Want to be cunning? You might wish you were more clever, more flexible, able to cut a few corners without getting caught, to dive now and again into iniquity and surface clutching a prize. You might want to roll your eyes at those slaves of duty who play by the rules. Or you might think there's something sleazy about that stance, even if it does seem to pay off. Does that make you a chump?
With pointedly mischievous prose, Don Herzog explores what's alluring and what's revolting in cunning. He draws on a colorful range of sources: tales of Odysseus; texts from Machiavelli; pamphlets from early modern England; salesmen's newsletters; Christian apologetics; plays; sermons; philosophical treatises; detective novels; famous, infamous, and obscure historical cases; and more.
The book is in three parts, bookended by two murderous churchmen. "Dilemmas" explores some canonical moments of cunning and introduces the distinction between knaves and fools as a "time-honored but radically deficient scheme." "Appearances" assails conventional approaches to unmasking. Surveying ignorance and self-deception, "Despair?" deepens the case that we ought to be cunning--and then sees what we might say in response.
Throughout this beguiling book, Herzog refines our sense of what's troubling in this terrain. He shows that rationality, social roles, and morality are tangled together--and trickier than we thought.
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"This book evinces on every page its author's extraordinary erudition and range. Captivating and pleasurable, it is a repository of example after example, story after story, anecdote after anecdote of 'cunning' behavior. Herzog is familiar with ancient literature, seldom-read eighteenth-century playwrights and novelists, Tammy Faye Bakker, nineteenth-century advertisements, seventeenth-century astrology, the letters of Dashiell Hammett, student answers to nineteenth-century school examinations, detective fiction, research about Tupperware--and that's mainly from the second chapter alone."--Patrick Deneen, Georgetown University, author of Democratic Faith
"An impressive piece of work. Herzog nails his target of instrumental rationality head-on. In form the book is innovative, even daring. It is one of those rare works in political theory with a clear claim to originality of conception as well as purpose. It also breaks through the field's conventional boundaries by engaging modes of reasoning, questions of affect, and problems of ethics and judgment that, for the past decade or so, have found considerable uptake in philosophy, law, literary studies, and history."--Kirstie McClure, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Judging Rights
Don Herzog is Edson R. Sunderland Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. He is the author of "Without Foundations, Happy Slaves," and "Poisoning the Minds of the Lower Orders" (Princeton).
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Book Description Princeton University Press, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1 This book is brand new; never used or opened. No remainder marks. The dustjacket has some shelfwear. ; 0.8 x 9.1 x 6.1 Inches; 208 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 112711-520-103u
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