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Political philosophy or political theory is the
philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real o ...

philosophical
study of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...

government
, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its topics include
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection ...

politics
,
liberty Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without c ...

liberty
,
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
,
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to , alter, , , , , , , , or ...
,
rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstandi ...
,
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
, and the enforcement of laws by
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
: what they are, if they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect, what form it should take, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever. Political science is generally used in the singular, but in French and Spanish the plural (''sciences politiques'' and ''ciencias políticas'', respectively) is used, perhaps a reflection of the discipline's eclectic nature. Political theory also engages questions of a broader scope, tackling the political nature of phenomena and categories such as
identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...
,
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...
,
sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning " ...
, race,
wealth Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial asset A financial asset is a non-physical asset whose value is derived from a contractual claim, such as deposit (finance), bank deposits, bond (finance), bonds, and participations in companies' sh ...
, human-nonhuman relations,
ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biol ...
,
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
, and more. Political philosophy is a branch of
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, but it has also been a major part of
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of ...
, within which a strong focus has historically been placed on both the history of political thought and contemporary political theory (from normative political theory to various critical approaches). In the ''Oxford Handbook of Political Theory'' (2009), the field is described as: " ..an interdisciplinary endeavor whose center of gravity lies at the humanities end of the happily still undisciplined discipline of political science ... For a long time, the challenge for the identity of political theory has been how to position itself productively in three sorts of location: in relation to the academic disciplines of political science, history, and philosophy; between the world of politics and the more abstract, ruminative register of theory; between canonical political theory and the newer resources (such as
feminist Feminism is a range of social movements and ideology, ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social gender equality, equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies priori ...
and critical theory,
discourse analysis Discourse analysis (DA), or discourse studies, is an approach to the analysis of written, vocal, or sign language use, or any significant semiotic Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the study of sign processes (semiosis), which are any ...
, film and
film theory Film theory is a set of scholarly approaches within the academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, hi ...
,
popular Popularity or social status is the quality of being well liked, admired or well known to a particular group. Popular may also refer to: In sociology * Mainstream, the quality of being common, well received, in demand, widely understood ** See ...
and political culture, mass media studies,
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...
,
environmental studies Environmental studies, a term first coined by George Perkins Marsh in his book '' Man and Nature,'' is a multidisciplinary academic field which systematically studies human interaction with the environment. Environmental studies connects princip ...
,
behavioral science Behavioral sciences explore the cognitive processes within organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are ...
, and
economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a bran ...

economics
) on which political theorists increasingly draw."


History


Ancient traditions


Ancient India

Indian political philosophyThe Vedic (c. 1200 BCE - 10th century CE); the Jainism, Jain-Buddhism, Buddhist-Hinduism, Hindu (6th century BCE - 2nd century CE); the Islam in India, Indo-Islamic (10th century CE-1857); the modern or British Raj, Indo-British (c. 1857 - 1947); and ...
in ancient times demarcated a clear distinction between (1) nation and state (2) religion and state. The constitutions of Hindu states evolved over time and were based on political and legal treatises and prevalent social institutions. The institutions of state were broadly divided into governance, administration, defense, law and order. ''Mantranga,'' the principal governing body of these states, consisted of the King, Prime Minister, Commander in chief of army, Chief Priest of the King. The Prime Minister headed the committee of ministers along with head of executive (Maha Amatya).
Chanakya Chanakya (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is bas ...

Chanakya
was a 4th-century BC Indian political philosopher. The ''
Arthashastra The ''Arthaśāstra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्र, ) is an ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 ye ...

Arthashastra
'' provides an account of the science of politics for a wise ruler, policies for foreign affairs and wars, the system of a spy state and surveillance and economic stability of the state. Chanakya quotes several authorities including Bruhaspati, Ushanas, Prachetasa Manu, Parasara, and Ambi, and described himself as a descendant of a lineage of political philosophers, with his father Chanaka being his immediate predecessor. Another influential extant Indian treatise on political philosophy is the Sukra Neeti. An example of a
code of law A code of law, also called a law code or legal code, is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification. ...
in ancient India is the
Manusmṛti The ''Manusmṛiti'' ( sa, मनुस्मृति), also known as the ''Mānava-Dharmaśāstra'' or Laws of Manu, is believed to be the first ancient legal text and constitution among the many ' of Hinduism. In ancient India, the Rishi, sa ...
or
Laws of Manu The ''Manusmṛti'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European l ...
.


