Foucault's Foundationless Democratic Theory

Foucault's Foundationless Democratic Theory

Date: December 2006
Creator: Carter, Kelly A.
Description: I examine a key shift in Michel Foucault's political philosophy from a position in which he was a staunch anti-humanist, to a final position in which he advocated not only the ability of the subject to influence his political condition, but also the individual freedoms assured by a democratic form of government. I begin by summarizing his overall critique of the post-Enlightenment West, and then explain how his observation of the Iranian Revolution served as a key turning point concerning his attitude towards the subject. Next, I elaborate on the direction of Foucault's late writings and examine how his new conceptualization of the subject leads him to embrace a democratic political system albeit free from Enlightenment philosophical foundations. I conclude by critiquing Foucault's foundationless democratic theory on the basis that it would ultimately undermine the individual freedoms and aesthetic development that he seeks to protect.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
War and peace: Towards an understanding of the theology of jihad.

War and peace: Towards an understanding of the theology of jihad.

Date: December 2004
Creator: Shaikh, Erum M.
Description: The growing number of terrorist attacks waged by Islamic fundamentalists has led to an increasing desire to understand the nature of jihad. These attacks have led to a renewed sense of urgency to find answers to such questions as why these attacks occur, and who they are waged against. Towards this end I turn to examine the political philosophy of four Muslim theologians. Specifically I look at the political philosophy of Sayyid Qutb, Shah Walai Allah Dihlawai, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), and Muhammad Sa'id al-Ashmawy. I find that the notion of jihad is very inconclusive. Furthermore, the question of jihad revolves largely around the question of whether or not individuals can be reasoned with, and secondly whether religion should be compelled upon individuals.
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Pride and sexual friendship: The battle of the sexes in Nietzsche's post-democratic world.

Pride and sexual friendship: The battle of the sexes in Nietzsche's post-democratic world.

Date: August 2008
Creator: Yancy, Lisa Fleck Uhlir
Description: This dissertation addresses an ignored [partly for its controversial nature] aspect of Nietzschean philosophy: that of the role of modern woman in the creation of a future horizon. Details of the effects of the Enlightenment, Christianity and democracy upon society are discussed, as well as effects on the individual, particularly woman. After this forward look at the changes anticipated by Nietzsche, the traditional roles of woman as the eternal feminine, wife and mother are debated. An argument for the necessity of a continuation of the battle of the sexes, and the struggle among men and women in a context of sexual love and friendship is given. This mutual affirmation must occur through the motivation of pride and not vanity. In conclusion, I argue that one possible avenue for change is a Nietzschean call for a modern revaluation of values by noble woman in conjugation with her warrior scholar to bring about the elevation of mankind.
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Judicial Enforcers? Exploring Lower Federal Court Compliance in Regulating the Obscene

Judicial Enforcers? Exploring Lower Federal Court Compliance in Regulating the Obscene

Date: May 2004
Creator: Ryan, John Francis
Description: Although federal circuit and district court judges are placed within a federal hierarchy, and receive legal and judicial training that emphasizes the importance of the judicial framework and its structure, such judges are also subjected to other pressures such as the types of litigants within the courtrooms as well as their local political environment. Furthermore, such judges are apt to form their own views about politics and legal policy and are often appointed by presidents who approve of their ideological leanings. Thus, federal courts are caught between competing goals such as their willingness to maximize their preferred legal policy, and their place within the judicial hierarchy. This dissertation applies hierarchy and impact theory to assess the importance of the judicial framework and its socialization, by analyzing both the judicial opinions and votes of federal circuit and district court judges in obscenity cases during a four-decade period (1957-1998). The research presented here finds the influence of higher court precedent to correspond in part with the conception of a judicial hierarchy. An analysis of citations of Supreme Court precedent (Roth v. United States (1957) and Miller v. California (1973)) in lower court majority opinions suggests low levels of compliance: lower courts at ...
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Beggars, Brides, and Bards: The Political Philosophy of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

Beggars, Brides, and Bards: The Political Philosophy of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

Date: August 2011
Creator: Murphy, Stephanie Miranda
Description: To do justice to Shakespeare’s comprehensive moral and political thought this paper seeks to discover what we can learn from the political philosophy of his largely neglected comedy, Taming of the Shrew. Not only does this endeavor provide a valuable forgotten link within the critical analyses of the theorists, but it also corrects the various misinterpretations of the play among contemporary critics. I argue that the play surveys various key themes that are rooted in classical political philosophy – such as education, the problems of anger, and the dynamic between nature and convention – and takes into consideration how they apply to modern man. Shakespeare borrows Plato’s idea that eroticism is central to education and explicitly references Ovid’s love books to reexamine our conceptions about one’s formation of character, the proper standards for judging the ideal mate, and the effects of these issues on the stability of the community. I also submit an innovative explanation of the relation between the induction and the main plot. Taken together they exhibit a critique of the role of the poet and his art in modern civil society.
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Democratic Pantheism in the Political Theory of Alexis de Tocqueville

