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

The Trouble with Principle

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$18.50 • £14.95 • €16.50

ISBN 9780674005341

Publication Date: 03/02/2001

Academic Trade

336 pages

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

World

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

From Our Blog

Jacket, In Mrs. Tully’s Room: A Childcare Portrait by Vivian Gussin Paley, Harvard University Press

Remembering Vivian Gussin Paley

Renowned educator and author Vivian Gussin Paley died recently. Her former editor at Harvard University Press, Elizabeth Knoll, looks back on her life and work, which emphasized storytelling as an important tool in children’s learning. Vivian Gussin Paley was a small, gray-haired schoolteacher

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.