Thomas Paine and the Idea of Human Rights

2016.02.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Robert Lamb, Thomas Paine and the Idea of Human Rights, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 217pp., $99.99 (hbk), IBSN
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2016.02.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Robert Lamb, Thomas Paine and the Idea of Human Rights, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 217pp., $99.99 (hbk), IBSN 9781107106529. Reviewed by Michael L. Frazer, University of East Anglia Robert Lamb's new monograph on Thomas Paine dramatically reverses the methods standardly used by British historians of political thought. Cambridge contextualism involves treating timeless philosophical treatises as contributions to the specific debates going on at the moment of their composition. Those adopting this method are motivated, at least in part, by a deep suspicion of philosophers and their motives. Quentin Skinner quipped that seminar rooms are really battlefields, with arguments as moves in particular ideological struggles. The key to understanding an allegedly philosophical text is not to evaluate the arguments, but to determine the strategy underlying them. Yet while Cambridge-trained contextualists. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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