Cover: The Trouble with Principle, from Harvard University PressCover: The Trouble with Principle in PAPERBACK

The Trouble with Principle

Product Details

PAPERBACK

Print on Demand

$31.00 • £26.95 • €28.95

ISBN 9780674005341

Publication Date: 03/02/2001

Academic Trade

336 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

World

Add to Cart

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Stanley Fish is an equal opportunity antagonist. A theorist who has taken on theorists, an academician who has riled the academy, a legal scholar and political pundit who has ruffled feathers left and right, Fish here turns with customary gusto to the trouble with principle. Specifically, Fish has a quarrel with neutral principles. The trouble? They operate by sacrificing everything people care about to their own purity. And they are deployed with equal highmindedness and equally absurd results by liberals and conservatives alike.

In this bracing book, Fish argues that there is no realm of higher order impartiality—no neutral or fair territory on which to stake a claim—and that those who invoke one are always making a rhetorical and political gesture. In the end, it is history and context, the very substance against which a purportedly abstract principle defines itself, that determines a principle’s content and power. In the course of making this argument, Fish takes up questions about academic freedom and hate speech, affirmative action and multiculturalism, the boundaries between church and state, and much more. Sparing no one, he shows how our notions of intellectual and religious liberty—cherished by those at both ends of the political spectrum—are artifacts of the very partisan politics they supposedly transcend. The Trouble with Principle offers a provocative challenge to the debates of our day that no intellectually honest citizen can afford to ignore.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

A stack of five bestselling titles from Harvard University Press against a hot pink textured background

Ringing in the New Year with HUP’s 2022 Bestsellers

There is no better way for readers to usher in the new year than by looking back to the books that defined the last. For Harvard University Press, our 2022 bestsellers make up a diverse list of books across time and discipline.