a particular contemporary American policy issue. Among the topics included are an analysis of capital punishment from the perspective of ancient Judaic law; Plato on television news; Aristotle on the crisis in American public education; Aquinas on the controversies involved in American health care policy; Martin Luther on political leadership in democracies; a Hobbesian approach to American interest-group liberalism; a Lockean appraisal of North American native peoples' land claims; a modern republican examination of affirmative action; a liberal critique of surrogate motherhood; and Marx on the social consequences of computer technology. Together, these chapters serve to highlight the Western political tradition and put its accumulated wisdom to use in solving current policy questions. This book will be a valuable resource for courses in public policy analysis, American political thought, and Western political philosophy. Both public and academic libraries will also find it to be a useful addition to their collections.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Benjamin R. Barber Introduction by Ethan Fishman The Rabbi and the Fig Tree: A Lesson for the Supreme Court on Capital Punishment by Ethan Fishman Plato and the Media by Barry Cooper The Tide Just Keeps Rising: An Aristotelian Perspective on the Crisis in American Education by R. Bruce Douglass Aquinas, Prudence, and Health Care Policy by Clarke E. Cochran Martin Luther on Political Leadership by Robert Booth Fowler A Hobbesian Analysis of the Dangers of Interest-Group Liberalism by Timothy Fuller Native Peoples and Lockean Philosophy: Land Claims and Self-Government by Thomas Flanagan The Republican Tradition and Affirmative Action by Richard M. Battistoni Surrogate Motherhood: Contract, Gender, and Liberal Politics by Alfonso J. Damico Marx and the Computer by Victor Ferkiss Selected Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

This work deals with the lack of attention that the policy sciences have paid to the history of Western political philosophy. Ten essays explain how knowledge of a specific historical thinker or school of thought can lead to a clearer appreciation of a particular contemporary American policy issue.

About the Author

ETHAN FISHMAN is a Professor of Political Science at the University of South Alabama. He specializes in the application of classic Western values to contemporary American politics. Dr. Fishman is the author of Likely Stories: Essays on Political Philosophy and Contemporary American Literature and has written articles for various journals, including American Politics Quarterly and The Journal of Politics.

Reviews

"A collection of essays that aims to show that "the theory of the public good and the practice of public policy" can be usefully related to each other, contrary to their habit of proceeding as if theory were without practical implications and practice could afford to ignore the wisdom of theory. The editor argues that his purpose is "to permit historical political theory to illuminate the value dilemmas underlying modern policy questions." The volume seems to achieve its purpose admirably. Essays by ten different authors cover a wide range of topics--capital punishment, the media, religion and political leadership, interest-group liberalism--plus many others too numerous to list individually. The authors show how the range of contemporary thought about policy issues is widened and deepened by the insights of the philosophers and even the theologians. The editor's case against the isolation of policy science from political philosophy is successfully illustrated by these essays, and students of policy will find their ideas enriched by the stimulus provided."-Choice ?A collection of essays that aims to show that "the theory of the public good and the practice of public policy" can be usefully related to each other, contrary to their habit of proceeding as if theory were without practical implications and practice could afford to ignore the wisdom of theory. The editor argues that his purpose is "to permit historical political theory to illuminate the value dilemmas underlying modern policy questions." The volume seems to achieve its purpose admirably. Essays by ten different authors cover a wide range of topics--capital punishment, the media, religion and political leadership, interest-group liberalism--plus many others too numerous to list individually. The authors show how the range of contemporary thought about policy issues is widened and deepened by the insights of the philosophers and even the theologians. The editor's case against the isolation of policy science from political philosophy is successfully illustrated by these essays, and students of policy will find their ideas enriched by the stimulus provided.?-Choice

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