The Key Texts of Political Philosophy

The Key Texts of Political Philosophy : An Introduction

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This book introduces readers to analytical interpretation of seminal writings and thinkers in the history of political thought, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Marx, and Nietzsche. Chronologically arranged, each chapter in the book is devoted to the work of a single thinker. The selected texts together engage with 2000 years of debate on fundamental questions including: what is the purpose of political life? What is justice? What is a right? Do human beings have rights? What kinds of human virtues are there and which regimes best promote them? The difficulty of accessing the texts included in this volume is the result not only of their subtlety but also of the dramatic change in everyday life. The authors shed light on the texts' vocabulary and complexities of thought and help students understand and weigh the various interpretations of each philosopher's thought.show more

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Review quote

'Pangle and Burns manage the impressive achievement of presenting textually sensitive readings of the major philosophers and texts in the history of political philosophy, while at the same time bringing out the human meaning, significance, and relevance of what the philosophers are saying. Pangle and Burns help the students see that they are actually being addressed by these philosophers - with a message of importance for their lives and communities.' Michael Zuckert, University of Notre Dame 'This remarkable work somehow combines staggering erudition with great clarity and indeed beauty. Each chapter treats a single author or text and can stand on its own. But the chapters taken together constitute a grand tour through the history of political thought - classical Greek, Biblical, early modern, and modern, from Plato to Genesis to Machiavelli to Nietzsche and much else besides. A book to return to again and again.' Robert C. Bartlett, Boston Collegeshow more

About Thomas L. Pangle

Thomas L. Pangle holds the Joe R. Long Chair in Democratic Studies in the Department of Government and is Co-Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a lifetime Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has won Guggenheim, Killam-Canada Council, Carl Friedrich von Siemens, and four National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. He has been awarded the Benton Bowl (for contribution to education in politics) by Yale University and the Robert Foster Cherry Great Teacher of the World Prize by Baylor University. At the invitation of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, he delivered the Werner Heisenberg Memorial Lecture at the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation in Munich. He is the author of many books, most recently Aristotle's Teaching in the Politics (2013). Timothy W. Burns is Professor of Government at Baylor University. He is the author of Shakespeare's Political Wisdom and the editor of After History?: Francis Fukuyama and his Critics and the Companion to Leo Strauss' Writings on Classical Political Thought (forthcoming). He is also co-editor, with Bryan-Paul Frost, of Philosophy, History, and Tyranny: Re-examining the Debate Between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojeve, and co-editor, with Peter Augustine Lawler, of The Future of Liberal Education. He has translated Marcellinus' Life of Thucydides and is the author of articles on Homer, Thucydides, Aristophanes, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Bacon, Hobbes, Shakespeare, Chesterton, Strauss, Fukuyama, Putnam, John Courtney Murray, and modern liberal republican theory.show more

Table of contents

Part I. Classical Political Philosophy: 1. Plato's Apology of Socrates; 2. Plato's Republic, book one; 3. Aristotle's Politics; Part II. Biblical Political Theology: 4. The Bible; 5. St Thomas Aquinas's Treatise on Law; Part III. Modern Political Philosophy: 6. Machiavelli's Discourses and Prince; 7. Bacon's New Atlantis; 8. Hobbes's Leviathan; 9. Locke's Second Treatise of Government; 10. Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws; Part IV. Modernity in Question: 11. Rousseau's First and Second Discourses; 12. Marx and Engels: The Communist Manifesto; 13. Tocqueville's Democracy in America; 14. Nietzsche and his Zarathustra.show more

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