Enquiry Concerning Political Justice By William Godwin 政治正義論
威廉·戈德溫（William Godwin，1756年3月3日－1836年4月7日），英國記者、哲學家、小說家。被認為是功利主義的最早解釋者之一和無政府主義的提出者之一。以其同一年內發表的攻擊當時政治制度的《政治正義論》和攻擊貴族特權的《凱萊布·威廉斯傳奇》（同時也是最早的懸疑小說）出名，他也因此在1790年代的倫敦激進主義者圈子中迅速出名。在隨後的保守主義和激進主義的衝突中，因與女權作家瑪麗·沃斯通克拉夫特結婚（1797年）並在瑪麗死後寫了一部很直白的傳記而受到抨擊。女兒瑪麗嫁給了英國詩人雪萊之後，他娶了第二任妻子瑪麗·簡·克萊爾蒙特（Mary Jane Clairmont），同時寫下了聖經和古典歷史的兒童初級讀本，並附在查爾斯·蘭姆和瑪麗·蘭姆的《莎士比亞戲劇故事集》中出版。他用筆名「愛德華·鮑德溫」（Edward Baldwin）寫了一系列童書，其中包括一個版本的《傑克與豌豆》。
移至^ "William Godwin" article by Mark Philip in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2006-05-20
移至^ Jones, William B. Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History (Hardback) Abridged. McFarland & Company. November 2001. ISBN 978-0-7864-1077-4.
Marshall, P.,William Godwin, London & New Haven (1984): Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-03175-1
Marshall, P. (ed.) The Anarchist Writings of William Godwin, London (1986): Freedom Press ISBN 978-0-900384-29-5
Mukherjee, S. & Ramaswamy S. William Godwin: His Thoughts and Works New Delhi (2002): Deep & Deep Publications ISBN 978-81-7100-754-7
Stephen, Leslie. William Godwin's Novels. Studies of a Biographer 3. London: Duckworth & Co. 1902: 119–164.
William Godwin's Diary
"William Godwin" article by Mark Philip in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2006-05-20
Works of William Godwin at eBooks@Adelaide
Letters and artefacts associated with Godwin at the Bodleian Library's Shelley's Ghost online exhibition
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness is a 1793 book by philosopher William Godwin, in which Godwin outlines his political philosophy. It is the first modern work to expound anarchism.
Godwin began thinking about Political Justice in 1791, after the publication of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man in response to Edmund Burke'sReflections on the Revolution in France (1790). However, unlike most of the works that Burke's work spawned in the ensuing Revolution Controversy, Godwin's did not address the specific political events of the day; it addressed the underlying philosophical principles. Its length and expense (it cost over £1) made it inaccessible to the popular audience of the Rights of Man and probably protected Godwin from the persecution that other writers such as Paine experienced. Nevertheless, Godwin became a revered figure among radicals and was seen as an intellectual leader among their groups.One way in which this happened is through the many unauthorized copies of the text, the extracts printed by radical journals, and the lectures John Thelwall gave based on its ideas.
Despite being published during the French Revolution, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the lead up to the 1794 Treason Trials in Britain, Political Justice argues that humanity will inevitably progress: it argues for human perfectibility and enlightenment. McCann explains that "Political Justice is ... first and foremost a critique of political institutions. Its vision of human perfectibility is anarchist in so far as it sees government and related social practices such as property monopoly, marriage and monarchy as restraining the progress of mankind." Godwin believed that government "insinuates itself into our personal dispositions, and insensibly communicates its own spirit to our private transactions". Instead, Godwin proposes a society in which human beings use their reason to decide the best course of action. The very existence of governments, even those founded through consensus, demonstrates that people cannot yet regulate their conduct by the dictates of reason.
