The Mainstream of Western Political Thought
- Publish Date: 1997-05-15
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: Judith A. Best
The central argument of this book is that Western political philosophy is a coherent tradition dominated by an agreement that the nature of man should serve as the standard for evaluating political things. Although the philosophers of the Western political tradition are all original thinkers whose theories are alternatives to each other, and although there are actual and serviceable distinctions between the ancient and modern periods, these differences ultimately must be transcended in order to answer the questionwhat constitutes the coherence or mainstream of the Western political tradition? Despite the significant disagreements among them, these philosophers agreed that the mainstream is defined by declaring that man has a nature, that his nature is ascertainable, and that his nature is the appropriate standard for evaluating political problems and prescribing remedies for political defects. The political community exists for man. It is an instrument of his happiness. Therefore, the mainstream is agreed that political life is, or can be, good, and that to live apolitically, outside the political community, is to live improperly and dysfunctionally. Finally, the mainstream is agreed that the rule of law is a very high thing because the rule of law is the means by which most men can live a decent and perhaps even a rational life. Contents: Preface; Western Political Philosophy: The Quest; The Ancients: The Discovery of a Standard; The Ancients: Political Things are Natural; The Ancients: The Art of Government; The Moderns: The Alteration of the Standard; The Moderns: Political Things are Conventional; The Moderns: The Science of Government; The Crosscurrent; The Principles of the Mainstream of Western Political Thought; Notes; Suggested Readings; Index.