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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Philosophical Foundations of Leadership by David Cawthon (Transaction) The book you are about to read is about leadership, with examples drawn from thinkers ranging from ancient to modern times. But before the book is introduced to the reader some prefatory remarks about the late author are in order.

David Lee Cawthon (1938-2001) wrote a well-received series of articles examining how great thinkers dealt with the challenges of leadership. Angus MacDonald, publisher of the St. Croix Review, is to be thanked for his perceptive grasp of the importance of the series that he first printed and for his guidance in seeking a book publisher for it.

Dave Cawthon's pursuit of the topic extended throughout his life­time. However, the series arose from another work that served as a catalyst. Like so many teachers, I read lists of books in the same way gardeners examine flower catalogues. One day my eye fell on the citation for James O'Toole's The Executive's Compass (1993), as well as a brief description of its contents. The sketch intrigued me. Instinctively, I knew this was a title that would also intrigue Dave. He would be interested in O'Toole's value compass and the book's ethical discussions. I ordered the book, received it, and after thumbing its pages to confirm my earlier assumption, I left it with a note for Dave. After some time elapsed, he contacted me with an enthusiastic response to the work. The gestation process for his own project had begun. Still later, Dave participated in the wide-ranging discussions held as a part of the summertime Aspen Institute, where O'Toole for years had been moderator of the Institute's Executive Seminars. Those exchanges stimulated Dave's thinking, further fu­eling his desire to undertake his own study of leadership. In addi­tion, I continually nipped at Dave's heels about his writing project.

In the meantime Dave's work continued to intrude into his think­ing, writing, and golfing time. Dave saw university service in a wide variety of leadership roles on more than one campus. Whether a school dean or an academic vice president, he worked to heal rifts whether among faculty, trustees, or students. In 1997 he became the interim president of Oklahoma City University. Those were tough times that tested his abilities to the fullest. He preserved the institu­tion in the face of multiple threats. As a result of working closely with him through the challenges I came to admire Dave greatly. He displayed all of the qualities of an able leader. Moreover, he led with aplomb. And, he kept one eye focused on the long-term religious consequences that actions have on the human soul.

David Cawthorn kept the religious element of human existence in the forefront of his life and of his thinking. He occupied the T. K. Hendrick Chair of Management within the Meinders Business School where he was an exceptionally capable teacher. He also had extensive instruction experience overseas. His teaching focused on orga­nizational behavior and leadership. Students would comment that his class had transformed their lives and how his teaching and ex­hortations had placed them on a productive path for the future. He was among the finest teachers on a campus well known for its teaching. In his classroom as in his life, he exuded a devotion to religious-based learning.

The combination of religious focus and concern for questions of leadership led him to assess how great thinkers in the past had dealt with similar issues. In his series of articles for the St. Croix Review, Dave examined Aristotle, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, and prelates such as Aquinas as they struggled with vexing questions of what makes a successful leader.

Lung cancer quietly assaulted Dave during his final year. He un­derwent a successful course of treatment during that time only to succumb quickly at the end to congestive heart failure. Again, his sustaining faith served as an example to all of us who knew him of how to face the inevitable end.

He left many legacies, centered on words like family, church, friends, and students. Among his publications, he left the series of articles that became this book. The work is a testament to Dave Cawthon's wide-ranging thinking, so often focused on leadership. Often, he would deftly swing a dinner table conversation toward a discussion of a recent news topic dealing with some aspect of lead­ership, then steer the comments in the direction of a more in-depth examination of the qualities that make a leader.

Dave's book comes at an opportune time because religion, in all aspects of life and work, is the subject of increasing attention. Com­mentators, media programming, and printed works address, and re­appraise, religious issues in societies. As David Cawthon frequently noted, leadership never goes out of style as a topic. Questions of what constitutes leadership and leaders are ever present in a repub­lic. At some point all of us either hurl a plaudit or a barb at our leaders.