Ancient China

Chinese political philosophy dates back to the
Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the ...
, specifically with Confucius in the 6th century BC. Chinese political philosophy was developed as a response to the social and political breakdown of the country characteristic of the Spring and Autumn period and the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
. The major philosophies during the period,
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC ...
, Legalism,
Mohism Mohism or Moism () was an ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characteri ...
,
Agrarianism Agrarianism as a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy relates to the ownership and use of land for farming, or to the part of a society or economy that is tied to agriculture. Agrarianism and agrarians will typically advocate on beh ...
and
Taoism Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of China, Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, Taoism#Spelling and pronunciation, or ''Dao''). In Taoism, the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern a ...
, each had a political aspect to their philosophical schools. Philosophers such as
Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; ) was a Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), ...

Confucius
,
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mengzi (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucian , Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's R ...

Mencius
, and
Mozi Mozi (; ; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to r ...

Mozi
, focused on political unity and political stability as the basis of their political philosophies. Confucianism advocated a hierarchical,
meritocratic Meritocracy (''merit'', from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
government based on empathy, loyalty, and interpersonal relationships. Legalism advocated a highly
authoritarian Authoritarianism is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a mon ...
government based on
draconian Draconian is an adjective meaning "of great severity", that derives from Draco, an Athenian law scribe under whom small offenses had heavy punishments ( Draconian laws). Draconian may also refer to: * Draconian (band), a death/doom metal band fr ...
punishments and laws.
Mohism Mohism or Moism () was an ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characteri ...
advocated a communal, decentralized government centered on
frugality Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an ...
and
asceticism Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις, áskesis, exercise', 'training) is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their pr ...
. The Agrarians advocated a peasant
utopian A utopia ( ) typically describes an imaginary community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct f ...
communalism Communalism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its to ...
and
egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy Philosophy ...
. Taoism advocated a proto-
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
. Legalism was the dominant political philosophy of the
Qin Dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...

Qin Dynasty
, but was replaced by State Confucianism in the
Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han Dynasty
. Prior to China's adoption of
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communism
, State Confucianism remained the dominant political philosophy of China up to the 20th century.


Ancient Greece

Western political philosophy originates in the philosophy of
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
, where political philosophy dates back to at least
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
. Ancient Greece was dominated by city-states, which experimented with various forms of political organization, grouped by Plato into five categories of descending stability and morality:
monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
,
timocracy A timocracy (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mil ...
,
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in w ...
,
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
and
tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...
. One of the first, extremely important classical works of political philosophy is Plato's ''Republic'', which was followed by
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
's ''
Nicomachean Ethics The ''Nicomachean Ethics'' (; grc, Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, ) is the name normally given to 's best-known work on . The work, which plays a role in defining , consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be ...
'' and ''Politics''. Roman political philosophy was influenced by the
Stoics Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophyHellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy refers to the philosophy, philosophical thought and work of the Western world. Historically, the term refers to the ph ...
and the Roman statesman
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
.


Medieval Christianity


Saint Augustine

The early
Christian philosophy Christian philosophy includes all philosophy carried out by Christians, or in relation to the religion of Christianity. Christian philosophy emerged with the aim of reconcile science and faith, starting from natural rational explanations with ...
of
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo (; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Im ...

Augustine of Hippo
was heavily influenced by Plato. A key change brought about by Christian thought was the moderation of the
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, s ...
and theory of
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
of the Roman world, as well emphasis on the role of the state in applying
mercy Mercy (Middle English, from Anglo-Norman language, Anglo-French ''merci'', from Medieval Latin ''merced-'', ''merces'', from Latin, "price paid, wages", from ''merc-'', ''merxi'' "merchandise") is wikt:benevolence, benevolence, forgiveness, and ...

