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

By J. S. McClelland

A background of Western Political suggestion is an brisk and lucid account of crucial political thinkers and the long-lasting issues of the final and a part millennia. Written with scholars of the background of political proposal in brain, the book:
* strains the advance of political notion from historical Greece to the overdue 20th century
* makes a speciality of person thinkers and texts
* contains forty biographies of key political thinkers
* bargains unique perspectives of theorists and highlights these that can were unjustly neglected
* develops the broader issues of political idea and the family among thinkers through the years.

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Sample text

At the very least, these virtues do not make me vulnerable and they might also enable me to protect myself from others; at best, they might help me to a position of dominance on the principle that in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Justice holds out no such promise. The good fare badly among the wicked, and the worst position of all would be to be the only just man left. The conclusion might be drawn that wisdom, courage and temperence are obviously political virtues in a sense that justice is not.

There would always be Guardians-in-training in Plato’s state, and preserving that training unchanged would be the state’s first priority. The aim of that training is to produce just men in the double sense that Plato understands justice: men who are in fact just and who know what justice is. The training of Guardians, like all training, is a process of selection. Plato does not actually tell us whether everyone in his state will begin the training process, but his concern that there will be no wastage of talent makes it a reasonable inference that nobody will in principle be excluded, and certainly not women.

Therefore Philosopher-Rulers must attain the highest form of knowledge before they can know the first thing about their business, which is the preservation of justice in the state. Justice has first to be seen before it can be defended. Plato’s contention that his-Philosopher-Rulers must be able to see the Form of the Good before they can even begin to learn the practical skills of ruling under the wise tutelage of an experienced Guardian, may look odd at first sight. Why cannot Guardians be taught the art of ruling direct, by imitation for example?

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