By (author) Dana R. Villa
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Socratic Citizenship by Dana R. Villa
Book DescriptionMany critics bemoan the lack of civic engagement in America. Tocqueville's "nation of joiners" seems to have become a nation of alienated individuals, disinclined to fulfill the obligations of citizenship or the responsibilities of self-government. In response, the critics urge community involvement and renewed education in the civic virtues. But what kind of civic engagement do we want, and what sort of citizenship should we encourage? In Socratic Citizenship, Dana Villa takes issue with those who would reduce citizenship to community involvement or to political participation for its own sake. He argues that we need to place more value on a form of conscientious, moderately alienated citizenship invented by Socrates, one that is critical in orientation and dissident in practice. Taking Plato's Apology of Socrates as his starting point, Villa argues that Socrates was the first to show, in his words and deeds, how moral and intellectual integrity can go hand in hand, and how they can constitute importantly civic--and not just philosophical or moral--virtues. More specifically, Socrates urged that good citizens should value this sort of integrity more highly than such apparent virtues as patriotism, political participation, piety, and unwavering obedience to the law. Yet Socrates' radical redefinition of citizenship has had relatively little influence on Western political thought. Villa considers how the Socratic idea of the thinking citizen is treated by five of the most influential political thinkers of the past two centuries--John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber, Hannah Arendt, and Leo Strauss. In doing so, he not only deepens our understanding of these thinkers' work and of modern ideas of citizenship, he also shows how the fragile Socratic idea of citizenship has been lost through a persistent devaluation of independent thought and action in public life. Engaging current debates among political and social theorists, this insightful book shows how we must reconceive the idea of good citizenship if we are to begin to address the shaky fundamentals of civic culture in America today.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691086934
(229mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 30-Jul-2001
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Dana R. Villa
Public Freedom, Paperback (August 2008)
Argues that political freedom is essential to both the preservation of constitutional government and the very substance of American democracy itself. This book examines, among other topics, the promise and limits of civil society and associational life as sources of democratic renewal; and the effects of mass media on the public arena.
Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt, Paperback (November 2000)
A distinguished team of contributors examines the primary themes of Arendt's multi-faceted thought.
Politics, Philosophy, Terror, Paperback (August 1999)
Begins by focusing on some controversial aspects of Arendt's political thought. This title shows that Arendt's idea of the banality of evil - inspired by the trial of Adolf Eichmann - does not lessen the guilt of war criminals by suggesting that they are mere cogs in a bureaucratic machine.
Arendt and Heidegger, Paperback (October 1995)» View all books by Dana R. Villa
Argues that Hannah Arendt"ï¿½'s reconceptualization of the nature and value of political action has been covered over and domesticated by admirers. This book explores Arendt's modernity, and indeed her postmodernity, through the Heideggerian and Nietzschean theme of a break with tradition at the closure of metaphysics.
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Author Biography - Dana R. Villa
Dana Villa teaches political theory at the University of California. Santa Barbara. He is the author of Politics, Philosophy, Terror: Essays on the Thought of Hannah Arendt and Arendt and Heidegger: The Fate of the Political (both Princeton) and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt.
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