Lectures on Political Theory 1941-45

John Anderson

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Format: paperback
236 pages
ISBN: 9781920898816

Publication: 07 Dec 2007

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Delivered during the years of heightened national security of World War II these lectures present Anderson's views on the major questions in political theory in relation to the major influences upon his own early education: modern Idealism and Marxism.

In place of a simplistic contrast between individual and state Anderson insisted upon the complex interplay of movements, institutions and traditions. His modernist, realist project drew upon the major theorists of conflict, struggle and cyclic historical movement: Heraclitus, Vico and Sorel.

John Anderson was the Challis professor of philosophy at the University of Sydney from 1927 to 1958.

Foreword to the John Anderson series

Part 1: lectures on T.H. Green’s principles of political obligation 1941
1. Introduction
A. The grounds of political obligation
G. Will, not force, is the basis of the state
H. Has the citizen rights against the state?
I. Private rights: the right to life and liberty
K. The right of the state over the individual in war
L. The right of the state to punish
M. The right of the state to promote morality

Part 2: lectures on political theory – Bosanquet and Lenin 1942
1. Introduction
Lecture 1: politics and history
Lecture 2: philosophy and politics
Lecture 3: the social and the psychological
Lecture 4: consciousness and choice
2. Bernard Bosanquet: the idealist theory of politics
Lecture 5: the state and society
Lecture 6: Hegelian totality and historical development
Lecture 7: the pursuit of totality and the need for security
Lecture 8: idealism and mental unity
Lecture 9: idealism’s criticism of individualism
Lecture 10: anti-historical view of self and society
Lecture 11: Rousseau’s general will
Lecture 12: the state arises from opposition not unity
Lecture 13: the need to resist the notion of totality
Lecture 14: Bosanquet and institutional conflict
Lecture 15: Bosanquet’s view of harmony as a natural state
Lecture 16: Bosanquet and Hegel on ‘civil society’
3. Lenin: class doctrine
Lecture 17: Engels on class division and domination
Lecture 18: working class democratic achievements
Lecture 19: Marx and Lenin on the state machine
Lecture 20: Marxists’ anti-parliamentary views
4. Conclusion: Bosanquet and Lenin
Lecture 21: goods exist in struggle – the value of discussion
Lecture 22: equality and liberty in the socialist movement

Part 3: lectures on socialism 1945
1. Introduction
Lecture 1: Marx – class differences and their abolition
Lecture 2: distributive and productive socialism
Lecture 3: Marxist view of history
Lecture 4: how societies work vs how goods work
Lecture 5: cooperative activities vs unity of purpose
Lecture 6: hierarchical and non-hierarchical societies
Lecture 7: social movements prior to theory
2. Theory and practice: the theses on Feuerbach
Lecture 8: thesis 11 – theory and practice
Lecture 8A: thesis one – sense object and sensory activity
Lecture 9: theses one and two – activity and passivity
Lecture 10: coincidence of activity and the object in Marx
Lecture 11: thesis three – the possibility of reform
Lecture 12: ways of living – theory and practice
Lecture 13: theses four–seven – religion and history
Lecture 14 theses eight–ten – civil society and individualism
3. The socialist movement and the interpretation of history
Lecture 15: the notion of essential features in history
Lecture 15A: history as the history of class struggle
Lecture 16: the working class not socialist
Lecture 17: Marx’s negative conception of the proletariat
Lecture 18: Kautsky and Lenin’s conception of the state
Lecture 19: democracy and publicity
Lecture 20: the state and the concentration of power
Lecture 21: bourgeois democracy – workers’ rights
Lecture 22: political responsibility and discussion
Lecture 23: false doctrine of proletarian dictatorship
Lecture 24: distribution and consumers’ ideology
Lecture 25: rejection of socialism as quest for security


'Those who have previously trekked to the Fisher Library at Sydney to use these papers, as I did for ‘John Anderson and the Syndicalist Moment’ (Political Theory Newsletter, 1993), can now work on these materials at the leisure of their own desks. This is a significant contribution, for while everybody on the Australian left and in larger philosophical networks knows of Anderson, it always remains possible that we do not know him at all. Creagh McLean Cole’s contribution to this moment is to be applauded.'
Peter Beilharz   Thesis 11

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 × 12 mm
236 pages
1 b&w illustration
ISBN: 9781920898816
Publication: 07 Dec 2007