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common sense and the fifth amendment by sidney hook

Common Sense and The Fifth Amendment by Sidney Hook


New York : Criterion Books, 1957. First edition. Hardcover. 160 pages ; 22 cm. $3.00 dust jacket in tattered condition. Bookplate on front free endpaper. Price rubber stamped on flyleaf. Pages are clean, unmarked and binding is firm.

Common Sense and The Fifth Amendment

No provision of our Constitution has had greater impact on American society in recent years than these fourteen words from the Fifth Amendment:
. . nor shall [he] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. . . "

Dr. Sidney Hook, Professor of Philosophy at New York University, considers, in the light of a liberal philosophy, the logical, psychological, ethical, and political implications of the controversial Fifth Amendment, and its relation to individual and social justice. He takes issue with the influential viewpoints of Dean E. N. Griswold, Professor Zechariah Chafee, and Telford Taylor; he dissociates himself both from the view that the invocation of the Fifth Amendment is conclusive evidence of guilt, and the view that it is no evidence of guilt whatsoever.

He analyses the many complex problems connected with the Fifth Amendment and introduces several illuminating distinctions in the use of the "self-incrimination" clause" in non-legal contexts, and in situations which involve positions of trust.

Written with force, argued incisively, and supported by reference to many actual recent applications of the Fifth Amendment, here is an invaluable discussion—useful for every citizen who is concerned with the Bill of Rights and the relationship between ethics and law.


SIDNEY HOOK is Chairman of the Graduate Department of Philosophy at New York University. An organizer of the Conference on Methods in Philosophy and Science and of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, he is author of many books on philosophy and education as well as a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Partisan Review, Commentary, and New Leader. In 1945, Columbia University awarded him the Butler Silver Medal for distinction in philosophy.

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