Thursday, November 25, 2004

Russell Muirhead--Just Work

It's a little out of my field of expertise--the aesthetics and philosophy of war--but I feel compelled to recommend an excellent new book: Russell Muirhead's, Just Work. I came across the book because of an interesting on line interview. Muirhead's book, a work of political philosophy, takes up the question of whether work is anything more than a job, a means of paying the rent. Most of the middle classes today like to view their work as a means of self-realization. At any middle class dinner party, it would be extraordinarily rude not to ask someone: "what do you do?" Muirhead's book--which draws upon Mill, Smith, MacIntyre, and Weber-- makes a compelling case for the claim that work ideally ought to form a central component of human flourishing. He suggests that we structure our economy and society to make this a feasible goal. I don't agree with his argument. It's too damned protestant for my taste. But it's certainly thought-provoking. The book, which is already flying off the shelves in the US, will likely make a huge splash amongst political theorists and sociologists.

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