By Ian Adams

Fifty significant Political Thinkers introduces the lives and concepts of a few of the main influential figures in Western political proposal, from old Greece to the current day. The entries supply a desirable advent to the foremost figures and faculties of proposal that experience formed modern politics, including:

  • Aristotle
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Michel Foucault
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • Jurgen Habermas
  • Machiavelli
  • Karl Marx
  • Thomas Paine
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Mary Wollstonecraft.

Fully cross-referenced and together with a word list of theoretical phrases, this wide-ranging and obtainable publication is key interpreting for an individual with an curiosity within the evolution and background of up to date political thought.

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It is a play on two Greek words u-topia, meaning 'no place', and eu-topia, meaning 'happy place'. The ambivalence continues in the name of the central character, Raphael Hythloday, with Raphael meaning 'messenger of God' and Hythloday meaning 'talker of nonsense'. Yet the two characters to whom he tells his story are More himself and a friend who did exist, and on an occasion (a diplomatic mission to the Low Countries) that really happened. These and many other puzzles, jokes and ironies make the book ambiguous as to how seriously it should all be taken and just what the author is trying to do.

It also gave him the leisure and means to devote himself to study. He was something of a late developer. John Aubrey tells us in his Brief Life of Hobbes that He was forty years old before he looked on Geometry, which happened accidentally. Being in a gentleman's library, Euclid's Elements lay open . . He read the Proposition. By G—, says he (he would now and then swear an emphatical oath by way of emphasis), this is impossible! So he reads the demonstration of it, which referred him back to such a Proposition; which proposition he read.

When mercy is appropriate, let him be merciful; but when it is appropriate for him to be merciless, savage and terrifying, let him be these things too. Let him be honest and truthful where necessary; but let him lie and break faith if he must. The prince must do whatever circumstances require, and if those circumstances require him to disregard traditional moral values and Christian ways of behaving, then so be it. It is self-defeating to behave in ways that will increase one's chances of losing power or to omit to behave in ways that will increase one's chances of keeping it.

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