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Political Judgment: An Introduction

Peter J. Steinberger

ISBN: 978-1-509-51314-7 June 2018 Polity 140 Pages


Politics is the process by which communities collectively decide to pursue certain courses of action. It is, as such, always a matter of judgment. Courses of action are chosen at least in part because they are somehow adjudged better than the alternatives, and this has given rise to a great deal of speculation about the ways in which we determine the relative merits of proposed laws and policies. What exactly is good judgment in politics? What are the characteristics of people who judge especially well? How is good judgment acquired and how can we recognize it in others?

Peter Steinberger addresses such questions by considering a variety of important developments in the history of political thought – ancient, modern and contemporary – introducing readers to important and on-going debates about the idea of prudence or practical wisdom as it functions, or should function, in the realm of public affairs. It will be essential reading for students and scholars of political theory, the history of political thought, and political ethics.
  • Contents
  • Introduction What is Political Judgment?
  • Chapter 1 Foundations: Plato and Aristotle
  • Chapter 2 The Kantian Problematic
  • Chapter 3 The Arendtian Theory of Judgment
  • Chapter 4 Hermeneutics, Tacit Knowledge and Neo-Rationalism
  • Notes
  • Index
“One could not have hoped for a clearer or more helpful guide to the literature on political judgment than the one supplied by Peter Steinberger. Anyone interested in what it is to make judgments about our political world, and how to secure validity for those judgments, will be stimulated and edified by Steinberger’s astute treatment of this important theme.”
Ronald Beiner, University of Toronto

“What is good political judgment? Peter Steinberger offers an illuminating account of the diverse answers offered to this long-standing question in the Western philosophical tradition. A must read.”
Linda M. G. Zerilli, University of Chicago