Godwin argued that the link between politics and morality had been severed and he wanted to restore it. McCann explains that in Godwin's vision, "as public opinion develops in accordance with the dictates of reason, so too should political institutions change until, finally, they will wither away altogether, leaving the people to organize themselves into what would be a direct democracy." Godwin believed that the public could be rational; he wrote: "Opinion is the most potent engine that can be brought within the sphere of political society. False opinion, superstition and prejudice, have hitherto been the true supporters of usurpation and despotism. Enquiry, and the improvement of the human mind, are now shaking to the center those bulwarks that have so long held mankind in thraldom."
Godwin was not a revolutionary in the vein of John Thelwall and the London Corresponding Society. A philosophical anarchist, he believed that change would come gradually and that there was no need for violent revolution. He argues that "the task which, for the present, should occupy the first rank in the thoughts of the friend of man is enquiry, communication, discussion." Godwin thus believed in individuals' desire to reason sincerely and truthfully with each other. In the 20th century, Jürgen Habermas developed this idea further.
However, paradoxes and contradictions surface throughout Political Justice. As McCann explains, "a faith in the ability of public opinion to progress towards enlightenment, based on its own exercise of reason, is constantly undone by actual forms of public action and political life, which for Godwin end up dangerously subsuming the individual into the collective." For example, Godwin criticizes public speeches because they rely on sentiment and the printing press because it can perpetuate dogma as well as enlighten.
Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice has various editions. The editions were published in Godwin’s lifetime. Due to Godwin’s continuous revision of the text, three editions were released. The first edition was published in 1793, the second edition in 1796 and the third edition in 1798. Each of these editions was published by G.G and J. Robinson. Political Justice has a complex textual development due to these changes. The overall tones of these changes portray a move away from pure reason, yielding more towards the emotive feelings of mankind.
Godwin's Enquiry Concerning Political Justice presents the first modern defense and articulation of anarchism. The book was revered by the first generation of Romantic poets, such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, although they would later turn away from radicalism. However, as Romantic scholar Andrew McCann explains, "it is in the radicalism of Percy Shelley's work that Godwin's thinking exerted its greatest influence on the Romantic movement, and ... Shelley's work was most central to the resurgence of radical sentiment after the end of the Napoleonic Wars."
In 1798, the Reverend Thomas Malthus published An Essay on the Principle of Population, which was largely written as a refutation of the ideas of Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet. Malthus argued that since population increases geometrically (i.e. doubling in size each generation), while production can only increase in a linear manner, then disease, famine, poverty and vice are inevitable. Consequently, Malthus criticised Political Justice for expounding unachieveable utopianism. In 1820 Godwin answered with Of Population: An Enquiry Concerning the Power of Increase in the Numbers of Mankind which disputed Malthus' population growth predictions.
^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n McCann, "Enquiry Concerning Political Justice".
^ Jump up to:a b c Qtd. in McCann, "Enquiry Concerning Political Justice".
Jump up^ Philp, Mark (1993). Political And Philosophical Writings of William Godwin. Pickering & Chatto Limited. ISBN 1 85196 096 1.
Jump up^ De George, Richard T. (2005). Honderich, Ted, ed. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-19-926479-1.
Jump up^ Pullen, 'Malthus'.
Jump up^ Medema, Steven G., and Warren J. Samuels. 2003. The History of Economic Thought: A Reader. New York: Routledge.
McCann, Andrew. "Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners." The Literary Encyclopedia. 8 January 2001. Retrieved on 20 April 2008.
Pullen, J. M. "Malthus, (Thomas) Robert (1766–1834), political economist", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Godwin, William (1793), Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1st ed.), London, England: G.G.J. and J. Robinson, OCLC 680251053, 642217608, 504755839, retrieved 1 September 2012, from McMaster University
Godwin, William (1842), POLITICAL JUSTICE (4th ed.), London, England: J. Watson, OCLC 65310813, 798899008, 805238766, retrieved 1 September 2012 from the Anarchy Archives
Godwin, William (1890), Salt, H.S., ed., Godwin's 'Political justice.': A reprint of the essay on 'Property,' from the original edition, OCLC 169723, retrieved 1 September 2012
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice at Goodreads
"Perfectibility is one of the most unequivocal characteristics of the human species."
- William Godwin, born #OTD 1756
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