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Thomas A. Spragens, Professor Emeritus

Thomas A. Spragens
Contact Info:
Office Location:  140 Science Drive, 204F Gross, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-4300
Email Address:  

Office Hours:

Monday 10:00-noon

Ph.D., Duke University, 1968
A.B. with High Honors and Distinction, Wesleyan University, 1963

Political Theory
Research Interests:

Professor of Political Science, specializes in modern political theory and the contemporary theory of liberal democracy. He has written The Dilemma of Contemporary Political Theory: Toward a Post-Behavioral Science of Politics (1973), The Politics of Motion: The World of Thomas Hobbes(1973), and Understanding Political Theory (1976). His book, The Irony of Liberal Reason, published by the University of Chicago Press (1981), examines the impact of changing conceptions of rationality upon the liberal tradition. A sequel to that volume, entitled Reason and Democracy(1990), provides a constructive account of the relationship between rational practices and democratic institutions. His 1999 book, Civic Liberalism: Reflections on Our Democratic Ideals, which was awarded the Elaine and David Spitz Book Prize for 2001, argues for a more complex and ambitious set of democratic aspirations than those found in the most prominent alternative theories. His most recent book is Getting the Left Right: The Transformation, Decline, and Reformation of American Liberalism. It was selected in 2010 as one of the two featured books for the Critical Dialogue section of the APSA journal Perspectives on Politics. His current research concerns the civic practices important to meet the challenges of democratic self-governance in today's world.

Curriculum Vitae
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. with Spragens, TA; Miroff, B, Critical Dialogue, edited by Isaac, J, Perspectives on Politics, vol. Vol. 8 no. No. 2 (June, 2010), pp. 617-23, American Political Science Association .
  2. Spragens, TA, Reply to Bruce Miroff's review of Getting the Left Right: The Transformation, Decline, and Reformation of American Liberalism, Perspectives on Politics, vol. 8 no. 2 (January, 2010), pp. 622-623, Cambridge University Press (CUP) [Gateway.cgi], [doi] .
  3. Spragens, TA, Getting the Left Right: The Transformation, Decline, and Reformation of American Liberalism (2009), University Press of Kansas .
  4. Spragens, TA, Democratic Reasonableness, Contemporary Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, vol. 11 no. 2 (June, 2008), pp. 193-214, Informa UK Limited [doi]  [abs].
  5. Spragens, TA, POPULIST PERFECTIONISM: THE OTHER AMERICAN LIBERALISM, Social Philosophy and Policy, vol. 24 no. 1 (Winter, 2007), pp. 141-163, Cambridge University Press (CUP) [Gateway.cgi], [doi]  [abs].

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