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Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will: The Political Philosophy of Kai Nielsen


Edited by David Rondel and Alex Sager, With Contributions by Kai Nielsen

$34.95 CAD / $41.95 USD

520 pages

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-530-2 (Paperback)

September 2012

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About the Book

Kai Nielsen is one of Canada’s most distinguished political philosophers. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has published more than 400 papers in political philosophy, ethics, meta-philosophy, and philosophy of religion. He has engaged much of the best work in Anglophone political philosophy,” shedding light on many of the central debates and controversies of our time but throughout has remained a unique voice on the political left.

Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will presents a thoughtful collection of Nielsen’s essays complemented by an extended reflective interview with Nielsen. This collection allows the reader to grasp the systematic scope of his thought and methodology.

David Rondel is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ryerson University. He specializes in social and political philosophy among other areas of research.

Alex Sager is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University. He specializes in social and political philosophy among other areas of research.

Priase for Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will:

Rondel and Sager exhibit great tact and ingenuity in their editing…It is clear that they possess great familiarity with Nielsen’s work . . . Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will  will remain a hugely informative, supremely readable thought-provoking anthology of a highly influential political philosopher.

—Karolina Wisniewski, Dialogue 

Table of Contents
 

Preface
Sources

Introduction

Kai Nielsen’s Political Philosophy: A Critical Introduction and Overview

Metaphilosophy: Critical Theory and Wide-Reflective Equilibrium

On Finding One’s Feed in Philosophy: From Wittgenstein to Marx
Metaphilosophy, Pragmatism and a Kind of Critical Theory: Nielsen and Rorty
On There Being Wide Reflective Equilibria: Why It Is Important to Put It In the Plural
The Global Crisis of Values: The Poverty of Moral Philosophy

Egalitarianism and Socialism

On the Choice Between Reform and Revolution
Justice and Modes of Production: Allen Wood’s "The Marxian Critique of Justice"
Revisited
Class and Justice
Radical Egalitarian Justice: Justice as Equality
Radical Egalitarianism Revisited: On Going beyond the Difference Principle

Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Global Justice

Is Global Justice Impossible?
Liberal Nationalism, Liberal Democratic, and Secession
Cosmopolitan Nationalism
World Government: A Cosmopolitan Imperative?

Afterward

An Interview with Kai Nielsen on Political Philosophy

Selected Writings by Kai Nielsen
Bibliography
Index