Public Policy and the Public Good PDF

by Ethan M. Fishman 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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