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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Geuss what he said?

Geuss's book on Public Goods, Private Goods
turned out to be worth the time and effort, if for no other reason than as an example of a useful example of the "critical genealogy" methodology he applies in these short lectures.

The basic point of the work is to challenge the use of the public/private distinction as a foundation for political theory. As a categorical assumption, the distinction just does not stand up to the scrutiny of Geuss's critical approach, although he is quick to note the pragmatic value of public/private within specific contexts. He is especially (although not exclusively) critical of the reliance of liberalism on the distinction. If nothing else, Geuss at least starts the discussions that necessarily follow his critique: once we know and understand the constructed nature of the public and private spheres, how do we deal with the need to define the boundaries and relationships regarding specific policy questions?
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