A Defense of Rule: Origins of Political Thought in Greece and India by Stuart GrayA Defense of Rule: Origins of Political Thought in Greece and India by Stuart Gray

A Defense of Rule: Origins of Political Thought in Greece and India

byStuart Gray

Hardcover | April 17, 2017

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At its core, politics is all about relations of rule. Accordingly one of the central preoccupations of political theory is what it means for human beings to rule over one another or share in a process of ruling. While political theorists tend to regard rule as a necessary evil, this book aimsto explain how rule need not be understood as anathema to political life. Rather, by looking at some of the earliest traditions of political thought we can rethink rule in ways that evoke stewardship rather than domination.Stuart Gray argues that hierarchical ideas about rule coevolved with political divisions between the human and non-human in western theory. The earliest discernible Greek thought advanced an instrumental relationship between humans and their environment, a position that has persisted into ourcurrent age. While this seems a defensible position, Gray points out that such instrumental understandings of the nonhuman world have gotten us into serious trouble, including problems of deforestation, global warming, rising sea levels, species loss, and peak oil.To rethink the concept of rule, A Defense of Rule turns to early Indian political thought that suggests that rule is a relationship predicated on stewardship. The book compares these two traditions of thought in order to suggest that we have a normative duty to the environment, and thus to act in away that takes the interests of non-human nature into account. Basing his argument on his own original translations of primary sources in ancient Greek and Sanskrit, Gray shows when and how early concepts of rule evolved to justify divisions between the human and nonhuman. In doing so, he argues fora reconsideration of our duties toward the nonhuman natural world.
Stuart Gray is Assistant Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University.
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Title:A Defense of Rule: Origins of Political Thought in Greece and IndiaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:April 17, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190636319

ISBN - 13:9780190636319

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Editorial Reviews

"A thoughtful and innovative investigation of a frequently sidelined category: rule or ruling. The book breaks new ground by offering a nuanced comparison of ancient Greek and Indian thought. Given the dense interconnections of our world, the author envisages a cosmic extension of stewardshiptoward 'panocracy' and 'world-building' - possibly as antidotes to the looming ecological disaster." --Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame and author of Being in the World: Dialogue and Cosmopolis