Political Philosophy An Historical Introduction

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-06-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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From Greek antiquity to the latest theories, this historical survey of political philosophy not only covers the major thinkers in the field but also explores the theme of how political philosophy relates to the nature of man. It illustrates how the great political thinkers have always grounded their political thought in what the author terms a 'normative anthropology', which typically has not only ethical but metaphysical and/or theological components. Starting with the ancient Greek Sophists, author Michael J. White examines how thinkers over the centuries have approached such political and philosophical concerns as justice, morality, and human flourishing, offering substantial studies of-among others-Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, and J. S. Mill. White highlights the impact of Christianity on political philosophy, illustrating the diversity of that impact by studies of Augustine, Aquinas, and Marsilius of Padua. Concluding with an in-depth analysis of John Rawls and contemporary liberal political philosophy, this text blends insight and information in a refreshing and useful manner. A brief Epilogue considers both the value and the limitations of political philosophy and its study. "This book is a challenging book, in the best sense. White's central thesis, while controversial, is nevertheless important, consistently argued - both historically and philosophically, and presented in a thoroughly engaging manner." - Philosophy in Review "A masterpiece of clear thinking, this well-written text will challenge many to reflect more closely on matters often too quickly decided. The result is more than one might ever have expected of an introductory text of this size; indeed a better introduction to the subject is hard to imagine." - Alastair Hannay, University of Oslo

Author Biography

Michael J. White is Professor of Law and of Philosophy at Arizona State University. He has taught philosophy for almost forty years, has authored four books and over sixty articles and book chapters, and is an acknowledged authority on ancient philosophy, political philosophy, and areas of formal logic.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Preface to the Second Editionp. ix
Introductionp. 3
Politics and Human Naturep. 3
The Idea of Human Nature or the Humanp. 9
Good as "Function": Normative Anthropologyp. 5
My "Story" of Political Philosophy-and My Cast of Charactersp. 9
Enduring Issues in Political Philosophyp. 13
Classical Greek Political Philosophy: Beginningsp. 21
Protagoras's Democratic Traditionalismp. 23
The Functionalistic Foundation of the Political Aretai in Nature (Physis)p. 27
Glaucon's Contractarian Political Theoryp. 31
Plato: Government for Corrupted Intellectsp. 37
Socrates' Polis of Pigsp. 37
The "Republic" of Plato's Republicp. 40
The Human Ergon and the Purpose of Political Organizationp. 43
Furthering Rationality by Means of the Polis?p. 46
Why Should Anyone Return to the Cave?p. 52
Plato and "the Rule of Law"p. 55
Aristotle: Politics as the Master Artp. 65
The Human Good: Intellectual and Politicalp. 65
"Acting Correctly" (Eupraxia) as a Grand End?p. 72
The Polis as a Complete Communityp. 79
The Role of Politics: the Master Art?p. 86
Concluding Thoughtsp. 92
Cicero: The Cosmic Significance of Politicsp. 98
Cicero as Champion of the Res Publicap. 100
What is Right (Ius): The Rule of Law (Lex) and Normative Anthropologyp. 104
Virtues, Duties, and Lawsp. 107
Christianity: A Political Religion?p. 118
The New Testament and Beyondp. 119
Pauline Cosmopolitanismp. 127
The Roman Empire Christianizedp. 137
The Advent of Tempora Christiana (The Christian Era)p. 141
Augustine, Aquinas, and Marsilius of Padua: Politics for Saints, Sinners, and Hereticsp. 148
St. Augustinep. 151
The Two Rationales of Augustine's City of Godp. 151
The Two Citiesp. 152
Theoretical Political Consequencesp. 158
Christians as Good Citizens of Secular States?p. 164
St. Thomas Aquinasp. 169
The Human Function: Nature and Praeternaturep. 171
The "Parts" of the Eternal Law: Divine, Natural, and Human Lawp. 183
Political Forms, Procedures, and other Particularsp. 192
Aquinas's Political Philosophy: Some Concluding Observationsp. 200
Marsilius of Paduap. 203
The Autonomous but Coercive Regnum (Political Community) and Its Lawp. 205
The Political Wisdom and Authority of the Whole Body of Citizensp. 213
Hobbes and Locke: Seventeenth-Century Contractarianismp. 226
Thomas Hobbes: Natural Law Simplified and Modernizedp. 232
Natural Law, Natural Rights, and the Human Functionp. 233
Law, Contracts, and the "Leviathan"p. 248
The Civil State: Sovereign and Subjectsp. 254
Concluding Thoughts on God and Sovereignsp. 260
John Locke: Divinely Mandated Autonomy, Natural Rights, and Propertyp. 262
Moral Knowledge and Human Motivationp. 264
The State of Nature and the Social Contractp. 270
Property and Liberal Political Theory: Lockean Originsp. 277
Rousseau and Marx: Reaction to Bourgeois-Liberalismp. 290
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Autonomous Citizens for the True Republicp. 292
The Intertwined Development of Civilization, Corruption, and Moralityp. 295
The Social Contract and the Émile: Republics and Republican Citizensp. 304
Politics and the Human Functionp. 317
Karl Marx: Distortion of the Human Function Within the Bourgeois-Liberal Statep. 319
Political Emancipation and the Bourgeois-Liberal Statep. 324
Alienation and the Human Functionp. 332
Historical Materialism and the Coming of Communismp. 337
Concluding Thoughts: the Cookshops of the Future made Presentp. 339
Mill and Rawls: Liberalism Ascendant?p. 348
John Stuart Mill: Perfectionist Liberalismp. 351
Mill's Liberalismp. 352
Liberty and Governmentp. 361
Democratic Republicanismp. 365
Concluding Thought on Mill and Liberalismp. 372
John Rawls: Political (and Nonperfectionist?) Liberalismp. 372
Egalitarian Justice as the "First Virtue of Social Institutions": Basic Assumptionsp. 373
Rawls's Two Principles of Justice: What They Apply to and Whyp. 383
Consensus, Public Reason, and the Distinction between Citoyen and Bourgeoisp. 392
The Ultimate Justification of Rawlsian Liberalism?p. 397
Epiloguep. 409
Indexp. 417
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