mercy
as a
moral example {{original research, date=January 2014 Moral example is trust in the moral core of another, a role model. It was cited by Confucius, Muhammad, Mohandas Gandhi and other important philosophers and theologians as the prime duty of a ruler - including ...
. Augustine also preached that one was not a member of his or her city, but was either a citizen of the
City of GodThe term City of God may refer to the unity between the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The term may also refer to: Places *Cidade de Deus (Osasco), the Banco Bradesco headquarters in Osasco, São Paulo, Brazil *C ...
(Civitas Dei) or the City of Man (
Civitas In the history of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , ma ...
Terrena). Augustine's ''
City of GodThe term City of God may refer to the unity between the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The term may also refer to: Places *Cidade de Deus (Osasco), the Banco Bradesco headquarters in Osasco, São Paulo, Brazil *C ...
'' is an influential work of this period that attacked the thesis, held by many Christian Romans, that the Christian view could be realized on
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
.


St. Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, ...

Thomas Aquinas
meticulously dealt with the varieties of
philosophy of law Philosophy of law is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, an ...
. According to Aquinas, there are four kinds of law: # Eternal law ("the divine government of everything") # Divine positive law (having been "posited" by God; external to human nature) #
Natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or ...
(the right way of living discoverable by natural reason; what cannot-not be known; internal to human nature) # Human law (what we commonly call "
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
"—including
customary law A legal custom is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting. A claim can be carried out in defense of "what has always been done and accepted by law". Customary law (also, consuetudina ...
; the law of the '' Communitas Perfecta'') Aquinas never discusses the nature or categorization of
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
. There is scholarly debate surrounding the place of canon law within the Thomistic jurisprudential framework. Aquinas was an incredibly influential thinker in the Natural Law tradition.


Islamic Political Evolution


Mutazilite vs. Asharite

The rise of
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
, based on both the
Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, God (''Allah''). It is widely rega ...

Qur'an
and
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
strongly altered the power balances and perceptions of origin of power in the Mediterranean region.
Early Islamic philosophy Early Islamic philosophy or classical Islamic philosophy is a period of intense philosophical development beginning in the 2nd century AH of the Islamic calendar (early 9th century Common Era, CE) and lasting until the 6th century AH (late 12th ce ...
emphasized an inexorable link between
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
, and the process of
ijtihad ''Ijtihad'' ( ar, اجتهاد ', ; lit. physical or mental ''effort'', expended in a particular activity) is an Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; si ...
to find
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

truth
—in effect ''all'' philosophy was "
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...
" as it had real implications for governance. This view was challenged by the "rationalist" Mutazilite philosophers, who held a more Hellenic view, reason above revelation, and as such are known to modern scholars as the first speculative theologians of Islam; they were supported by a secular aristocracy who sought freedom of action independent of the
Caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (; ar, خَلِيفَة ', ), a person considered a politico-religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad ...
. By the late ancient period, however, the "traditionalist"
Asharite Ash'arism or Ashʿari theology (; ar, أشعرية ''al-ʾAšʿarīyah'' or ''al-ʾAšāʿirah'') is the foremost theological school A seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, or divinity school is an educational institution for edu ...
view of Islam had in general triumphed. According to the Asharites, reason must be subordinate to the Quran and the Sunna. Islamic political philosophy, was, indeed, rooted in the very sources of
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
—i.e., the
Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, God (''Allah''). It is widely rega ...

Qur'an
and the
Sunnah In Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first ...
, the words and practices of Muhammad—thus making it essentially theocratic. However, in Western thought, it is generally supposed that it was a specific area peculiar merely to the great philosophers of Islam:
al-Kindi Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn ʼIsḥāq aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ al-Kindī (; ar, أبو يوسف يعقوب بن إسحاق الصبّاح الكندي; la, Alkindus; c. 801–873 AD) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَب ...
(Alkindus),
al-Farabi Abu Nasr Al-Farabi (; '; known in the West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-base ...

al-Farabi
(Abunaser), (Avicenna), Ibn Bajjah (Avempace) and
Ibn Rushd Ibn Rushd ( ar, ; full name 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows a structure typical for the Anglosphere, among others. Other cultures use other structures for full names. ...

