"A wonderful introduction to history's most influential scribblers."--Steven Pinker
What is truly at stake in politics? Nothing less than how we should live, as individuals and as communities. This book goes beyond the surface headlines, the fake news and the hysteria to explore the timeless questions posed and answers offered by a diverse group of the 30 greatest political thinkers who have ever lived.
Are we political, economic, or religious animals? Should we live in small city-states, nations, or multinational empires? What values should politics promote? Should wealth be owned privately or in common? Do animals also have rights? There is no idea too radical for this global assortment of thinkers, which includes: Confucius; Plato; Augustine; Machiavelli; Burke; Wollstonecraft; Marx; Nietzsche; Gandhi; Qutb; Arendt; Nussbaum, Naess and Rawls.
In each brief chapter, the authors paint a vivid portrait of these often prescient, always compelling political thinkers, showing how their ideas grew out of their own dramatic lives and times and evolved beyond them. Now more than ever we need to be reminded that politics can be a noble, inspiring and civilising art. And if we want to understand today's political world, we need to understand the foundations of politics and its architects. This is the perfect guide to both.
Graeme Garrard has taught political thought at Cardiff University, UK since 1995 and at the Harvard Summer School, USA since 2006. He has lectured at colleges and universities in Canada, the United States, Britain and France for 25 years. He is the author of two books:Rousseau's Counter-Enlightenment(2000) andCounter-
Enlightenments: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present(2006).
James Bernard Murphy is Professor of Government at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA where he has taught since 1990. His next book is entitledYour Whole Life: Beyond Childhood and Adulthood (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).
“A wonderful introduction to history's most influential scribblers, filled with clear explanations and engaging detail” —Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
“The authors have written a kind of Plutarch'sLives of the great political philosophers. Their lively and engaging style make even the most abstract ideas come alive. This is a book that can be read and enjoyed by all.” —Steven B. Smith, Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science, Yale University, author of Political Philosophy
“An elegant meditation on political power … Garrard and Murphy take a self-critical view of citizenship, insisting that "you may not care about politics, but politics cares about you"” —Eric Beerbohm, Professor of Government, Harvard University
“This book offers an excellent preparation for those who seek to distinguish the best from the worst in political life” —Michael D. Gillespie, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Duke University
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