Chicago's own Martha Nussbaum is one of the contributors to this illuminating new set of interviews with leading political philosophers, who discuss the major issues in the field, their contributions to it, as well as the issues that will be most important for the future. The book's web site includes many interesting excerpts from the interviews, including Professor Nussbaum's own observations about neglected topics in political philosophy. One such topic, she says, is religion:
Good writing in political philosophy about religion is relatively rare. Again, there is a strong tradition here in Western thought, including Roger Williams, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Spinoza, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Moses Mendelssohn (whose writings ought to be much better known than they are), and John Rawls. But we need to start working on this topic with an eye to the problems that vex our world today, problems of religious fear and loathing spawned by the fear of global terrorism. To do this work well, we need to learn much more about non-Judeo-Christian religions, and, most obviously, about Islam. We ought to be teaching every undergraduate philosophy major courses on Islamic philosophy, but to do that we first have to educate ourselves! I would like to see a vigorous conversation about religion and political philosophy across national, cultural, and religious lines.
A similar volume on the problems of legal philosophy, which might be of interest to law students and legal scholars, will be available later this year; look for excerpts from those interviews at the book's site later this Spring. Finally, students of law and economics may find the excerpts from interviews with leading game theorists of interest.