Ibn Rushd
(Averroes). The political conceptions of Islam such as kudrah (power),
sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phone ...

sultan
,
ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental cou ...
, cemaa (obligation)-and even the "core" terms of the Qur'an—i.e.,
ibadah ''Ibadah'' ( ar, , ''‘ibādah'', also spelled ''ibada'') is an word meaning service or servitude. In , ''ibadah'' is usually translated as "worship", and ''ibadat''—the plural form of ''ibadah''—refers to Islamic jurisprudence (') of M ...
(worship), din (religion), rab (master) and
ilah ' ( ar, إله; plural: ') is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoff ...
(deity)—is taken as the basis of an analysis. Hence, not only the ideas of the Muslim political philosophers but also many other
jurists A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influence ...
and
ulama In Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the fir ...
posed political ideas and theories. For example, the ideas of the
Khawarij The Kharijites ( ar, الخوارج, ''al-Khawārij'', singular , ''khāriji''), also called the al-Shurat (Arabic: الشراة, ''al-Shurāt''), were an Islamic sect that appeared in the first century of Islam during the First Fitna, First Mu ...
in the very early years of
Islamic history The history of Islam concerns the political, social, economic and cultural developments of Muslim world, Islamic civilization. Most historians accept that Islam originated in Mecca and Medina at the start of the 7th century CE. Muslims regard Is ...
on
Khilafa A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (; ar, خَلِيفَة ', ), a person considered a politico-religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad a ...
and
Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental cou ...
, or that of
Shia Islam Shia Islam or Shi'ism is the second largest branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanis ...
on the concept of
ImamahThe term imamate or ''imamah'' ( ar, إمامة, ''imāmah'') means "leadership" and refers to the office of an ''imam'' or a state ruled by an ''imam''. Theology *Imamate, in Sunni doctrine the caliphate *Imamate in Shia doctrine, the doctrine of t ...
are considered proofs of political thought. The clashes between the Ehl-i Sunna and
Shia Shia Islam or Shi'ism is the second largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam. It holds that the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad in Islam, Muhammad designated Ali, Ali ibn Abi Talib as his Succession to Mu ...
in the 7th and 8th centuries had a genuine political character. Political thought was not purely rooted in theism, however. Aristotleanism flourished as the Islamic Golden Age saw rise to a continuation of the peripatetic philosophers who implemented the ideas of
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
in the context of the Islamic world. Abunaser, Avicenna and Ibn Rushd where part of this philosophical school who claimed that human reason surpassed mere coincidence and revelation. They believed, for example, that natural phenomena occur because of certain rules (made by god), not because god interfered directly (unlike Al-Ghazali and his followers). Other notable political philosophers of the time include
Nizam al-Mulk Abu Ali Hasan ibn Ali Tusi (April 10, 1018 – October 14, 1092), better known by his honorific title of Nizam al-Mulk ( fa, نظام‌الملک, , Order of the Realm) was a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, histori ...
, a Persian scholar and
vizier A vizier (; ar, وزير, wazīr; fa, وزیر, vazīr), or wazir, is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the near east. The caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' to a minister formerly called ' (secretary), who was at first merely a ...
of the Seljuq Empire who composed the ''
Siyasatnama ''Siyāsatnāmeh'' ( Persian: سياست نامه, "''Book of Politics''"), also known as ''Siyar al-mulûk'' (Arabic:سیرالملوك, i.e.: The Lives of Kings), is the most famous work by Nizam al-Mulk Abu Ali Hasan ibn Ali Tusi (April 10, 101 ...
'', or the "Book of Government" in English. In it, he details the role of the state in terms of political affairs (i.e. how to deal with political opponents without ruining the government's image), as well as its duty to protect the poor and reward the worthy. In his other work, he explains how the state should deal with other issues such as supplying jobs to immigrants like the
Turkmens Turkmens ( tk, , , , ; historically the Turkmen), also known as Turkmen Turks ( tk, , ), are a Turkic ethnic group native to Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongol ...
who were coming from the north (present day southern Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).


Ibn Khaldun

The 14th-century
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
scholar
Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun (; ar, أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي, ; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ...
is considered one of the greatest political theorists. The British philosopher-anthropologist
Ernest Gellner Ernest André Gellner FRAI (9 December 1925 – 5 November 1995) was a British-Czech philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as th ...

