By J. S. McClelland
A background of Western Political inspiration is an brisk and lucid account of crucial political thinkers and the long-lasting topics of the final and a part millennia. Written with scholars of the heritage of political concept in brain, the book:
* lines the improvement of political idea from historical Greece to the past due 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 that may were unjustly neglected
* develops the broader subject matters of political inspiration and the family members among thinkers over the years.
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Extra info for A History of Western Political Thought
The Republic opens with Socrates walking back from the Piraeus to Athens after a religious festival when he is persuaded by Polemarchus, the son of Cephalus, to come home with him and meet a gathering of friends. Socrates is greeted by Cephalus, who seems to have aged since Socrates saw him last, and the talk quickly turns to the question of what it is like to be old. In the course of that discussion Plato allows us to find out a good deal about Cephalus and about the way he looks back on his own life.
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. These virtues are directly and positively related to the power relations between men, while justice can hardly be recommended as a course of life and as a prescription for happiness. In the Republic Plato argues the reverse. He argues that justice is a political virtue in a sense in which the others are not.
What is true of the rational part of the individual personality is also true of the state. The rational part, Guardians, do not just have to become Guardians; they have to keep up their fitness as Guardians, and the only way they could do that would be to keep on doing what a Guardian does, which is to rule. It would not be enough just to keep their eyes fixed on the vision of the Good and let the rest go hang. That would be the equivalent of the trained athlete who thought he could maintain his fitness by keeping the idea of fitness constantly in his mind.