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Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its…
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Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals… (1793)

by William Godwin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1424129,978 (3.71)4
'To a rational being there can be but one rule of conduct, justice, and one mode of ascertaining that rule, the exercise of his understanding.' Godwin's Political Justice is the founding text of philosophical anarchism. Written in the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution, it exemplifies the political optimism felt by many writers and intellectuals. Godwin drew on enlightenment ideas and his background inreligious dissent for the principles of justice, utility, and the sanctity of individual judgement that drove his powerful critique of all forms of secular and religious authority. He predicts the triumph of justice andequality over injustice, and of mind over matter, and the eventual vanquishing of human frailty and mortality. He also foresees the gradual elimination of practices governing property, punishment, law, and marriage and the displacement of politics by an expanded personal morality resulting from reasoned argument and candid discussion. Political Justice raises deep philosophical questions about the nature of our duty to others that remain central to modern debates on ethics andpolitics. This edition reprints the first-edition text of 1793, and examines Godwin's evolving philosophy in the context of his life and work.… (more)

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Showing 4 of 4
Interesting from the point of view of today's Occupy movement to see this early treatise on utopian anarchism... and yet as with so many anarchists, Godwin backs away from his most radical ideas, ultimately allowing that there is *some* place for government and property and class stratification, etc. And on the other end, it's also amusing to see him take his wildest ideas to their most ludicrous conclusions, as when he suggests that in the future, men will live forever and lose all desire for sex. Sure, why not? ( )
  amydross | Sep 22, 2013 |
Philosophical anarchist argument for human perfectibility.
  Fledgist | Feb 9, 2013 |
"This book exceeds in deliberate intentional falsehood ..." (Inscribed on first leaf).
  JohnAdams | Mar 28, 2008 |
A classic study advocating not minimal but no government at all.
  Fledgist | Sep 20, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Godwinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kramnick, IsaacEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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