Ernest Gellner
considered Ibn Khaldun's definition of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...

government
, "...an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself," the best in the history of political theory. For Ibn Khaldun, government should be restrained to a minimum for as a necessary evil, it is the constraint of men by other men.


Medieval Europe

Medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

Medieval
political philosophy in Europe was heavily influenced by Christian thinking. It had much in common with the Mutazilite
Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
thinking in that the
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
s thought subordinating
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
to
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
did not subject reason to revelation but in the case of contradictions, subordinated reason to faith as the Asharite of Islam. The Scholastics by combining the philosophy of Aristotle with the Christianity of St. Augustine emphasized the potential harmony inherent in reason and revelation. Perhaps the most influential political philosopher of medieval Europe was St.
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, ...

Thomas Aquinas
who helped reintroduce
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
's works, which had only been transmitted to
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
Europe through
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
Spain, along with the commentaries of
Averroes Ibn Rushd ( ar, ; full name Image:FML names-2.png, 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows a structure typical for the Anglosphere, among others. Other cultures use other struc ...

Averroes
. Aquinas's use of them set the agenda, for scholastic political philosophy dominated European thought for centuries even unto the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
. Some medieval political philosophers, such as Aquinas in his ''
Summa Theologica The ''Summa Theologiae'' or ''Summa Theologica'' (), often referred to simply as the ''Summa'', is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) ...
'', developed the idea that a king who is a tyrant is no king at all and could be overthrown. Others, like
Nicole Oresme Nicole Oresme (; c. 1320–1325 – July 11, 1382), also known as Nicolas Oresme, Nicholas Oresme, or Nicolas d'Oresme, was a significant philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the g ...
in his '' Livre de Politiques'', categorically denied this right to overthrow an unjust ruler. The
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
, viewed by many as a cornerstone of Anglo-American political liberty, explicitly proposes the right to revolt against the ruler for justice's sake. Other documents similar to Magna Carta are found in other European countries such as Spain and Hungary.


European Renaissance

During the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
secular political philosophy began to emerge after about a century of theological political thought in Europe. While the Middle Ages did see secular politics in practice under the rule of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, the academic field was wholly scholastic and therefore Christian in nature.


Niccolò Machiavelli

One of the most influential works during this burgeoning period was
Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (; ; rarely rendered Nicholas Machiavel (see below See or SEE may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Music: ** See (album), ''See'' (album), studio album by rock band The Rascals *** "See", song by ...
's ''
The Prince ''The Prince'' ( it, Il Principe ; la, De Principatibus) is a 16th-century political treatise A treatise is a formal Formal, formality, informal or informality imply the complying with, or not complying with, some set theory, set of requirem ...
'', written between 1511–12 and published in 1532, after Machiavelli's death. That work, as well as '' The Discourses'', a rigorous analysis of
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
, did much to influence modern political thought in the West. A minority (including
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
) interpreted The Prince as a satire meant to be given to the Medici after their recapture of Florence and their subsequent expulsion of Machiavelli from Florence. Though the work was written for the di Medici family in order to perhaps influence them to free him from exile, Machiavelli supported the
Republic of Florence The Republic of Florence, officially the Florentine Republic ( it, Repubblica Fiorentina, , or ), was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organizati ...
rather than the
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in w ...
of the Medici family. At any rate, Machiavelli presents a pragmatism, pragmatic and somewhat consequentialist view of politics, whereby good and evil are mere means used to bring about an end—i.e., the acquisition and maintenance of absolute power. Thomas Hobbes, well known for his theory of the social contract, goes on to expand this view at the start of the 17th century during the English Renaissance. Although neither Machiavelli nor Hobbes believed in the divine right of kings, they both believed in the inherent selfishness of the individual. It was necessarily this belief that led them to adopt a strong central power as the only means of preventing the disintegration of the social order.


