This book examines the contemporary American political mind and its theoretical relevance for the global challenges through a series of conversations with three distinguished American political thinkers, Michael Walzer, Andrew Arato and Gene Sharp. The conversations with Walzer took place at Princeton in 2010. They were mainly focused on significant issues of political theory such as pluralism, democracy and justice. It goes without saying that a variety of issues discussed here by Walzer is strongly linked to the relevant questions of our world. The conversations were, therefore, placed in a larger globalizing context where the problems of democracy, violence and freedom become interconnected. However, Walzer’s analysis is completed by an additional analysis of war and peace in our world and the question of dignity of the individual through the work of Andrew Arato, a Hungarian born American political thinker. Arato’s work on Marxism, Habermas and constitutionalism presents itself as an appropriate supplement to the conversations with Walzer. The meetings with Arato took place in 2013 in New York. Arato reflections certainly represent another face of the early twenty-first century American political thought, which is also attentive to the issues raised by the recent wars in the Middle East and the Arab Spring. These considerations on the role of new social movements around the world and more specifically the legacy of pragmatic nonviolence were completed by a short visit to Gene Sharp in Boston few years before his decease. As a result, these conversations grew into a book which offers the reader, not only a more comprehensive view of the three American thinkers and their ideas, but also a panorama of the past eighty years of world politics and global affairs. At a broader level, this book is not only a series of conversations, but also a critical study of politics, both Western and non-Western, in the contemporary world.
Ramin Jahanbegloo is a political philosopher. He is presently the Executive Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the Vice-Dean of the School of Law at Jindal Global University. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy, History and Political Science and later his PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University. He was an Associated Professor of Political Science and a Research Fellow in the Centre for Ethics at University of Toronto from 2008-2012 and an Associate Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto from 2012 – 2015. He is also a member of the advisory board of PEN Canada. He is the winner of the Peace Prize from the United Nations Association in Spain (2009) for his extensive academic works in promoting dialogue between cultures and his advocacy for non-violence and more recently the winner of the Josep Palau i Fabre International Essay Prize.