Thinking Politics: Perspectives in Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory

Thinking Politics: Perspectives in Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory

Thinking Politics: Perspectives in Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory

Thinking Politics: Perspectives in Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Political Theory

Synopsis

This title examines thinking and re-thinking public life regarding politics. It urges a political reflection that readdresses tradition and modernity in relation to postmodernism.

Excerpt

This book was originally conceived as a standard introduction to political theory. Demonstrating the continuity and change within the long and venerable tradition of political thought was a pleasant prospect. I quickly discovered, however, that I was not well suited to writing a stock survey text. I could not bring myself to strip from political theory that which, for me, has always been its most redeeming quality, namely, its capacity to stretch the mind, induce critical inquiry, and bring worldly problems to bear--often in a disquieting way--on the aspiring theorist. The result is a book that, I hope, will intellectually, practically, and personally challenge its readers. This, I believe, is the best means to cultivate a love for the discipline.

The chapters of this book integrate the insights of ancient, modern, and postmodern political thought. At the end of each chapter, I have offered suggestions for further reading. Many of these works, particularly the classic texts, are available in more than one satisfactory edition. I have for this reason abbreviated bibliographical information. Most of the suggested readings are also found in the endnotes, where readers can identify the editions that I have used. The endnotes themselves are wholly bibliographical and need not be consulted unless references for citations are desired.

For making this book's arguments more compelling and its writing more readable, I would like to thank Al Damico, Luke Garrott, George Graham, Albert Matheny, Hillard Pouncy, and Donna Waller. Special thanks are due to Paul Wapner, Ted Schatzki, and Susan Thiele. Paul has engaged me, over many years of friendship and travel, in a critical dialogue about the integration of philosophic concerns and political life. Without that dialogue, this book, and my life, would be much poorer. Ted's critical commentary on the penultimate draft of this manuscript was so reassuringly thorough that I am tempted, contrary to . . .

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