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Palgrave Macmillan

The Political Thought of C.B. Macpherson

Contemporary Applications

  • Book
  • © 2019


  • Brings fresh insights and understanding to a major intellectual figure in the political theory tradition
  • Defends a form of radical democratic theory relevant to those concerned with the fate of contemporary democracy
  • Provides a comprehensive overview of Macpherson's major works to a general interest audience or introductory student

Part of the book series: Critical Political Theory and Radical Practice (CPTRP)

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About this book

Central to the thought of C.B. Macpherson (1911-1987) are his critique of the culture of ‘possessive individualism’ and his defence of liberal-democratic socialism. Resurgence of interest in his works is in reaction to the rise of neoliberalism and efforts to find an alternative to societies dominated by capitalist markets. Macpherson’s theories are explained and applied to 21st century challenges.

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Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Macpherson’s Project

  2. Part II

  3. Part III


“Cunningham has performed an invaluable service for those who put a common humanity at the centre of their ethico-political reflection.” (Jules Townshend, Marx and Philosophy,, July 9, 2020)

“Frank Cunningham shows with utter clarity how the perspective of this penetrating thinker illuminates the present crisis of financialized capitalism.” (Nancy Fraser, Professor, New School for Social Research, USA)

“Cunningham’s masterful account of Macpherson’s work is clear and accessible. It suggests new ways to understand our present political reality.” (Carol C. Gould, Distinguished Professor, City University of New York, USA)


“Frank Cunningham’s book performs the invaluable service of introducing C.B. Macpherson’s seminal political thought to a new generation.” (Charles W. Mills, Distinguished Professor, CUNY Graduate Centre, USA)


“Frank Cunningham has put us in his debt in this penetrating study of Macpherson’s critique of the picture of human nature underlying the currently hegemonic neoliberalism.” (Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus, McGill University, Canada)


Authors and Affiliations

  • Departments of Philosophy & Political Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

    Frank Cunningham

About the author

Frank Cunningham is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Toronto, Canada, and is currently Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University, Canada.

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