Toward a Perfected State

By Paul Weiss

Series: SUNY series in Systematic Philosophy
Paperback : 9780887062544, 459 pages, June 1986
Hardcover : 9780887062537, 459 pages, June 1986

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Part I. Unions and Societies
Focal Points
1. Tradition and Purpose
Collaborative People; Associations
2. Unions
Individuals Together; Communes; Communities
3. Society
4. Social Study
Types of Truth; Science and the Humanities; Systematic Social Inquiry
5. Social Causation
6. Perfected Society
Socialized Rights; Reconstructed Societies; The Best of Societies
Part II. Governments and States
Focal Points
7. The Function of a State
Rulers and Ruled; The Tasks of a State
8. Government
Governmental Positions; Occupied Position; Coalescence
9. Legitimacy
Inherent and Derived Legitimacy; Self-Constituted Legitimacies; Legitimate Government
10. Authority
11. Positive Law
12. Political Objectives
A More Perfect[ed] Union; Established Justice; Insured Tranquility; The Common Defense; General Welfare; The Blessings of Liberty; Other Objectives
13. People Together
Public Units; Citizens; Reasonable People Together; Accountability; Obedience
14. The Encompassed State
Morality; The Right; Mankind; Historic Mankind; The Humanized World; The Commonhealth and Beyond
Index Of Names
Index Of Subjects


Toward a Perfected State is a testament to the philosophical genius of Paul Weiss. The discussions combine a variety of levels, from the most basic categorical distinctions to major figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Marx, Rawls and Northrop, to classic documents such as the United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers, to practical social and political problems.

Paul Weiss is Heffer Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. He founded the Metaphysical Society of America and The Review of Metaphysics. In a long and distinguished career, Dr. Weiss has published well over 20 books, among them is his multivolumed philosophical journal, Philosophy in Process, now published by SUNY Press.


"The work is a fully textured, wonderfully informed book. Its distinctions are subtle; its connection of conceptions is brilliant. The book is a mine of ideas. " — Irwin C. Lieb, University of Southern California

"I was inclined while reading it to think of it in relation to classical works; i. e., Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, Hegel, Marx. " — Brian J. Martine, University of Alabama, Huntsville

"Weiss is a distinctive philosophical author. He is able to penetrate commonplaces and expose their linkage to unsuspected philosophical principles. It is always an adventure to read him. " — Andrew J. Reck, Tulane University

"Systematic on a grand scale, this book presents a political philosophy that compares favorably with Hegel's Philosophy of Right in its erudition, its sympathies with diversity, the brilliance of its categories, and its depth. It is a decisive advance on the political philosophies of T. H. Green, John Dewey, and John Rawls. ..It achieves a genuine, comprehensive political philosophy. " — Robert C. Neville, State University of New York at Stony Brook