To his contemporaries, Godwin was simply "the philosopher", and this title is a statement of rational anarchism, its ideas echoing through Kropotkin's mutual aid and Marx's vision of the post-revolutionary paradise....
|Title||:||Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness|
|Number of Pages||:||832 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness Reviews
I've had this one on the shelf for years, but something tells me that, in this day and age, it's an interesting time to finally crack it open. Here's the opening excerpt from the introduction by editor, Dr. Isaac Kramnick:"Every political philosophy has its prophet and sacred text. For liberalism it is Locke and The Second Treatise on Civil Government; for democracy it is Rousseau and his Social Contract; for conservatism Burke and the Reflections on the Revolution in France; for socialism Marx and the Communist Manifesto. Anarchism is no exception. Its prophet is William Godwin and its first sacred text, his Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. James Joll, historian of anarchism, writing in 1964 describes the 'one English writer who, starting from the commonplaces of eighteenth century philosophical belief, elaborated the most complete and worked-out statement of rational anarchist belief ever attempted, a philosophy of anarchism carried through to its logical conclusions, however surprising and absurd these might be. This was William Godwin.'"Should be an interesting read. I'll let you know what I think.
William Godwin is a name that nowadays receives more mention in relation to his famous wife, daughter and son-in-law than any personal merit, and yet with the republication of this book it is not hard to see that he is a philosophical and literary giant in his own right. His ideas rebel against the moral decay of man (something as prevalent today as it was in his) and while I cannot help but feel the apparent naïveté in much of his writing, I also cannot deny the sheer magnetism and optimism that flows throughout it.Godwin's theories concerning political justice centre more on the moral condition of man as an individual rather than on any specific rules set by a few. It was his belief that it was within all men to be virtuous and veracious; to put their own needs and wants aside in favour of what was greater for mankind as a whole. From this stems what man's position should be concerning slavery, war, property, crime and punishment, etc. And as Government stands as representative of the people, it must also stand as morally upright representatives of a morally upright people. In such a case all decisions would be simple, for everyone would see the right and wrong of all things. Political justice would always stand as true justice. An ideal world view penned by a talented thinker.
William Godwin was way ahead of his time. He imagined a world when the men would not plow the fields, but that the plows would plow the fields by themselves. How close are we to that time?
At first I was really insync with what godwin was talking about, but when I got half way threw or so I started to relise how inportand the monotary system is for advancement of peoples. As a person who was always, atleast slightly, agenst a system ruled by printed paper, I was surprised to find that I actualy could not see a world with out it. At first the opinions were imposible to disagree with but once you got deaper into the book thoughts started to get more and more radical. nearer to the end Godwin starts a rant about how marage is didpicable and how people should faunicate only for nesesity and that was just going a little too far. to say that all marages are a proclamation of property is offencive, even to a perosn who has never liked the idea because of that. you can't sayn that not one person married for love or that a man takes the woman and not the other way round! How could it be that when i hear oppinions ive had almost all my life come from this putrid mouth of Godwins I revert agenst them? Of corse I am not all reverst. I still belive the monotary system is wrong, but now I rather prefrance a bartering system. I still dont like missuse of funds but I also believe that it is inportant to be modivated by the need to be the best. Godwins views and believes make the human race seem like boys not men. Men do not give up because others are, and always will, be better than them. Men are not gready to be better than their enighboors. And Men do NOT treat women as property. All else are not men. All else (Godwin!) are boys.
He's a wordy bugger. Some interesting ideas here, many have gone on to bigger and better things. Justice and equality are his main focus but his views on the state and education were particularly worthy of further thought. That the world will be perfect once we've all sat around and thought about it a bit better is a rather unconvincing notion; whilst the 20th Century may have been written by arm-chair socialists, Godwin was an 18th Century mild-mannered anarcho-pacifist. Kroptkin next, of course...maybe he'll have a bit more oomph.
A brilliant work!One of the finest minds and most celebrated political thinkers of his time, when he published this book in 1793. And, it's simply a most enjoyable, quite refreshing read.Most of his comments and observations in late-Eighteenth Century England are relevant to what we see about us today in America. And arguably a good deal more so!His anarchist principles have never been sufficiently understood or tested over the last 222 years.It's about time they were, right here in this country!
It's a tough-going tome, but if you're interested in some of the more radical political theorists and theories of the late eighteenth century, or even just in anything related to the Godwin-Shelley family, then it's well worth a go. Godwin was a huge influence on Percy Shelley through the early/middle period of his life.
When I was fourteen I thought I was an anarchist. This book convinced me how boring anarchism is. Anarchy is better in small doses and with no 5 dollar words. Interesting thing though, William Godwin is Mary Shelly's Dad.
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness by William Godwin (1976)
There’s ſomething ſort of funny about reading eighteenth century literature, but ſo far I'm enjoying this ahead-of-its-time and inſightful take on political philoſophy and ethics.