European Enlightenment

During the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment period, new theories emerged about what the human was and is and about the definition of reality and the way it was perceived, along with the discovery of other societies in the Americas, and the changing needs of political societies (especially in the wake of the English Civil War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Haitian Revolution). These new theories led to new questions and insights by such thinkers as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Benjamin Constant and
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
. These theorists were driven by two basic questions: one, by what right or need do people form states; and two, what the best form for a state could be. These fundamental questions involved a conceptual distinction between the concepts of "state" and "government." It was decided that "state" would refer to a set of enduring institutions through which power would be distributed and its use justified. The term "government" would refer to a specific group of people who occupied the institutions of the state, and create the laws and ordinances by which the people, themselves included, would be bound. This conceptual distinction continues to operate in
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of ...
, although some political scientists, philosophers, historians and cultural anthropology, cultural anthropologists have argued that most political action in any given society occurs outside of its state, and that there are societies that are not organized into states that nevertheless must be considered in political terms. As long as the concept of natural order (philosophy), natural order was not introduced, the social sciences could not evolve independently of theistic thinking. Since the cultural revolution of the 17th century in England, which spread to France and the rest of Europe, society has been considered subject to natural laws akin to the physical world. Political and economic relations were drastically influenced by these theories as the concept of the guild was subordinated to the theory of free trade, and
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
dominance of theology was increasingly challenged by Protestant churches subordinate to each nation-state, which also (in a fashion the Roman Catholic Church often decried angrily) preached in the vulgar or native language of each region. Free trade, as opposed to these religious theories, is a trade policy that does not restrict imports or exports. It can also be understood as the free market idea applied to international trade. In government, free trade is predominantly advocated by political parties that hold liberal economic positions while economically left-wing and nationalist political parties generally support protectionism, the opposite of free trade. However, the enlightenment was an outright attack on religion, particularly Christianity. The most outspoken critic of the church in France was François Marie Arouet de Voltaire, a representative figure of the enlightenment. Historians have described Voltaire's description of the history of Christianity as "propagandistic".Voltaire is partially responsible for the misattribution of the expression Credo quia absurdum to the Church Fathers. In a letter to Frederick II, King of Prussia, dated 5 January 1767, he wrote about Christianity: La nôtre [religion] est sans contredit la plus ridicule, la plus absurde, et la plus sanguinaire qui ait jamais infecté le monde. "Ours [i.e., the Christian religion] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world. Your Majesty will do the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition, I do not say among the rabble, who are not worthy of being enlightened and who are apt for every yoke; I say among honest people, among men who think, among those who wish to think. ... My one regret in dying is that I cannot aid you in this noble enterprise, the finest and most respectable which the human mind can point out." After Voltaire, religion would never be the same again in France. As well, there was no spread of this doctrine within the New World and the advanced civilizations of the Aztec, Maya civilization, Maya, Inca, Mohican, Delaware, Wyandot people, Huron and especially the Iroquois. The Iroquois philosophy, in particular, gave much to Christian thought of the time and in many cases actually inspired some of the institutions adopted in the United States: for example, Benjamin Franklin was a great admirer of some of the methods of the Iroquois Confederacy, and much of early American literature emphasized the political philosophy of the natives. The Iroquois (/ˈɪrəkwɔɪ/ or /ˈɪrəkwɑː/) or Haudenosaunee are a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy in North America. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, and later as the Iroquois Confederacy, and to the English as the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. After 1722, they accepted the Tuscarora people from the Southeast into their confederacy, as they were also Iroquoian-speaking, and became known as the Six Nations.


John Locke

John Locke in particular exemplified this new age of political theory with his work ''Two Treatises of Government''. In it Locke proposes a state of nature theory that directly complements his conception of how political development occurs and how it can be founded through contractual obligation. Locke stood to refute Sir Robert Filmer's paternally founded political theory in favor of a natural system based on nature in a particular given system. The theory of the divine right of kings became a passing fancy, exposed to the type of ridicule with which John Locke treated it. Unlike Machiavelli and Hobbes but like Aquinas, Locke would accept Aristotle's dictum that man seeks to be happy in a state of social harmony as a social animal. Unlike Aquinas's preponderant view on the salvation of the soul from original sin, Locke believes man's mind comes into this world as tabula rasa. For Locke, knowledge is neither innate, revealed nor based on authority but subject to uncertainty tempered by reason, tolerance and moderation. According to Locke, an absolute ruler as proposed by Hobbes is unnecessary, for natural law is based on reason and seeking peace and survival for man.