Democratic Pantheism in the Political Theory of Alexis de Tocqueville

Access: Use of this item is restricted to the UNT Community.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Bearry, Brian Anthony
Description: According to Alexis de Tocqueville, humanity is entering a new age of political and social equality, a new epoch in which the human race has no historical example or experience. As a result, he holds humanity's future will be largely determined by the political and moral choices made in this transitional time. For Tocqueville, the new egalitarian era is a forgone conclusion, but for him, the pressing question is whether humanity will choose a future in which it enchains itself to new forms of tyranny, or, whether the human race can establish the political and moral institutions designed to assure human freedom and dignity. In Tocqueville's view, liberty or slavery are the two choices modern men and women have in front of them, and it is the intent of this dissertation to explore Tocqueville's warning in regard to the latter choice. Tocqueville warns us that modern democratic peoples must beware of the moral and political effects of a new type of political philosophy, a political theory he terms democratic pantheism. Democratic pantheism is a philosophic doctrine that treats egalitarianism as a "religion" in which all social and political striving is directed toward realizing a providentially ordained strict equality of conditions. ...
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Wisdom and Law: Political Thought in Shakespeare's Comedies

Wisdom and Law: Political Thought in Shakespeare's Comedies

Access: Use of this item is restricted to the UNT Community.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Major, Rafael M.
Description: In this study of A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, and Measure for Measure I argue that the surface plots of these comedies point us to a philosophic understanding seldom discussed in either contemporary public discourse or in Shakespearean scholarship. The comedies usually involve questions arising from the conflict between the enforcement of law (whether just or not) and the private longings (whether noble or base) of citizens whose yearnings for happiness tend to be sub- or even supra-political. No regime, it appears, is able to respond to the whole variety of circumstances that it may be called upon to judge. Even the best written laws meet with occasional exceptions and these ulterior instances must be judged by something other than a legal code. When these extra-legal instances do arise, political communities become aware of their reliance on a kind of political judgment that is usually unnoticed in the day-to-day affairs of public life. Further, it is evident that the characters who are able to exercise this political judgment, are the very characters whose presence averts a potentially tragic situation and makes a comedy possible. By presenting examples of how moral and political problems are dealt with by ...
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Schoolyard Politics: Ethics and Language at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Schoolyard Politics: Ethics and Language at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Date: December 2010
Creator: Hatcher, Robert
Description: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has been both contentious and successful. By examining the ICTY from a Levinasian ethical standpoint, we might be able to understand how the court uses language to enforce ethical and moral standards upon post-war societies. Using linguistic methods of analysis combined with traditional data about the ICTY, I empirically examine the court using ordinary least squares (OLS) in order to show the impact that language has upon the court's decision making process. I hypothesize that the court is an ethical entity, and therefore we should not see any evidence of bias against Serbs and that language will provide a robust view of the court as an ethical mechanism.
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Appellate Recruitment Patterns in the Higher British Judiciary: 1850 - 1990

Appellate Recruitment Patterns in the Higher British Judiciary: 1850 - 1990

Date: December 2004
Creator: Thomas, Bruce K.
Description: This study seeks to advance the understanding of appellate promotion in the senior judiciary of Great Britain . It describes the population and attributes of judges who served in the British High Courts, Court of Appeal, and Appellate Committee of the House of Lords (i.e., Law Lords) from 1850 to 1990. It specifically builds upon the work of C. Neal Tate and tests his model of appellate recruitment on a larger and augmented database. The study determines that family status, previously asserted as having a large effect on recruitment to the appellate courts, is not as important as previously believed. It concludes that merit effects, professional norms, and institutional constraints offer equally satisfactory or better explanations of appellate recruitment patterns.
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The Organic-Progressive Principle in the Political Thought and Internationalism of Woodrow Wilson

The Organic-Progressive Principle in the Political Thought and Internationalism of Woodrow Wilson

Date: December 2011
Creator: Flanagan, John Patrick
Description: This is an investigation of the intellectual roots of the political thought and internationalism of Woodrow Wilson, the twenty-eightieth president of the United States. Exposed to the influence of Darwin, Wilson believed that politics had to be redefined as an evolutionary process. the older mechanical understanding of politics was to be replaced with an organic understanding of political development. This allowed Wilson to synthesize a concept of politics that included elements from the Christian tradition; the English Historical School, particularly Edmund Burke; and German idealism, including G.W.F. Hegel. However, because he placed a heavy emphasis on Burke and Hegel, Wilson moved away from a natural rights based theory of politics and more towards a politics based on relativism and a transhistorical notion of rights. Wilson had important theoretical reserves about Hegel, as a result, Wilson modified Hegel’s philosophy. This modification took the form of Wilson’s organic-progressive principle. This would greatly affect Wilson’s ideas about how nations formed, developed, and related to one another. This study focuses on Wilson’s concept of spirit, his theory of history, and his idea of political leadership. the organic-progressive principle is key to understanding Wilson’s attempts to reform on both the domestic and international levels.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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