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The state of nature in comparative poltical thought : western and non-western perspectives
Carlson, Jon D., 1969- author, editor of compilation.
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vii, 295 pages ; 24 cm.
Global encounters : studies in comparative political theory
Introduction : comparative states of nature / Russell Arben Fox -- Self-transformation and civil society : Lockean vs. Confucian / Sungmoon Kim -- Han Feizi's philosophical psychology : human nature, scarcity, and the neodarwinian consensus / Owen Flanagan and Jing Hu -- The Confucian tradition, nature, and civil education / Russell Arben Fox -- States of nature : counter-Confucianism and the Daoist encounter with liberalism / Eric Goodfield -- Mozi, Hobbes, Locke and the state of nature / Al Martinich and Siwing Tsoi -- Chinese sage kings and the Hobbesian state of nature : bridging comparative political thought and international relations theory / Jon D. Carlson -- States of nature and islands of politics : animality, death, colonialism / Murad Idris -- Ibn Khaldoun : writing from the margin : the state of nature-to remain there / Magid Shihade -- "He state of nature and domesticated differences in ancient Indian political thought : a historical-comparative approach / Stuart Gray -- On Matsyanyaya : the state of nature in Indian thought (from Asian philosophy) / David Slakter -- "I'd rather just devolve, thank you" : Enkidu, Gilgamesh, and an ambiguous state of nature / Stefan Dolgert -- The problem of the state of nature in medieval Jewish political philosophy / Abraham Melamed -- The nature of the state without the state of nature : Micronesia and Polynesia / Michael Stoil -- Conclusion : states of nature : consilience, syncretism, and challenges for comparative political thought / Jon D. Carlson.


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Book 0338298 BD581 .S7138 2014 Central Campus Library

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This book addresses a fundamental concept in political thought--the "state of nature"--through a comparative and cross-cultural approach. Western social contract thinking usually falls along lines identified with scholars like Hobbes or Rousseau, with accordant debate over whether humans are good, bad, or just selfish; conflict prone or cooperative; egocentric or altruistic; with subordinate discussions about the proper limits of sovereign authority. Depending on how one views the "natural" condition of human beings and the communities which they build, various questions arise. What constitutes a "good" or natural political order? What is the best basis for understanding the "nature" of sovereignty or political legitimacy, and what is its future? In an age of increased global interaction and potential cultural, civilization-based, misunderstanding, this volume takes the Hobbesian rhetorical device of a pre-social contract "state of nature" and seeks to address this concept--and thereby, many of the aforementioned questions--in light of contributions from non-Western thinkers. In our globalizing age when cultures and peoples increasingly talk and interact, it is not viable to use only Western political thinkers to address allegedly universal concepts. So we overtly seek to break open the frame of reference for any future discussion of the "state of nature." This volume adds to the emerging body of work grouped under the heading "comparative political thought" and serves as a model for how key political concepts may be addressed in a comparative and cross-civilizational manner. Chapters engage Chinese, Indic, Polynesian, Jewish, Babylonian, and Islamic interpretations of this fundamental question of politics. In addressing competing interpretations of the state of nature, the exclusionary hegemonic aspects of the Western canon may be both exposed and potentially reconciled with alternative visions of political behavior, legitimacy, justice, rights, and "appropriate" social and political behavior.