John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill's work on political philosophy begins in ''On Liberty, On Liberty'' is the most influential statement of his liberal principles. He begins by distinguishing old and new threats to liberty. The old threat to liberty is found in traditional societies in which there is rule by one (a monarchy) or a few (an aristocracy). Though one could be worried about restrictions on liberty by benevolent monarchs or aristocrats, the traditional worry is that when rulers are politically unaccountable to the governed they will rule in their own interests, rather than the interests of the governed. Mill's explicit theory of rights is introduced in Chapter V of Utilitarianism in the context of his sanction theory of duty, which is an indirect form of utilitarianism that identifies wrong actions as actions that it is useful to sanction. Mill then introduces justice as a proper part of the duty. Justice involves duties that are perfect duties—that is, duties that are correlated with rights. Justice implies something which it is not only right to do, and wrong not to do, but which some individual person can claim from us as a matter of right. These perfect duties will thus create liberty and collective freedom within a state. He uses, ''On Liberty'' to discuss gender equality in society. To Mill, Utilitarianism was the perfect tool to justify gender equality in The Subjection of Women, referring to the political, lawful and social subjection of women. When a woman was married, she entered legally binding coverture with her husband; once she married her legal existence as an individual was suspended under "marital unity". While it is easy to presume that a woman would not marry under these circumstances, being unmarried had social consequences. A woman could only advance in social stature and wealth if she had a rich husband to do the groundwork. Mill uses his Utilitarian ethics to assess how gender equality would be the best way to achieve "the greatest good for the greatest number" : "The principle that regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes … and is now one of the chief obstacles to human improvement…" The ‘chief obstacle’ to Mill relates to women's intellectual capability. The Subjection of Women looks at this in the women of society and argues that diminishing their intellectual potential wastes the knowledge and skill of half of the population; such knowledge lost could formulate ideas that could maximize pleasure for society.


Benjamin Constant

One of the first thinkers to go by the name of "liberal", Constant looked to Britain rather than to ancient Rome for a practical model of freedom in a large, commercial society. He drew a distinction between the "Liberty of the Ancients" and the "Liberty of the Moderns". The Liberty of the Ancients was participatory republican liberty, which gave the citizens the right to directly influence politics through debates and votes in the public assembly. In order to support this degree of participation, citizenship was a burdensome moral obligation requiring a considerable investment of time and energy. Generally, this required a sub-society of slaves to do much of the productive work, leaving the citizens free to deliberate on public affairs. Ancient Liberty was also limited to relatively small and homogenous societies, in which the people could be conveniently gathered together in one place to transact public affairs. The Liberty of the Moderns, in contrast, was based on the possession of civil liberties, the rule of law, and freedom from excessive state interference. Direct participation would be limited: a necessary consequence of the size of modern states, and also the inevitable result of having created a commercial society in which there are no slaves but almost everybody must earn a living through work. Instead, the voters would elect representatives, who would deliberate in Parliament on behalf of the people and would save citizens from the necessity of daily political involvement. Moreover, Constant believed that, in the modern world, commerce was superior to war. He attacked Napoleon's martial appetite, on the grounds that it was illiberal and no longer suited to modern commercial social organization. Ancient Liberty tended to be warlike, whereas a state organized on the principles of Modern Liberty would be at peace with all peaceful nations.


Thomas Hobbes

The main practical conclusion of Hobbes' political theory is that state or society can not be secure unless at the disposal of an absolute sovereign. From this follows the view that no individual can hold rights of property against the sovereign, and that the sovereign may therefore take the goods of its subjects without their consent. In Leviathan, Hobbes set out his doctrine of the foundation of states and legitimate governments and creating an objective science of morality. Much of the book is occupied with demonstrating the necessity of a strong central authority to avoid the evil of discord and civil war. Beginning from a mechanistic understanding of human beings and their passions, Hobbes postulates what life would be like without government, a condition which he calls the state of nature. In that state, each person would have a right, or license, to everything in the world. This, Hobbes argues, would lead to a "war of all against all".