A book triggered Dave Cawthon's thinking to focus on leader­ship. He would be most well served if his own book stirred a similar response from readers. Through these pages the individual will dis­cern how engaging and compelling Dave was as a person and teacher. His queries into the nature of leadership are relevant today, and likely will remain so in the future. 

A Political Life by Noberto Bobbio (Polity) is the compelling autobiography of Norberto Bobbio, one of the foremost political thinkers in postwar Italy. In dramatic and lively prose, Bobbio guides us through some of the most significant events of the twentieth century, charting their influence on his life and work.
Norberto Bobbio's early life was marked by the experience of growing up in Mussolini's Italy – an experience that helped to shape his passionate commitment to the anti-fascist cause. As a result of these early experiences, Bobbio has tirelessly emphasized the fundamental, unassailable importance of democratic rights in the modern state. He has been a voice of reason and moderation in a political context where democratic values have often come under threat.
This masterly autobiography traces the development of Bobbio's political thought alongside intimate accounts of his personal experiences, giving a rare insight into the life of this distinguished and prominent thinker.

Communities of Individuals: Liberalism, Communitarianism, and Sartre's Anarchism by Michael J. R. Cross (Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Philosophy: Ashgate)

The name of Jean-Paul Sartre is linked irrevocably with existentialism. This is to be expected. Of all Sartre's philosophical works, the one that has been read by the most people must surely be Existentialism and Humanism. It is short and it is accessible. Moreover, in tune with the spirit of the age, it dismisses the view that human beings are beings with a fixed nature, a given purpose and for whom moral agency consists of the proper application of universal and independently valid principles, independent, that is, of any particular social setting. Instead, it posits human freedom as the most important value and as the only authentic source of both moral agency and human fulfilment.

During the 1950s, Sartre's work became more explicitly political leading, in the Critique of Dialectical Reason, to his attempt to reconcile existentialism with Marxism. One outcome of that attempt was his own version of dialectical thinking. Another, connected, outcome was a clear statement of certain anarchist ideas. The argument is that human freedom is enhanced and thus human fulfillment most effectively attained by co‑operative action within the context of certain sorts of communities, specifically, non-hierarchical communities.

In its celebration of both human freedom and, as a condition for its enhancement, certain sorts of communities, the Critique is well-placed to serve as a source for an examination and extension of the liberal‑communitarian debate. Liberalism asserts the priority of the individual over any community and communitarians argue that in making that assertion, liberalism diminishes the significance that communities have for their individual members. In essence this is, of course, an age-old debate. Yet it is still resonant not only in the politics and philosophy departments of universities but also in contemporary practical politics. However, one would like to see even more resonance, particularly in connection with criticisms of certain aspects of liberalism and, relatedly, the more secure establishment of the communitarian case for community than communitarianism itself has yet achieved. This book is written as a contribution to that end…

If it is possible to question the choice of Sartre as the basis for the argument then it is also possible to question the choice of Sandel, Maclntyre and Walzer as representatives of communitarianism. The choice is informed by the fact that each employs different arguments as characterized in the opening paragraph of this introduction, and each has different targets. Sandel's target is what he calls deontological liberalism, which he identifies as the Kantian‑Rawlsian strand of liberalism. MacIntyre's target is all forms of liberalism. Walzer's target is the manner by which goods are distributed and hence the way in which justice is administered and thus, although he has liberal sympathies, he can be said to be critical of a particular aspect of laissez‑faire liberalism.

The next chapter sets the scene by interpreting the basis of Sartre's argument. This will involve an examination of the relationship between needs, scarcity and praxis. From this examination it will emerge that praxis is both normative and dialectical in nature and operates according to a two-way movement by which people are mediated by things to the extent that things are mediated by people. The results of the examination of the relationship between needs, scarcity and praxis understood as normative and dialectical in nature will further our understanding of the ways in which the communitarian notion of community has been neglectful and, since, in the context of this work, such a theory requires a normative notion of praxis, ways in which a normative theory of associations might be developed will start to become apparent. The discussion of scarcity will include the introduction of a comparison between the ideas of Thomas Hobbes and Sartre which is included to clarify some of Sartre's arguments and locate them alongside a particular tradition in political philosophy.

