Recommend to your Librarian

C B Macpherson

and the Problem of Liberal Democracy

Jules Townshend

Paperback (Printed to Order)

In this sympathetic restatement of C B Macpherson's ideas, Townshend provides an overview of Macpherson's theory of possessive individualism and critique of liberal democracy. He suggests that criticism of Macpherson has been misplaced and asks whether his theories should now be given more prominence by political theorists. This is the first book to deal comprehensively with the issues surrounding Macpherson's work; previous studies have used him as a point of departure rather than the focus of detailed analysis and none have included an overall assessment of his thought.

Key Features

  • Examination of Macpherson's project in its totality.
  • Defence of Macpherson against his liberal, feminist, Marxist and ecological critics.
  • Defence of his interpretation of Hobbes and Locke.
  • Demonstration of his continuing relevance for contemporary political philosophy and for the study of politics generally.

About the Author

Jules Townshend was Reader in Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University and has now retired.


C B Macpherson and the Problem of Liberal Democracy addresses the life, times and work of its eponymous character in an admirable way. Townshend has brought to light interesting new material on Macpherson and paints a vivid portrait of this somwhat obscure and controversial man of letters ... Townsends' book is a timely reminder of the importance of MacPherson, a thinker whose influence far outstrips what most of us know about him.
Townshend's book is a lively and enlightening guide to a major politcal theorist, whose work on the history of political thought and normative political theory, is shown to be of eduring value … Townshend's book is thoughtful and thorough … it deserves a wide readership due to its provocative questioning of current orthodoxies in political theory.
A valuable contribution to the limited literature.