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Conceptual Tension

Essays on Kinship, Politics, and Individualism

Leon J. Goldstein - Edited by David Schultz - Foreword by Vincent M. Colapietro

Conceptual Tension: Essays on Kinship, Politics, and Individualism is a critical philosophical examination of the role of concepts and concept formation in social sciences. Written by Leon J. Goldstein, a preeminent Jewish philosopher who examined the epistemological foundations of social science inquiry during the second half of the twentieth century, the book undertakes a study of concept formation and change by looking at the four critical terms in anthropology (kinship), politics (parliament and Rousseau’s concept of the general will), and sociology (individualism). The author challenges prevailing notions of concept formation and definition, specifically assertions by Gottlieb Frege that concepts have fixed, clear boundaries that are not subject to change. Instead, drawing upon arguments by R.G. Collingwood, Goldstein asserts that concepts have a historical dimension with boundaries and meanings that change with their use and context. Goldstein’s work provides insight for philosophers, historians, political scientists, anthropologists, and Judaica scholars interested in the study and meaning of critical concepts within their fields. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 206Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/4
978-1-4985-0422-5 • Hardback • November 2014 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
978-1-4985-0423-2 • eBook • November 2014 • $84.99 • (£54.95)
Leon J. Goldstein was professor in the Department of Philosophy at Binghamton University from 1963 until 2002. He also lectured at Brandeis University, City College of New York, and at the University of Haifa.

David Schultz is professor of political science at Hamline University. He also holds an appointment at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Foreword, Vincent M. Colapietro
Introduction. Conceptual Tension and Social Science Research: The Legacy of Leon J. Goldstein, David Schultz
Chapter 1. Conceptual Tension: The Open Texture of the Language of Kinship
Chapter 2. Conceptual Tension: Individualism and Non-Individualism Once Again
Chapter 3. Thinking the General Will
Chapter 4. Reflections on Parliament as an Open Concept
These essays represent the mature reflections of a genuinely unique philosopher of history. Goldstein's sensitivity to the special challenges of historical knowledge lead him to unfold the tensions and openness of the concepts that define such knowing. Taken together, these essays represent a sustained effort to save - and to respect - the difficult knowledge that belongs to, and can come from, history. The introduction and foreword do a wonderful job of presenting Goldstein's very real contributions.
Dennis J. Schmidt, Pennsylvania State University

An extremely rich and challenging series of studies, ranging from seminal issues in traditional political theory to some of the most vexing epistemological problems in contemporary philosophy. This posthumous volume of Leon Goldstein's essays is an apt and loving monument to his erudition, wisdom and humanity.
Shlomo Avineri, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem