William Connolly presents a lucid and concise defense of the thesis of "essentially contested concepts" that can well be read as a general introduction to political theory, as well as for its challenge to the prevailing understanding of political discourse. In Connolly's view, the language of politics is not a neutral medium that conveys ideas independently formed but an institutionalized structure of meanings that channels political thought and action in certain directions. In the new preface he pursues the implications of this perspective for a distinctive conception of ethics and democracy.
"Connolly's arguments present a profound challenge to the link between political science and positivism, call into question our "objective' understanding of American institutional life, and give us the beginnings of important new epistemological bases of understanding."--Cecil L. Eubanks, The Journal of Politics
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by William E. Connolly:
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