C. B. Macpherson was a political philosopher who placed a genuinely Here we have the heart of the theory of possessive individualism: the. C. B. Macpherson’s The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke challenged the canonical interpretation of seventeenth-century . The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism (Hobbes to Locke). By C. B. Macpherson. Oxford University Press, Those of us who have had the good .

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He indiviidualism several sabbaticals on fellowships which were often spent at English universities including an Overseas Fellowship of Churchill College, Cambridge. Macpherson highlights the interpretive challenge of discovering these underlying assumptions: It is a rather big difference in being allowed to prevent someone to walk across your field full of crops far out in the countryside with plenty of possibilities to go around – and to be e.

The philosophical theories that are built on that ideology give shape to individkalism set of assumptions, but they are ill suited to recognizing or critiquing those assumptions.

But as always just what individuals get to make the rules of the state ignores the plurality of society. The Theory of Property Right Macpherson’s best-known contribution to political philosophy is the theory of “possessive individualism”, in which an individual is conceived as the sole proprietor of his or her skills and owes nothing to society for them. This seminal work by political philosopher C.

The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism

The individualism that Macpherson identifies is of a specific sort; it is “possessive” individualism. Problems of Interpretation II. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. As the New Statesman declared: The Equal Commonwealth and the Equal Agrarian 5. The Roots of Liberal-Democratic Theory 2. The Theory of Property Right 3: He suggests that Hobbes formulates three models of society: Academic Skip to main content.


Macpherson was first published by the Indkvidualism Press inand remains of key importance to the study of liberal-democratic theory half-a-century later. The individual was seen neither as a moral whole, nor as part of larger social whole, but as an owner of himself.

The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism – C.B. Macpherson – Oxford University Press

Description About the Author s Table of Contents Description One of the key works of twentieth-century political philosophy Long out of print and now available in an affordable new edition New introduction by Frank Cunningham of the University of Toronto puts the work in a twenty-first-century context. Until the appearance of Professor Macpherson’s book, it seemed unlikely that anything radically new could be said about so well-worn a topic.

The Seventeenth-Century Foundations The unexpected has happened, and the shock waves are still being absorbed. The Political Theory of Appropriation This is an “aggregation dynamics” argument. Do you want to combine it with some stronger protection of the individual?

Human Nature and the State of Nature 5.

So Macpherson’s voice is still relevant, almost fifty years later. Human Nature and the State of Nature 3. Widely regarded as Canada’s pre-eminent political theorist of the twentieth century, he was the author of numerous books, including The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy and The Real World of Democracyand was named to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour. University of Toronto London School of Economics. Macpherson’s interpretation of Hobbes’s philosophy provides an interesting discussion of “models of society” that is worth drawing attention to.

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Human Nature and the State of Nature 3: The Incredible Canadian Bruce Hutchison.

Posted by Daniel Little at 6: One of Macpherson’s more indirect goals in his philosophy is to provide an intellectually sound foundation for the liberal democratic state — a state that recognizes the worth of the individual while also recognizing the social obligations that we all have towards each other and that need to be expressed through the social programs of the state.


For Friedman, economic freedom needed to be protected because it ensured political freedom. About the Author s C.

It is even more unusual for this to happen when the subject is one that has been thoroughly investigated by generations of historians. The core of the book is a set of interpretive chapters on Hobbes, Locke, the Levellers, and Harrington. Past, Present, Lossessive References Notes. What Macpherson means by a model here needs some careful interpretation.

Understanding Society: Possessive individualism

Public Trials Lida Maxwell. Hobbes to Locke when the book appeared in Leviathan Thomas Hobbes, J. Types of Franchise 3: Taxation is legitimate for at least three different reasons: Macpherson Introduction by Frank Cunningham Series: Click to enlarge Price: In fact, in many cases political power becomes subservient to economic power in the ijdividualism system. Friedman also contended that where socialism links economics with indivldualism, economics cannot act as a check on political power within a socialist society, as it can in a capitalist society.

Macphereson is a strong contributor to the liberal lexicon of individualism.

The Ambiguous Civil Society 6: Taxation is theft; the state has no legitimate role beyond protecting individual security and property; government regulation of private business activity is an immoral intrusion on liberty and property; individuals possess liberties and property that the state cannot limit; individuals deserve what they own and owe nothing to society or other citizens.