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By J. S. McClelland

A heritage of Western Political concept is an lively and lucid account of an important political thinkers and the iconic subject matters of the final and a part millennia. Written with scholars of the historical past of political suggestion in brain, the book:
* strains the advance of political inspiration from historic Greece to the overdue 20th century
* makes a speciality of person thinkers and texts
* comprises forty biographies of key political thinkers
* bargains unique perspectives of theorists and highlights these that could were unjustly neglected
* develops the broader subject matters of political inspiration and the kin among thinkers through the years.

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What made the whole business maddening, and may have led to his trial and execution, is that Socrates always claimed that he himself knew nothing. We can only guess that the historical Socrates was really like that, but we can easily see why, if the invention of Socrates the gadfly is an invention of Plato’s, it is a necessary invention. He stands for the instrument needed to clear away all outmoded doctrine before the true job of philosophy could begin. Socrates made his living as a stonemason, and he is reputed to have said that the only men who knew anything at Athens were the craftsmen.

The miser denies himself other indulgences so he can indulge his love of money to the full. He does not care who knows that he is a miser; in fact he might take a perverse pride in it; unlike the honourable man, he does not need the good opinion of others, and he could easily spend his life in lonely contemplation of his hoard. It never occurs to him to ask himself why he wants more money; he simply does, and finds it odd that not everybody else does too. Reason in Plato’s sense is not involved in the lesser virtues of courage and self-control.

Justice is illuminated by the Form of the Good, but being just also requires the exercises which justice requires, one of which is ruling. The absence of a system of law also makes these exercises in justice necessary. Each Guardian really has to think each decision out. Even sympathetic critics of Plato have been unsettled by the absence of law in the Republic on the grounds that without law there would be nothing to act as a control on the ruling activities of Guardians. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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