In chapter three, following some brief distinctions between the forms of liberalism that are to receive attention in this work, there will be an examination of the work of Sandel, MacIntyre and Walzer in order to establish why it is thought that communities have a significant part to play in the lives of their members. Although the focus of attention will be on those three writers, reference will also be made to other communitarian writers or writers with communitarian sympathies. The concluding part of this chapter will be a survey of the ways in which communitarianism has been neglectful of community and will be presented in terms of deficiencies in the communitarian account of community.

An understanding of the nature of the relationship between needs, scarcity and praxis understood as normative and dialectical is necessary background for the argument in the fourth chapter. This argument arises from the communitarian failure to appreciate that an understanding of community requires an understanding of the relationship that individuals who constitute communities

have with their natural environment. Despite the fact that Sartre is not best known as an environmentalist, the argument that can be derived from the Critique will be that the way that individually and collectively people relate to the natural environment affects the way that people relate to each other as members of a community and the way that people relate to each other as members of a community affects the way that individually and collectively people relate to the natural environment. This argument will reveal certain understandings about the satisfaction of needs and from that understandings about two different sorts of alienation.

The comparison between Hobbes and Sartre that began in the previous chapter will be complemented in chapter four by the beginnings of a comparison between Sartre and Jean‑Jacques Rousseau and for the same reason. In fact, Sartre's ideas in the Critique may, to a greater extent than is generally realized, usefully be compared with those of Hobbes and Rousseau. This is unsurprising given the commonality of their concerns. Therefore, this comparison will form a significant part of this work. The significance resides not only in the fact that all three address similar issues but also in the fact that they address issues that are avoided by the communitarians.

Chapters five and six examine different forms and terms of association. "Forms of association" refers to the nature of the association as indicated by the relationship between an individual and the other individuals who constitute the community to which that individual belongs. This relationship reveals the terms of association, that is, the understandings that people have about their particular community. There is, in fact, a dialectical relationship between forms and terms of association. Each form of association will be accompanied by and sustained by its particular terms of association. The forms and terms of association are instigated by praxis and each type of association is distinguished by its own praxis. The dialectical nature of the praxis that instigates and distinguishes each type of association is such that it will be argued that not only do communities constitute individuals but also that individuals constitute communities. The form of association studied in chapter five is the series. This is the form of association to be found in liberal, particularly laissez‑faire liberal, societies. This chapter can, therefore, be regarded as providing reasons which communitarians themselves do not provide for the communitarian criticism of a certain sort of liberalism and hence, by implication, reasons for desiring an alternative form of association. Chapter six can be regarded as a return to the correction of communitarian negligence for it is the chapter that examines Sartre's view of different types of groups.

Chapter seven reviews the deficiencies in the communitarian account of community and reviews the ways in which the interpretation of praxis that is offered in this work can remedy those deficiencies. With that review completed the communitarian account of community is then scrutinized through the lens of another school of thought, that concerned with the psychology of moral agency and in particular with the importance of the dispositions for moral agency. This will involve an examination of Aristotle's notion of the good life and the community. This scrutiny is conducted with the intention of discerning if, from

an apparently different perspective, further amendments to the communitarian position can be made. It will be seen that such amendments are possible. It will also be seen both that the interpretation of praxis developed in this work can offer some insights to that school of thought and that insights from that school of thought can serve to emphasize aspects of praxis that hitherto have been acknowledged but not explored in detail. Having, in that way, extended the interpretation of praxis it will now be seen that an understanding of praxis can make a contribution to the work of other critics of certain sorts of liberalism, again not normally associated with Sartre, namely, those feminist theorists who espouse an ethics of care. However, it will also be seen that the work of those feminist theorists can make a contribution to an understanding of praxis not by adding anything new but again by emphasizing what has already been said. Having established a developed view of praxis it will be argued that this view can in itself reveal the existence of a dialectical method of inquiry into social experience in general and into the nature of associations in particular, and also a dialectical structure for reasoning.

