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Martin Cohen, Political Philosophy: From Plato to Mao

Posted on: October 3, 2007

Martin Cohen, Political Philosophy: From Plato to Mao
Pluto Press | ISBN 0745316034 | 2001 | PDF | 2.18 MB | 249 pages


This uniquely accessible introduction to political philosophy explores the history of ideas and ways of thinking about society. Beginning with Plato’s “Utopia,” Cohen goes on to discuss political philosophies from Niccolo Machiavelli’s “Psychology of the State” through to Hobbes’ “Wicked World,” John Locke, Adam Smith, Rousseau, Marxism, Italian Fascism, Maoism and beyond. Theory is set in a social context, in what amounts to a history of civilization, from Plato and the Enlightenment humanists to Hayek and Fukuyama. Concise summaries of key ideas are likewise set within the useful context of an historical narrative. The book finishes with a final discussion of capitalism and the “Third Way,” bringing the narrative fully up to date.
The historicists believe they have unravelled one of the oldest problems of speculative metaphysics, the problem our study started
with, identified by Heraclitus and Parmenides – the problem of change. They believe their advance is due to their living in a
uniquely important period of history – one in which change has accelerated, revealing for the first time the revolutionary truth. But
the reality is that the more everything changes, the more everything remains the same.

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