By Ian Adams
Fifty significant Political Thinkers introduces the lives and ideas of a few of the main influential figures in Western political inspiration, from historic Greece to the current day. The entries offer a desirable creation to the most important figures and faculties of suggestion that experience formed modern politics, including:
- Simone de Beauvoir
- Michel Foucault
- Mohandas Gandhi
- Jurgen Habermas
- Karl Marx
- Thomas Paine
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
- Mary Wollstonecraft.
Fully cross-referenced and together with a word list of theoretical phrases, this wide-ranging and obtainable ebook is key studying for a person with an curiosity within the evolution and heritage of up to date political thought.
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This part of the list almost compiles itself. Then there will be a penumbra of cases that, though discussable, would probably be included by most knowledgeable people. Finally, there will be a class of substantially controversial entries, where the choice really is a matter of editorial discretion. Anyone who undertakes to draw up such a list will therefore face some difficult decisions, and it is inevitable that the final selection will not be agreeable to everyone. Selection is particularly difficult when we come to the era after the French Revolution: the age of mass politics in which so many movements of political significance have emerged.
In recent times, commentators have tended to deplore Plato’s mistrust of democracy. Such critics deprecate his lack of belief in the capacity of ordinary human beings to organise their lives without paternalistic supervision. They complain that the regime over which Plato’s philosopher-rulers preside is a totalitarian one: that they are despots who, on the strength of the knowledge that they claim, control every aspect of their subjects’ lives, by methods just as disreputable as those for which Plato is so ready to reproach the Sophists.
The most general conclusion to which his comparisons lead him is that constitutional types are classifiable into three broad categories: rule by one, by few and by many. Aristotle deals in detail with these three types and their possible permutations. He is largely concerned with technical questions of stability and change. With considerable impartiality, he recommends ways in which even bad or dysfunctional constitutions can be made more stable. The stability of a constitution is, he thinks, secured by balancing elements of ‘fewness’ and ‘manyness’ in such a way as to ensure that as few people as possible are excluded or alienated.
Fifty Major Political Thinkers by Ian Adams