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Western Political Thought

Western Political Thought
$29.00
Item Code: NAT169
Author: O.P. Gauba
Publisher: National Publishing House
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789388658362
Pages: 380
Cover: PAPERBACK
Other Details: 9.50 X 6.00 inch
About the Book

Western Political Thought is intended to be a short but intimate introduction to the tradition of political thought from Socrates to the present day. At the outset, it deals with the nature of political thought and the problems of its interpretation. Then it gives an account of various traditions of political thought and the leading thinkers of each tradition. Among the traditions, it covers Early Classical, Renaissance, Liberal (including Neo-liberal), Conservative, Utilitarian, Enlightenment, Idealist, Marxist (including Neo-Marxist), Feminist, Communitarian and Environmentalist traditions as well as Contemporary Political Philosophers. Among the leading thinkers, it dwells on the contribution of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Rawls, Nozick, Burke, Bentham, J.S. Mill, Kant, Hegel, Green, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Mao Zedong, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt and Michael Oakeshott, apart from a host of thinkers associated with Feminist, Communitarian and Environmentalist traditions. All aspects of political thought have been examined in a comparative and critical perspective.

The book is written in a reader-friendly style. Intricate concepts are elucidated through suitable headings and subheadings, explanatory diagrammes, flow charts and comparative charts. On-the-spot definitions of important terms, a brief description of historical references and some crisp quotations are given in boxes.

About the Author

Dr. O.P. Gauba studied at D.A.V. College, Dehradun and the University of Delhi. He obtained B.A. Degree in Literature and Philosophy, M.A. Degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Agra University, and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Delhi. He taught in the University of Delhi from 1967 to 2004. Presently he is fully devoted to academic writing. Apart from Western Political Thought, his other important works include Indian Political Thought, An Introduction to Political Theory, Social and Political Philosophy, Political Ideas and Ideologies, Contemporary Political Ideologies, Reading Gandhi, Dimensions of Social Justice, and Constitutionalism in a Changing Perspective. He is also the author of a host of university-level academic books and several standard reference works in Hindi.

Preface

Western political thought is extensively used as a reference point for the study of political science, history, philosophy, literature, economics and even sociology. The present study of Western political thought is intended to introduce the major trends in this field with special reference to the contribution of prominent thinkers in a simple, jargon-free and self-explanatory style which could be followed by the students of all relevent disciplines.

The study of Western political thought cannot be confined to a fixed account of its historical development. John Hope Franklin (1915-2009), black American scholar and historian, has significantly observed: "The writing of history reflects the interests, predilections, and even prejudices of a given generation." This also applies to the history of political thought. So each generation may tend to reinterpret the theories advanced by the political thinkers of the past in the light of its own experience, apprehensions as well as hopes. A student of Western political thought must be constantly apprised of these developments in order to update his understanding. I have tried to do the needful as the things stand at the present moment. This exercise will have to be carried on by the new generations of brilliant authors and academicians.

A few examples will be sufficient to illustrate this point. When Karl Popper wrote The Open Society and its Enemies (1945), he declared Plato, ancient Greek philosopher, as the first exponent of 'totalitarianism' - a term that was not heard before the onset of the twentieth century. This gave rise to a new debate on the status of Plato as well as Hegel (1770-1831) and Marx (1818-83), German philosophers, as exponents of totalitarianism. A similar debate about the status of Rousseau (1712-78), French philosopher, was raised when J. L. Talmon published The Rise of Totalitarian Democracy (1961), declaring Rousseau as the intellectual forerunner of twentieth-century totalitarianism. Then Lucio Colletti (From Rousseau to Lenin: Studies in Ideology and Society; 1972) interpreted Rousseau's philosophy in terms of understanding the origin and nature of modern capitalism. Again, the philosophy of Machiavelli (1469-1527), Italian thinker, is now linked with the contemporary concept of 'dirty hands'. In recent times, John Rawls (1921-2002) and Robert Nozick (1938-2002), American philosophers, built their respective theories of justice following John Locke (1632-1704), English philosopher's theory of the social contract, and they arrived at substantially different conclusions. Contemporary Canadian political philosopher, C.B. Macpherson (The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism-Hobbes to Locke; 1962) initiated a new debate on political thought of Hobbes (1588-1679), and Locke, English philosophers, by identifying the underlying assumption behind liberalism as 'possessive individualism'. Then Macpherson (Democratic Theory-Essays in Retrieval; 1973) identified the essence of democracy as 'power to the poor' which echoes Aristotle's definition of democracy as 'rule of the poor'.

Many more examples of reinterpretation of political thought of the past can be cited to prove this point. The present study begins with a discussion of the nature of political thought and the problems of its interpretation. Then it gives an account of various traditions of political thought and the leading thinkers of each tradition. Among the traditions, it covers Early Classical, Renaissance, Liberal (including Neo-liberal), Conservative, Utilitarian, Enlightenment, Idealist, Marxist (including Neo-Marxist), Feminist, Communitarian and Environmentalist traditions. Among the leading thinkers, it dwells on the contribution of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Rawls, Nozick, Burke, Bentham, J.S. Mill, Kant, Hegel, Green, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Mao Zedong and Gramsci apart from a host of thinkers associated with Feminist, Communitarian and Environmentalist traditions. All aspects of political thought have been examined in a comparative and critical perspective. The book is written in a reader-friendly style. Intricate concepts are elucidated through suitable headings and subheadings, explanatory diagrammes, flow charts and comparative charts. On-the-spot definitions of important terms, a brief description of historical references and some crisp quotations are given in boxes.

The present endeavour represents a thoroughly revised, enlarged and upgraded edition of the original version of Western Political Thought which includes two new clapters on Hannah Arendt and Michael Oakeshott, contemporary political philosophers, apart from some minor topics like 'organic intellectuals' and `Post-Marxism'. It is hoped that the new edition of this book will prove more useful and acceptable to the_ academic community. Constructive suggestions will be most --welcome. Please e-mail your valuable suggestions to ompgauba@gmail.com

**Contents and Sample Pages**













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