Adam Ferguson and Friedrich Hayek, separated by a period of almost two hundred years, made original yet similar contributions to the field of theoretical sociology. Ferguson, a giant of the Scottish Enlightenment, can be credited with laying the foundations of theoretical history by first proposing the idea that social institutions undergo evolutionary change. Ferguson theorized that while these institutions are formed by the actions of human beings, they are not the product of human design. Less than two centuries later, Hayek extended this insight to dealing with economic and social interaction. The essays in this collection deal with aspects of the life and work of these two thinkers.
Having heard while in Slavery that "God made of one blood all nations of men," and also that the American Declaration of Independence says, that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" we could not understand by what right we were held as "chattels." Therefore, we felt perfectly justified in undertaking the dangerous and exciting task of "running a thousand miles" in order to obtain those rights which are so vividly set forth in the Declaration. I beg those who would know the particulars of our journey, to peruse these pages. This book is not intended as a full history of the life of my wife, nor of myself; but merely as an account of our escape; together with other matter which I hope may be the means of creating in some minds a deeper abhorrence of the sinful and abominable practice of enslaving and brutifying our fellow-creatures.
In the essays that follow, Fred Berger argues for freedom of expression, civil disobedience, affirmative action and what he calls liberal judicial activism and against sex-role stereotyping, paternalism and the censorship of pornography. Underlying his liberalism is a unified theory. That theory consists of a conception of rights, a theory of value and a theory of government. The conception of a right that Berger defends derives from J ohn Stuart Mill and is captured by what he calls "the rightsÂ formula": to have a right is to have important interests that society ought to protect as a matter of general rule (pp. 2, 7, 17-18, 19, 95). Since rights are to be protected by general rule, case-by-case consideration of consequences is ruled out (pp. 3, 18, 96) and neither modest increases in the general welfare, nor majority opinion, can justify the violation of a right (pp. 14-15; 17-18). Berger combines this view of the nature of a right with an objective theory of value according to which the important interests that ought to be protected are ones that people have "whether they know them or not, whether they desire that in which they have an interest or not" (p.
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