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Introduction to Political Thought  

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Full-Text Reference Books from Literati

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Political Philosophy A-Z
A comprehensive, up to date and concise guide to one of the most important branches of philosophy.

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A Glossary of Political Theory
Covers alphabetically both the major concepts in political theory and the key writers in the field. While ensuring accuracy and objectivity, the entries represent interpretations that are both challenging and interesting.

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Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Political Thought
Covers every aspect of political thought, defining concepts and ideologies, surveying the arguments on issues, giving capsule histories of political institutions, and summarizing the thought of major political theorists.

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Dictionary of World Philosophy
Covers the diverse and challenging terminology, concepts, schools and traditions of the vast field of world philosophy.

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The Blackwell Dictionary of Political Science
A clear and lively introduction to the terminology of political science for students and general readers. The book comprises rigorous definitions and explanations of key terms, including short biographies of the most eminent writers in the discipline - both classical (eg Mill) and modern (eg Hayek).


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Key Political & Ethical Philosophies

  • Consequentialism
    From Political Philosophy A-Z Consequentialism is a term first used by Elisabeth Anscombe in 1958 to cover a range of theories according to which the moral value of an act or other moral entity is derived solely from its consequences. Clearly, consequentialists need to say what it is about the consequences that constitute moral worth. MORE
  • Contractarianism
    From Encyclopedia of Ethics Contractarianism is a family of views which seek to justify morality or political INSTITUTIONS by reference to rational agreement. We are, according to this tradition, to think of morality or of legitimate states as objects of some sort of SOCIAL CONTRACT. MORE
  • Environmentalism: Topic Page
    Movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use. MORE
  • Feminism: Topic Page
    Movement for the political, social, and educational equality of women with men; the movement has occurred mainly in Europe and the United States. It has its roots in the humanism of the 18th cent. and in the Industrial Revolution. MORE
  • Liberalism
    From Encyclopedia of American Studies
    Liberalism, both as an ideology and as a set of policies, has had shifting, and often conflicting, meanings. Originally, liberalism viewed the state as potential oppressor. In the early twentieth century liberals concluded that the state had the power and obligation to intervene for the public good. MORE
  • Multiculturalism
    From Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology There are two tensions within multiculturalism that sociology inherits. First, multiculturalism has come to define a set of state policies to manage (neutralize, nullify, subdue, or conquer) difference (multiculturalism as policy). Second, it also has come to define those strategies that mount resistances to state management policies of difference (multiculturalism as politics). MORE
  • Neo-liberalism
    From Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Political Thought The return to the principles of classical liberalism. In particular, the defence of the free economy, free trade, and small government. MORE
  • Realism
    From A Glossary of Political Theory A concept that is used in a variety of ways in political theory. Sometimes the word is used in place of materialism. A realist is someone who accepts that the world is external to our ideas, and we can measure the truth of our ideas as reflections of, or reconstructions of, this external reality. Realism can also denote a current in international-relations theorising that accepts the state as a given. MORE
  • Socialism: Topic Page
    General term for the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods MORE
  • Utilitarianism
    From Dictionary of World Philosophy: A family of ethical theories holding that, in assessing actions, policies, practices, institutions, and character and character traits, only their consequences matter, and the consequences that matter are those affecting the common good, i.e. the general well-being of those affected by them (though this notion is not used so much by utilitarian writers as it is by natural-law theorists). MORE

Classic Key Political Thinkers

  • Plato (BCE 427 - 347): Topic Page
    Greek philosopher. Plato's teachings have been among the most influential in the history of Western civilization. MORE
  • Thucydides (ca. 460-ca. 400 BCE): Topic Page
    Greek historian of Athens, one of the greatest of ancient historians. His family was partly Thracian. As a general in the Peloponnesian War he failed (424 BCE) to prevent the surrender of the city of Amphipolis to the Spartan commander Brasidas and was exiled until the end of the war. MORE
  • Aristotle (BCE 384 - 322): Topic Page
    Greek philosopher, b. Stagira. He is sometimes called the Stagirite. MORE
  • Machiavelli (1469–1527): Topic Page
    1469–1527, Italian author and statesman, one of the outstanding figures of the Renaissance, b. Florence. LifeA member of the impoverished branch of a distinguished family, he entered (1498) the political service of the Florentine republic and rose rapidly in importance. MORE

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Modern Political Thinkers


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