This is the second collection of essays from Peter Gabel, law professor and long-time associate of Tikkun. The essays range over law, domestic U.S. politics, foreign policy, and a variety of cultural themes including the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, sports, evolutionary theory, and the lessons of illness. While the topics are disparate, an underlying unity can be found in what might be called a “spiritual social theory.”

Social theory, roughly speaking, is an attempt to comprehend the most basic and essential features of collective human existence and to normatively evaluate them in terms of concepts like rationality, freedom, justice, and human fulfillment. It is neither a purely descriptive sociology nor purely an ethics or political philosophy; rather, it is a fusion of the explanatory and the prescriptive, an account of why things are the way they are and how and why they could become better.

Gabel’s version of...

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