This books aims to meet a pressing need for students of modern political philosophy: the need to access an ever increasing, sophisticated and diverse range of interpretations of the great modern political philosophers — from Machiavelli to Marx. The remarkable flowering of commentary over the past thirty years or so is in part attributable to the way academic life has become somewhat industrialised: production is encouraged, specialisation and the division of labour become intensified. But it is also evidence of something else. All these thinkers remain obstinately relevant. They have provided much of the language and concepts — the building blocks — of contemporary political discourse. And they all offer deep insights into the nature of political life as well as supplying arguments justifying or criticising political action, state institutions and public policy. Even where their vision is limited by their inherited assumptions and theoretical frameworks, as well as by the particular worlds they inhabited, often their ideas can be adapted to shed light on current concerns. These philosophers form a living presence in our own ideological universe, upholding the values of individual liberty, democracy, tradition, property, order, community, equality, and so on. They continue to provoke awe, inspiration, sometimes hostility, but hardly ever contempt.
KeywordsDirect Democracy French Revolution Historical Materialism Political Thought Individual Liberty
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