Here is a list of my books, together with a brief description of their content.
Anti-Libertarianism: Markets, Philosophy, and Myth (Routledge 1994):
In this book, I examine and dismantle the ‘libertarian’ (or ‘neo-liberal’) philosophical theories which dominated so much political and economic policy during the 1980s, and which have remained a presence ever since. I argue that it would be more appropriate to describe (self-styled) libertarianism as ‘anti-libertarianism’. At the time of writing, it was one of the few books to tackle libertarian philosophy head-on by taking an ‘analytic’ approach. At any rate that is how it seemed to me. I wrote it at a time when philosophers of the Left were tending to pursue alternative avenues of their own. I thought this a mistake.
Critics said: ‘a powerful and compelling critique’ (Res Publica); ‘spirited, intelligent and continually engaging’ (International Journal of Philosophical Studies); ‘a withering critique of the “invisible-handism” that seduced the 1980s. (New Statesman).
Free Speech (Routledge 1998)
There is a tendency for defenders of free speech to pontificate rather than argue. Consider, for example, the widespread tendency to take lines from J.S.Mill’s On Liberty – for example, his assertion that ‘All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility’ – out of context, – Well – it’s a serious subject. However, it would be more helpful to examine the main arguments for free speech in detail and to figure out what their ramifications really are. That is what I try to do in this book It has now become a key text, – or so I believe.
Critics said: ‘Even if the literature were more extensive, Alan Haworth’s Free Speech would be a welcome addition to it, but, especially under the circumstances, this is a very important contribution indeed’. (Mind)
Understanding the Political Philosophers: From Ancient to Modern Times (Routledge 2004 & 2012)
In this book I discuss the arguments advanced by the major philosophers of the western political tradition while, at the same time, setting them within the context of the historical events by which they were motivated to write. There is, thus, a historical element to the book, although the emphasis is philosophical. As I say in the introduction to the second edition, It is my view that you cannot qualify as at all politically literate unless you have some knowledge of [the ideas I discuss]’. The second edition is an expanded and updated version of the first.
Critics said: ‘It is my view that this book will be of interest to a very wide audience. (Essays in Philosophy); ‘it is unusual to become so absorbed in the text as to find oneself reading it for pure intellectual pleasure. This is what happened when I read Alan Haworth’s engaging book. (Times Higher Education Supplement.)
Free Speech: All that Matters (Hodder and Stoughton 2015)
In this book, I take up some of the themes I developed in my earlier book on free speech. This is what I say in the introduction: ‘It is no accident that arguments surrounding it [free speech] tend to be freighted with polemic, exaggeration, and half-truth. At least, that is true of debates conducted in the more accessible regions of the public sphere, – in the press and the broadcasting media for example. Philosophical accounts of free speech have been more careful but, as I write, they have tended to remain unappreciated. That is no accident either. These days, the arguments contained in textbooks of philosophy are sometimes expressed in terms so technical that they can intimidate the general reader‘.
In the book, I set out to correct the situation. Topics I cover include the reasons for protecting free speech and their relevance (or the lack of it) to speech which is merely offensive, abusive, or trivial; the relationship between free speech and the pursuit of truth; the relationship between free speech and democracy; Holocaust denial, and the effect of technological change upon the exercise of free speech. Philosophers whose work I discuss include John Stuart Mill and Jürgen Habermas
Totalitarianism and Philosophy (Routledge 2020)
When Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin first came to power in the 1930s, their regimes were considered by many to represent a new and perplexing phenomenon. They were labelled ‘totalitarian’. But is ‘totalitarianism’ genuinely new, or is the word just a new name for something old and familiar, namely tyranny? That is the question with which I open this book.
In the book, I set out to explore the relevance of philosophy to the understanding of totalitarianism, and I explore a number of the perspectives from which the concept has been viewed. The book contains discussions of – for example – the totalitarian thought of writers such as Giovanni Gentile and Carl Schmitt; totalitarianism understood as the imposition of total control; totalitarian ideology, the ability of dystopian fiction to make sense of totalitarianism. There are chapters on the philosophy of Hannah Arendt.
The turbulence and horror by which the world was riven in the earlier part of the last century is now disappearing beyond the memory-horizon. I don’t suppose that I’m alone in entertaining the fear that, with it, we are losing a sense of just how fragile the bonds which hold a stable world order in place can be. It was by such gloomy reflections that I was inspired to write the book.