Synopses & Reviews
In this definitive historical investigation of the formation of liberalism from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, Domenico Losurdo overturns complacent and self-congratulatory accounts by showing that, from its very origins, liberalism and its main thinkers Locke, Burke, Tocqueville, Constant, Bentham, Sieyès and others have been bound up with the defense of the thoroughly illiberal policies of slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and elitism. Losurdo probes the inner contradictions of liberalism, also focusing on minority currents that moved to more radical positions, and provides an authoritative account of the relationship between the domestic and colonial spheres in the constitution of a liberal order.
"The triumph of the liberal ideal of the self-government of civil society waving the flag of freedom, fighting against despotism at the same time feeds the development of the slave trade, digging an insurmountable and unprecedented gap between the different races." Domenico Losurdo
The latest, original work by Domenico Losurdo, a philosopher-historian of great lucidity, author of always innovative books … travels through and analyzes the dark, deep and often malodorous side of liberalism.Vast historical research recommended for the depth of the ‘excavation’ and for the wealth of new material that emerges.There is always something to learn from books by Domenico Losurdo. And [this book] is no exception, for the outstanding knowledge of modern and contemporary political thought, the rigorous philology and the pursuit of sources that have been forgotten or expunged.
One of Europe's leading intellectual historians deconstructs liberalism's dark side.
In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery.
Narrating an intellectual history running from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries, Losurdo examines the thought of preeminent liberal writers such as Locke, Burke, Tocqueville, Constant, Bentham, and Sieyès, revealing the inner contradictions of an intellectual position that has exercised a formative influence on today's politics. Among the dominant strains of liberalism, he discerns the counter-currents of more radical positions, lost in the constitution of the modern world order.
About the Author
Domenico Losurdo is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Urbino, italy. He is the author of many books in Italian, German, French and Spanish. in English he has published Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns, Heidegger and the Ideology of War, and Liberalism.Gregory Elliott is a member of the editorial collective of Radical Philosophy and author of Althusser: The Detour of Theory and Labourism and the English Genius: The Strange Decay of Labour England?.