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

By J. S. McClelland

A historical past of Western Political idea is an lively and lucid account of crucial political thinkers and the long-lasting topics of the final and a part millennia. Written with scholars of the historical past of political inspiration in brain, the book:
* strains the advance of political proposal from historic 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 which can were unjustly neglected
* develops the broader topics of political concept and the kin among thinkers over the years.

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The question is: Why does Plato allow Socrates to play the eristic game in front of the young men when the point of the ensuing dialogue about justice is to show that dialectic is superior to eristic? Socrates is better than Thrasymachus at eristic, so is there not a danger that the young men will think that Socrates is a better man because he is better at eristic? Something must make that risk worth taking, but Socrates takes a long time before he tells us what it is, and then only after the audience has already got a hefty slice of dialectic under its belt.

The lucky or the successful man in a corrupt society may have everything he wants, and his contemporaries may envy him as the happiest of men, but he really is unhappy. Likewise, the just man in an unjust society may appear to be the most miserable of men, always doing good and always suffering calumny and worse from his contemporaries, but he really is happier even if he is hounded to death. Happiness is the motive for justice: happiness now, not happiness in some state of future bliss after death, and not happiness defined out of existence as something else.

In both cases, an inherent instability will cause unhappiness sooner or later; much better to get things properly organised at the outset. The Republic is largely an attempt to show how just men can be produced and how advantageous it would be if they were to rule a polis. THE REPUBLIC: SETTING THE SCENE The Republic is written in the form of a long conversation between Socrates and others. The tone becomes less conversational as the work goes on, and by the end it has virtually become a Socratic monologue.

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