Reconstructing the Classics: Political Theory from Plato to Marx (Chatham House Studies in Political Thinking)

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9781566430494: Reconstructing the Classics: Political Theory from Plato to Marx (Chatham House Studies in Political Thinking)
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This work asserts the necessity of studying the works of seminal thinkers of the past in order to comprehend and articulate the fundamental theoretical assumptions that underlie all political behaviour. The author explains that what the classic thinkers offer to practicing political scientists and students alike are "conceptual options, alternatives to one another and to the unstated conventional wisdom of our cultural context", tools for the clarification of one's own thought and observations of contemporary phenomena. Portis provides a coherent framework for consideration of the political theories of nine classical political thinkers: Plato, Aristotle, St Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, John Locke, Rousseau, John Stuart Hill, and Marx. After establishing the historical context for each subject's life and work, Portis examines the comprehensive conceptual paradigm that distinguishes his political thought. Each thinker's ideas are delineated according to a consistent set of fundamental questions, a pattern designed to facilitate comparison and contrast. Human nature, social solidarity, public authority, political change and stability, and political motivation are the organizing concepts by which each philosopher's work may be related to that of others.

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