A Theory of Justice by John RawlsJohn Rawls aims to express an essential part of the common core of the democratic tradition--justice as fairness--and to provide an alternative to utilitarianism, which had dominated the Anglo-Saxon tradition of political thought since the nineteenth century. Rawls substitutes the ideal of the social contract as a more satisfactory account of the basic rights and liberties of citizens as free and equal persons. "Each person," writes Rawls, "possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override." Advancing the ideas of Rousseau, Kant, Emerson, and Lincoln, Rawls's theory is as powerful today as it was when first published.Though the revised edition of A Theory of Justice, published in 1999, is the definitive statement of Rawls's view, much of the extensive literature on his theory refers to the original. This first edition is available for scholars and serious students of Rawls's work.
Publication Date: 2005-03-31
The Racial Contract by Charles W. MillsThe Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory, deadpan, to extraordinary radical use. With a sweeping look at the European expansionism and racism of the last five hundred years, Charles W. Mills demonstrates how this peculiar and unacknowledged "contract" has shaped a system of global European domination: how it brings into existence "whites" and "non-whites," full persons and sub-persons, how it influences white moral theory and moral psychology; and how this system is imposed on non-whites through ideological conditioning and violence. The Racial Contract argues that the society we live in is a continuing white supremacist state.Holding up a mirror to mainstream philosophy, this provocative book explains the evolving outline of the racial contract from the time of the New World conquest and subsequent colonialism to the written slavery contract, to the "separate but equal" system of segregation in the twentieth-century United States. According to Mills, the contract has provided the theoretical architecture justifying an entire history of European atrocity against non-whites, from David Hume's and Immanuel Kant's claims that blacks had inferior cognitive power, to the Holocaust, to the kind of imperialism in Asia that was demonstrated by the Vietnam War.Mills suggests that the ghettoization of philosophical work on race is no accident. This work challenges the assumption that mainstream theory is itself raceless. Just as feminist theory has revealed orthodox political philosophy's invisible white male bias, Mills's explication of the racial contract exposes its racial underpinnings.
In Defense of Anarchism by Robert Paul WolffIn Defense of Anarchism is a 1970 book by the philosopher Robert Paul Wolff, in which the author defends individualist anarchism. He argues that individual autonomy and state authority are mutually exclusive and that, as individual autonomy is inalienable, the moral legitimacy of the state collapses.
Call Number: JC578.R383 W64 c. 2 and select chapters available on e-reserves
Publication Date: 1977
Autobiography of an Ex-White Man by Robert Paul WolffAutobiography of an Ex-White Man is an intensely personal meditation on the nature of America by a White Philosopher who joined a Black Studies Department and found his understanding of the world transformed by the experience. The book begins with an autobiographical narrative of the events leading up to Wolff's transfer from a Philosophy Department to the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, and his experiences in the Department with his new colleagues, all of whom had come to Academia from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Wolff discovered that the apparently simple act of moving across campus to a new Department in a new building worked a startling change in the way he saw himself, his university, and his country. Reading as widely as possible to bring himself up to speed in his new field of academic responsibility, Wolff realized after a bit that his picture of American history and culture was undergoing an irreversible metamorphosis. America, he realized, has from its inception been a land both of Freedom and of Bondage: Freedom for the few, and then for those who are White; Bondage at first for the many, and then for those who are not White. Slavery is thus not an aberration, an accident, a Peculiar Institution -- it is the essence and core of the American experience. Wolff's optimistic outlook leads him to express the hope that our acknowledging the realities of America's racial history and present will begin to tear down the formidable barrier to change. He sees this refashioning of the American storyas a first step toward the crafting of a truly liberatory project. Robert Paul Wolff is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the author of numerous books, including Introductory Philosophy and In Defense of Anarchism.
Call Number: E184.7 .W65 2005 and available online