Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pg. 99: Arthur Ripstein's "Force and Freedom"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy by Arthur Ripstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this masterful work, both an illumination of Kant’s thought and an important contribution to contemporary legal and political theory, Arthur Ripstein gives a comprehensive yet accessible account of Kant’s political philosophy. Ripstein shows that Kant’s thought is organized around two central claims: first, that legal institutions are not simply responses to human limitations or circumstances; indeed the requirements of justice can be articulated without recourse to views about human inclinations and vulnerabilities. Second, Kant argues for a distinctive moral principle, which restricts the legitimate use of force to the creation of a system of equal freedom. Ripstein’s description of the unity and philosophical plausibility of this dimension of Kant’s thought will be a revelation to political and legal scholars.

In addition to providing a clear and coherent statement of the most misunderstood of Kant’s ideas, Ripstein also shows that Kant’s views remain conceptually powerful and morally appealing today. Ripstein defends the idea of equal freedom by examining several substantive areas of law—private rights, constitutional law, police powers, and punishment—and by demonstrating the compelling advantages of the Kantian framework over competing approaches.
Read an excerpt from Force and Freedom, and learn more about the book at the Harvard University Press website.

Arthur Ripstein is a professor of law and of philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Equality, Responsibility and the Law (1999), and editor of Ronald Dworkin (Cambridge 2007) and co-editor of Law and Morality (1996, second edition 2001, third edition 2007), and Practical Rationality and Preference (2001).

The Page 99 Test: Force and Freedom.

--Marshal Zeringue