A History of Modern Political Thought: The Question of Interpretation

ISBN : 9780199682287

Gary Browning
448 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2016
Send mail

How are we to understand past political thinkers? Is it a matter simply of reading their texts again and again? Do we have to relate past texts of political thought to the contexts in which ideas were composed and in which the aims of past thinkers were formulated? Or should past political theories be deconstructed so as to uncover not what their authors maintain, but what the texts reveal? In this book, theories of interpreting past political thinkers are examined and the interpretive methods of a range of theories are reviewed, including those of Hegel, Marx, Oakeshott, Collingwood, the Cambridge School, Foucault, Derrida and Gadamer. The application of these theories of interpretation to notable modern political theorists, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche and Beauvoir is then used as a way of understanding modern political thought and of assessing interpretive theories of past political thought. The result is a book which sees the history of modern political thought as more than a procession of political theories but rather as a reflection on the meaning of past political thought and its interpretation. It provides a way of reading the history of modern political thought, in which the question of interpretation matters both for understanding how we interpret the past but also for considering what it means to undertake political thinking.


1 Introduction

2 Hegel and Marx: Political Culture, Economy, and Ideology
3 Oakeshott, Collingwood, and the Historical Turn
4 Quentin Skinner, the Cambridge School, and Contextualism
5 Derrida: Deconstructing the Canon
6 Foucault: Politics, History, and Discourse
7 Gadamer and Hermeneutics

8 Machiavelli: Modernity and the Renaissance Man
9 Hobbes and the Politics of Absolutism
10 Locke: History and Political Thought
11 Rousseau: Nature and Society
12 Kant: Morality, Politics, and Cosmopolitanism
13 Hegel and the Politics of Modernity
14 Karl Marx: One or Many
15 Jeremy Bentham: Enlightenment Politics
16 John Stuart Mill: Then and Now
17 Nietzsche: Politics, Power, and Philosophy
18 Beauvoir and the Politics of Sex
19 Conclusion: Political Thought and History

About the author: 

Gary Browning is Professor of Political Philosophy at Oxford Brookes University and Associate Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has served on the Executive of the Political Studies Association and is a member of the Council of the Hegel Society of Great Britain. He has published a number of books in political thought and related fields, such as Plato and Hegel: Two Modes of Philosophising about Politics (Routledge, 2012), Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists (co-edited with R. Prokhovnik and M. Dimova- Cookson, Palgrave, 2012), and Global Theory from Kant to Hardt and Negri (Palgrave, 2011).

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.