Rowman and Littlefield International
Concepts and Reason in Political Theory

Concepts and Reason in Political Theory

By Iain Hampsher-Monk

Publication Date: Nov 2015

Pages 254

ECPR Press

Paperback 9781907301704
£30.00 €41.00 $46.00

This volume brings together a selection of Iain Hampsher-Monk's writings on questions of historicity and rationality in political theory, together with a substantial introduction written for the volume. There are two loci around which the work revolves – one is the relationship between history and philosophy in the analysis of key concepts such as liberty, democracy and toleration, the other is the role of reason in political science's explanations. Despite a background in PPE, the author played a major role in the ‘historical', revolution in political theory. Here, his reflections on the historicity of concepts in political science are presented alongside articles dealing with the role and limitations of economic modes of rationality in social and political theorising. Unifying these themes is a commitment to an understanding of human action as conscious and essentially meaning-bearing and the case for a human science rooted in such self-understandings.


List of Figures and Tables vii

Acknowledgements ix

Foreword xi

Sources xiii

Concepts and Reason – Introduction xv


Chapter One – Politics, Political Theory and its History 3

Chapter Two – Speech Acts, Languages or Conceptual History? 21


Chapter Three – Classical and Empirical Theories of Democracy:

The Missing Historical Dimension 45

Chapter Four – Is There an English Form of Toleration? 57

Chapter Five – Political Liberty and the Concept of Citizenship

in Early Modern English Political Discourse 73


Chapter Six – The Individualist Premise and the Practice of Politics 97

Chapter Seven – Two Arguments Against Rawlsian Equality 119

Chapter Eight – Rational Choice and Interpretive Evidence:

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place? 135

Chapter Nine – Prices as Descriptions: Reasons as Explanations 155

Chapter Ten – The Market for Toleration: A Case Study in an Aspect

of the Ambiguity of ‘Positive Economics’ 177

Bibliography 193

Index 213

Iain Hampsher-Monk studied PPE (University of Keele) and with Bernard Crick at the University of Sheffield. He joined the University of Exeter in 1971, where he was appointed Professor of Political Theory in 1995, and head of department (1996-2000). He has held visiting posts in St Louis, the Netherlands, and Ljubljana. He was twice RAE panellist (2004, 2008); and convened the Political Thought Conference (UK) 2006-12) He founded (1980) with Janet Coleman the journal History of Political Thought which he still edits; is author of the PSA prizewinning History of Modern Political Thought (Blackwell, 1994); and has recently edited Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France(CUP). His substantive research includes over fifty articles and chapters on writers, concepts and issues in the history of political thought, together with an interest in the role played by rationality as an explanatory and interpretive concept in both historical and political science explanations.

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