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A History of Western Political Thought by J. S. McClelland PDF

By J. S. McClelland

ISBN-10: 0415119618

ISBN-13: 9780415119610

A heritage of Western Political proposal is an brisk and lucid account of an important political thinkers and the iconic topics of the final and a part millennia. Written with scholars of the historical past of political idea in brain, the book:
* strains the advance of political idea from old Greece to the overdue 20th century
* makes a speciality of person thinkers and texts
* comprises forty biographies of key political thinkers
* deals unique perspectives of theorists and highlights these that may were unjustly neglected
* develops the broader issues of political proposal and the relatives among thinkers through the years.

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Additional resources for A History of Western Political Thought

Sample text

Plato’s Republic points to a very different conclusion. Imagine yourself in the position of one of the ruled class in Plato’s state. How would you know how you were supposed to behave? The law would not tell you, but the fact that a Guardian class existed would tell you that certain things were permitted and certain things forbidden. You would in fact be in the position of someone in a country whose manners and morals were not your own. You would tend to be cautious, and the only way to proceed would be to imitate the people around you in much the same way that people at a service in a strange church tend to stand at the back; to stand right at the front with no-one to imitate would be to risk solecism.

We already know that Plato is concerned to distinguish between different kinds of knowledge, and that for him knowledge is closely related to the idea of a skill, so we should not be surprised when Socrates suggests that a properly organised state is one in which people are assigned to their places according to what kinds of skills they are capable of developing. One of these skills, the art of managing others, will be the basis of the ruling group’s claim to rule the rest. Therefore, we would be right to expect that the most important institutional arrangements in Plato’s state would be those devoted to the training, and so to the perpetuation, of the ruling group.

Something like this is also implicit in the division of the state into classes. A class relationship between two members of different classes means that a member of one class would treat every member of the other class in exactly the same way that any other member of his own class would treat him, and the obvious test of the rightness of the treatment would be to ask: How would anybody else like me treat him? The advantages of that mode of operation for class solidarity are obvious; being designed to promote solidarity, it also acts as a check on the behaviour of any particular member of a class.

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