Cockroaches and Compromise
April 20, 2012
On Compromise and Rotten Compromises By Avishai Margalit (Princeton University Press, 221 pp., $26.95) The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It By Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson (Princeton University Press, 279 pp., $24.95) “Ideals may tell us something important about what we would like to be,” the political philosopher Avishai Margalit writes.
November 13, 2006
Last week in Paris, I rushed into print, so to speak, a post about the Halloween fest at the president's house at the University of Pennsylvania. This was the party where a student came dressed as a suicide bomber, and many attendees thought it was just hilarious. I do know the president, Amy Gutmann, and--though I was surprised that she allowed the young man to stay--I was quite rough on her. Frankly, I had, well, not exactly regret, but some anxieties about my rush to judgment. Did I, for example, really know all of the circumstances surrounding this grotesque occasion?
November 06, 2006
I've known Amy Gutmann for forty years, ever since she was an undergraduate at Harvard-Radcliffe and majoring in an honors interdisciplinary program in the social sciences, which, as it happens, I directed. She was a summa graduate--which means she's very smart.
October 10, 2005
Slow Man By J.M. Coetzee (Viking, 265 pp., $24.95) In the middle of J.M. Coetzee’s new novel, there comes a moment when the reader starts back in soft amazement, murmuring “What the ... ?” This moment occurs at the entrance into the action by the elderly Australian writer Elizabeth Costello, whom devotees of Coetzee will know from his previous novel, which was named after her, and from a curious and curiously memorable book, The Lives of Animals, based on the Tanner Lectures that he delivered some years ago at Princeton University.