With all of the parts of the argument now in place, there is a return to the communitarian notion of community in the concluding chapter. This is in order to subject that notion to the dialectical method of inquiry revealed in the previous chapter and hence to demonstrate that it is a method of inquiry that should be of interest to communitarians.

This work, therefore, uses the Critique to remedy deficiencies in the communitarian account of community. In order to do this it will, as has been indicated, move beyond the Critique. It will move beyond the Critique in five particular ways. First, as was mentioned earlier, by showing that praxis is not only dialectical in nature but also normative. Second, the dialectical and normative nature of praxis will reveal that associations have a variety of forms and each form is accompanied by its particular terms. Third, the normative nature of praxis will provide a basis for a normative theory of associations. Fourth, a dialectical method for inquiring into the nature of social experience and in particular the nature of associations will be established solely on the basis of the process of praxis. Fifth, on the basis of that method, a structure for dialectical reason will be revealed.

Encyclopedia of Political Thought by Garrett Ward Sheldon (Facts On File) is an indispensable resource for students or general readers who want to know more about the major ideas, philosophies, and concepts of civic administration that have influenced and shaped civilization past and present.

With particular emphasis on the 20th century, the encyclopedia contains more than 400 cross‑referenced entries that make up an up‑to‑date survey of topics that have been crucial to the history of humankind, including the rise and fall of communism, the advent of feminism, and the advancement of democracy.

Key concepts and controversial issues are clearly defined and thoughtfully analyzed, with examples from cur­rent events used to enhance the reader's understanding of the ideas presented. Ideologies are not only con­sidered within historical context but are also related to contemporary politics, enhancing the book's useful­ness for reports, student debates, or general research. A chronology provides a linear presentation of the evo­lution of political thinking.

Entries include Abolitionism, Abortion, Anarchism, Sir Francis Bacon, Capital punishment, Communism, Democracy, Dictatorship, Euthanasia, Fascism, Holocaust, Martin Luther King, Jr., Vladimir Lenin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Voltaire, and Zionism.


Political Apocalypse: A Study of Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor by Ellis Sandoz (ISI Books) presents a rather fulsome political-cultural reading of the famous theological fable from The Brothers Karamazov. Sandoz shows how themes of meaning and redemption, the denial of God and a refutation of that denial inform a moral and political reading of the text. It is by far the most sustained critique and study of this section of the novel.

Utopia: Thomas More by Thomas More, translated by Clarence H. Miller (Yale) (Paperback) First published in 1516, Saint Thomas More's Utopia is one of the most important works of European humanism. Through the voice of the mysterious traveler Raphael Hythloday, More describes a pagan, communist city-state governed by reason. Addressing such issues as religious pluralism, women's rights, state-sponsored education, colonialism, and justified warfare, Utopia seems remarkably contemporary nearly five centuries after it was written, and it remains a foundational text in philosophy and political theory.

Preeminent More scholar, Clarence H. Miller does justice to the full range of More's rhetoric in this new translation. Professor Miller includes a helpful introduction that outlines some of the important problems and issues that Utopia raises, and also provides informative commentary to assist the reader throughout this challenging and rewarding exploration of the meaning of political community.

The Values Connection by A. James Reichley (Rowman & Littlefield) Values are missing from American politics. But should religion and government mix? A. James Reichley makes the provocative case that with­out a strong moral basis, American democracy is in trouble. The author's deep background in political theory and American constitutional history allows him to propose practical steps for a constitutionally valid relationship between religion and public life. He surveys the seven major value systems currently competing for America's heart and soul and convincingly demonstrates that only one—what Reichley calls "transcendent idealism"—is the way to secure America's future. He then goes an extra step by pointing out examples of successful, morally based public policies addressing critical social problems ranging from drug abuse to single parenthood to school choice. What's God got to do with good government? In The Values Connection, the answer is everything.

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