By John Plamenatz
This quantity provides lucid and insightful lectures on 3 nice figures from the historical past of political concept, by way of John Plamenatz (1912-1975), a number one political thinker of his time. He explores various issues within the political considered Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau, at considerably larger size and intensity than in his recognized paintings of 1961, guy and Society. The lectures exemplify Plamenatz's view that repeated engagement with the texts of canonical thinkers can considerably increase and extend our skill for political mirrored image. Edited by means of Mark Philp and Zbigniew Pelczynski, the amount contains annotations to provide Plamenatz's resources and to refer readers to advancements of their interpretation. a considerable advent via Philp units a few of Plamenatz's issues within the mild of developments in contemporary scholarship, and illuminates the relevance of his paintings to the modern examine of political idea.
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Extra resources for Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau
G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment (Princeton, NJ, 1975). 6 M A C H I AV E L L I , H O B B E S , A N D RO U S S E AU authority, and how extensive must it be to achieve this purpose? This, of course, is also Rousseau’s aim in The Social Contract, but he wrote other works in which he put other questions and used different methods to answer them. Nor has this absence or rejection of the idea of progress anything to do with their being (as Machiavelli and Hobbes have sometimes been called) moral relativists; with their believing that men’s ideas of good and evil, right and wrong, change along with their social conditions, so that there are no unchanging standards or principles by reference to which one social and political order can be reckoned superior to another.
Rogers, ‘Hobbes and His Contemporaries’; and Jon Parkin, ‘The Reception of Hobbes’s Leviathan’. 14 See David P. Gauthier, The Logic of Leviathan: The Moral and Political Theory of Thomas Hobbes (Oxford, 1969). 15 See Skinner, Visions III, ch. 3. In Aubrey’s ‘Brief Life’ of Hobbes, he emphasizes the powerful inﬂuence on Hobbes of his opening by chance Euclid’s Elements. (In Thomas Hobbes, Human Nature and De Corpore Politico, ed. J. C. A. Gaskin (Oxford, 1994), p. 235). M A C H I AV E L L I , H O B B E S , A N D RO U S S E AU 7 the light of this science, men could, if they wished, not only see clearly but also solve the fundamental problem of politics: to achieve security.
Indeed he thought the course of social change in his day was decisively away from it. v To have no idea of progress as it came to be understood in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—of a movement towards a deeper understanding and fuller realization of values to which mankind, as they develop the capacities peculiar to their species, are more and more strongly drawn—or to deny that there is any such general movement, is not, of course, to deny the possibility of improvement. Our three thinkers deal in their writings with fundamental problems which they believe are as much practical as theoretical.