Adventures in Reading

Nonfiction: Political Thinking: The Perennial Questions by Glenn Tinder
September 4, 2008, 12:47 pm
Filed under: book reviews, nonfiction | Tags: , , ,

Occasionally I ask my partner to select a book for me from his reading repertoire. Our tastes differ a great deal and often only overlap upon request. One such book is the philosophical Political Thinking: The Perennial Questions by Glenn Tinder. As Tinder explores in his introduction and “Why Engage in Political Thinking?”, the culture of the U.S.A. doesn’t particularly embrace philosophical thought since as a culture as a whole we prefer facts and action – two things that are poor descriptors of the nature of philosophy.

In this collection Tinder explores various perennial questions by charging the reader to think and ponder. Tinder supplies the questions and arguments for various sides but he does not answer the questions. And as Tinder says and I agree, when the reader leaves the question most of the questions remain unanswered and worse the reader leaves with an expanding list of questions. While I consider myself well-read and assured on most of my political outlooks, I must say that I left Political Thinking with more than a few second guesses.

For example, the first question Tinder presents is “Are Human Beings Estranged in Essence?” More or less, is it possible for humans, particularly large communities, to ever put aside their differences and work together continually?

My only criticisms of Political Thinking are that if you are not a believer of the Christian faith many of Tinder’s arguments quickly destabilize and no longer represent the dichotomy he’s striving for and that two Political Thinking only embraces western (read European and North American) dialogs. I would love to discover a similar book examining eastern (e.g. everyone else) perennial questions and thoughts associated with them.

Political Thinking is an amazing introduction to philosophy and political discourse. It’s not necessarily the easiest read and also a book that demands to be read in small sections, but unlike many political books Tinder neither targets an audience to reaffirm beliefs nor directly challenges an audience to verify their believes. Political Thinking: The Perennial Questions engages the reader in the thinking process through admitting from the start that few things have easy or clear cut answers.

Conclusion: Keeper.

1 Comment

Truly one of the most thought provoking political books, lending clarity to this emotionally charged subject. Getting at the very root of ones philosophical axioms providing better understanding that these building blocks are the foundation of political thought. Timeless..

Comment by Paul

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