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Principle of Duty

The Principle of Duty

An Essay on the Foundations of the Civic Order

David Selbourne

American edition of a British best seller

In The Principle of Duty David Selbourne engages and challenges both the political left and the political right. He presents a new politics and ethics founded not upon rights but upon duties: the duties of the citizen to society and of society to the citizen.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03867-0
344 pages
Publication Year: 2001

David Selbourne has been a British Commonwealth Fellow at the University of Chicago, Aneurin Bevan Memorial Fellow, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, and has taught the history of ideas at Ruskin College, Oxford. He is the author of numerous books, including The Spirit of the Age (1993) and Death of the Dark Hero (1990), and translator of Jacob of Ancona’s The City of Light (1997).

“We all owe David Selbourne a considerable debt. His theme–that as individual citizens we are responsible for the well-being of the civic order to which we all belong–is important. So is his promotion of the civic bond, the notion that citizens compose a single civic order ‘to which they are affiliated and bound by the principle of duty, and for whose well-being they are responsible in their common interest.’”–The Times

Selbourne’s arresting, irascible and sometimes moving book is an important contribution to political thought, made at one of the turning-points in the history of political discourse in Britain."–John Gray, Times Literary Supplement

“Timely and compelling . . . Selbourne’s solution is to reassert an argument which both the liberal tradition and the common law have long recognized, but has been progressively ignored: that people have duties to themselves, their fellows and society, which are fully the moral equivalent of their rights . . . .”–Financial Times

“Rejecting both the doctrinaire right and the doctrinare left, David Selbourne’s ideas about civic virtue have struck a powerful chord . . .”–Forbes

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The Principle of Duty

An Essay on the Foundations of the Civic Order

David Selbourne

The Principle of Duty: An Essay on the Foundations of the Civic Order
Paper Edition

American edition of a British best seller

In The Principle of Duty David Selbourne engages and challenges both the political left and the political right. He presents a new politics and ethics founded not upon rights but upon duties: the duties of the citizen to society and of society to the citizen.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03867-0

344 pages

“We all owe David Selbourne a considerable debt. His theme–that as individual citizens we are responsible for the well-being of the civic order to which we all belong–is important. So is his promotion of the civic bond, the notion that citizens compose a single civic order ‘to which they are affiliated and bound by the principle of duty, and for whose well-being they are responsible in their common interest.’”–The Times

Selbourne’s arresting, irascible and sometimes moving book is an important contribution to political thought, made at one of the turning-points in the history of political discourse in Britain."–John Gray, Times Literary Supplement

“Timely and compelling . . . Selbourne’s solution is to reassert an argument which both the liberal tradition and the common law have long recognized, but has been progressively ignored: that people have duties to themselves, their fellows and society, which are fully the moral equivalent of their rights . . . .”–Financial Times

“Rejecting both the doctrinaire right and the doctrinare left, David Selbourne’s ideas about civic virtue have struck a powerful chord . . .”–Forbes