Reconsidering C.B. MacPherson: From Possessive Individualism to Democratic Theory and Beyond

By Phillip Hansen

© 2015

C.B. Macpherson occupies an ambiguous place in contemporary political thought.  Though his work is well known, it remains on the margins of current democratic theory. That marginalization, Phillip Hansen argues, comes from our failure to appreciate the underlying philosophical dimension of Macpherson’s work.

Identifying and exploring Macpherson’s systematic critique of the liberal claim that the individual is the “proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them,” Reconsidering C.B. Macpherson highlights his affinities to Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, and the Frankfurt School.

This stimulating reappraisal illustrates the importance of Macpherson’s classic books, including The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism and Democratic Theory, and demonstrates how much his work has to offer to the future of political and social thought.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.1in x 9.3in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP004324

  • PUBLISHED NOV 2015

    From: $55.50

    Regular Price: $74.00

    ISBN 9781442630598
  • PUBLISHED JAN 2016

    From: $54.00

    Regular Price: $72.00

Quick Overview

This stimulating reappraisal illustrates the importance of Macpherson’s classic books, including The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism and Democratic Theory, and demonstrates how much his work has to offer to the future of political and social thought.

Reconsidering C.B. MacPherson: From Possessive Individualism to Democratic Theory and Beyond

By Phillip Hansen

© 2015

C.B. Macpherson occupies an ambiguous place in contemporary political thought.  Though his work is well known, it remains on the margins of current democratic theory. That marginalization, Phillip Hansen argues, comes from our failure to appreciate the underlying philosophical dimension of Macpherson’s work.

Identifying and exploring Macpherson’s systematic critique of the liberal claim that the individual is the “proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them,” Reconsidering C.B. Macpherson highlights his affinities to Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, and the Frankfurt School.

This stimulating reappraisal illustrates the importance of Macpherson’s classic books, including The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism and Democratic Theory, and demonstrates how much his work has to offer to the future of political and social thought.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.1in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘The book serves as an excellent introduction for the more sophisticated student of political philosophy who is new to Macpherson… In effect, this book is a series of interesting meditations on Macpherson’s thought arguing for his continued importance.’


    Jules Townshend
    Marx and Philosophy Review of Books April 2016

    ‘Under Hansen’s skillful interpretative guidance, the reader is reintroduced to a thinker who confounds many of the stereotypes of Cold War-era Marxist theory…His remarkable achievement is to bring to life C.B. Macpherson’s thought and enduring legacy, his complex blend of traditional and critical philosophy.’


    Dr. Lee Ward
    Perspectives on Political Science March 2017

    ‘Magnificent study of C.B. Macpherson’s political thought… Well researched, splendidly written book.’


    Richard K. Matthews
    American Political Thought Spring 2017

    “C.B. Macpherson was the most important and original Canadian political theorist – certainly of his generation, quite possibly ever. Reconsidering C.B. Macpherson is both the definitive defence of Macpherson’s project and an original and important intervention into contemporary political theory in its own right.”


    James Ingram, Department of Political Science, McMaster University

    “Hansen has done a splendid job of not only explaining the central ideas in Macpherson’s thought and relating them to the work of other significant theorists, but also giving the reader an interpretive key to viewing Macpherson’s work as a logical ‘whole’ by weaving together the interconnecting ideas in three of his major books: Possessive Individualism, Democracy in Alberta, and Democratic Theory.”


    Richard Matthews, Department of Political Science, Lehigh University
  • Author Information

    Phillip Hansen is professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Regina. He is the author of Reconsidering C.B. Macpherson: From Possessive Individualism to Democratic Theory and Beyond (UTP)
  • Table of contents

    Introduction
    Chapter One: Possessive Individualism as Critique: History, Ontology and the Roots of Liberalism
    Chapter Two: Human Nature and Democratic Possibilities: Macpherson, Ontology and the Fate of Liberal Democracy
    Chapter Three: Capitalism, Socialism, and Self-Development: Macpherson and/on Marx
    Chapter Four: C.B. Macpherson, Democracy, and Democratic Theory I: Revisionist Liberalism and the Two Faces of Liberty
    Chapter Five: C.B. Macpherson, Democracy, and Democratic Theory II: Human Rights, Democratic Expressions, and Democratic Models
    Chapter Six: Political Theory, Social Science and Social Critique: C.B. Macpherson, Philosophy, and Methodology

By the Same Author(s)

Related Titles