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

By J. S. McClelland

A historical past of Western Political inspiration is an brisk and lucid account of crucial political thinkers and the long-lasting subject matters of the final and a part millennia. Written with scholars of the background of political concept in brain, the book:
* lines the improvement of political suggestion from historical Greece to the past due 20th century
* specializes in person thinkers and texts
* contains forty biographies of key political thinkers
* deals unique perspectives of theorists and highlights these that can were unjustly neglected
* develops the broader topics of political inspiration and the relatives among thinkers over the years.

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Perhaps the character of the Republic as a dialectical excercise explains why Plato is so careful to set up the dialogue in such a dramatically formal way. Easy definitions of justice have to be formally dismissed to show that philosophy is a serious business. The early refutations of Cephalus and Thrasymachus, and the long formal re-statement of Thrasymachus’ position in Book II, are meant to prepare the young men for a long discussion before justice is finally reached. Only those who stay the course are capable of understanding what justice is, just as there are no short cuts to the training of Philosopher-Rulers.

A position is stated by one speaker in the dialogue, and somebody else offers qualifications or objections. These qualifications or objections can be of two kinds: either they can hold that the originally stated position is unclear, perhaps because it contains contradictions, or objections can be raised to a stated position on the grounds that it is inadequate because it leaves something out. The original position is then restated by ridding itself of its own contradictions and by taking into account the objection that it was inadequate.

He bequeaths the argument to the young men and quietly shuffles off the scene, never to be heard again. We are to assume that a properly conducted sacrifice is not a trifling matter, so at least during a part of the action on-stage (perhaps while Thrasymachus is talking because he is in many ways the opposite of Cephalus) religious rites are still being practised off-stage. The scene is charming, but at the same time puzzling. One of the pleasures of old age that Cephalus mentions to Socrates is a delight in intelligent conversation, yet Plato does not keep Cephalus in the dialogue very long.

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