Jean-Jacques Rousseau

''The Social Contract'' outlines the basis for a legitimate political order within a framework of classical republicanism. Published in 1762, it became one of the most influential works of political philosophy in the Western tradition. It developed some of the ideas mentioned in earlier work, the article Économie Politique (Discourse on Political Economy), featured in Diderot's Encyclopédie. The treatise begins with the dramatic opening lines, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they." Rousseau claimed that the state of nature was a primitive condition without law or morality, which human beings left for the benefits and necessity of cooperation. As society developed, the division of labor and private property required the human race to adopt institutions of law. In the degenerate phase of society, man is prone to be in frequent competition with his fellow men while also becoming increasingly dependent on them. This double pressure threatens both his survival and his freedom.


Industrialization and the modern era

The Karl Marx, Marxist critique of capitalism—developed with Friedrich Engels—was, alongside liberalism and fascism, one of the defining ideological movements of the twentieth century. The industrial revolution produced a parallel revolution in political thought. Urbanization and capitalism greatly reshaped society. During this same period, the History of Socialism, socialist movement began to form. In the mid-19th century, Marxism was developed, and socialism in general gained increasing popular support, mostly from the urban working class. Without breaking entirely from the past, Marx established principles that would be used by future revolutionaries of the 20th century namely Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro. Though Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hegel's philosophy of history is similar to Immanuel Kant's, and Karl Marx's theory of revolution towards the common good is partly based on Kant's view of history—Marx declared that he was turning Hegel's dialectic, which was "standing on its head", "the right side up again". Unlike Marx who believed in historical materialism, Hegel believed in the ''Phenomenology of Spirit''. By the late 19th century, socialism and trade unions were established members of the political landscape. In addition, the various branches of
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
, with thinkers such as Mikhail Bakunin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon or Peter Kropotkin, and syndicalism also gained some prominence. In the Anglo-American world, anti-imperialism and pluralism (political philosophy), pluralism began gaining currency at the turn of the 20th century. World War I was a watershed event in human history, changing views of governments and politics. The Russian Revolution of 1917 (and similar, albeit less successful, revolutions in many other European countries) brought
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communism
—and in particular the political theory of Leninism, but also on a smaller level Luxemburgism (gradually)—on the world stage. At the same time, social democracy, social democratic parties won elections and formed governments for the first time, often as a result of the introduction of universal suffrage.


Contemporary

From the end of World War II until 1971, when John Rawls published ''A Theory of Justice'', political philosophy declined in the Anglo-American academic world, as analytic philosophers expressed skepticism about the possibility that normative judgments had cognitive content, and political science turned toward statistical methods and behavioralism. In continental Europe, on the other hand, the postwar decades saw a huge blossoming of political philosophy, with Marxism dominating the field. This was the time of Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser; and the victories of Mao Zedong in China and Fidel Castro in Cuba, as well as the events of May 1968, led to increased interest in revolutionary ideology, especially by the New Left. A number of continental European émigrés to Britain and the United States—including Karl Popper, Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, Eric Voegelin and Judith Shklar—encouraged continued study in political philosophy in the Anglo-American world, but in the 1950s and 1960s, they and their students remained at odds with the analytic establishment. Communism remained an important focus especially during the 1950s and 1960s. Colonialism and racism were important issues that arose. In general, there was a marked trend towards a pragmatism, pragmatic approach to political issues, rather than a philosophical one. Much academic debate regarded one or both of two pragmatic topics: how (or whether) to apply utilitarianism to problems of political policy, or how (or whether) to apply economic models (such as rational choice theory) to political issues. The rise of feminism, LGBT social movements and the end of colonial rule and of the political exclusion of such minorities as African Americans and sexual minorities in the developed world has led to feminist, postcolonial, and multicultural thought becoming significant. This led to a challenge to the social contract by philosophers Charles W. Mills in his book ''The Racial Contract'' and Carole Pateman in her book ''The Sexual Contract'' that the social contract excluded persons of colour and women respectively. In Anglo-American academic political philosophy, the publication of John Rawls's ''A Theory of Justice'' in 1971 is considered a milestone. Rawls used a thought experiment, the original position, in which representative parties choose principles of justice for the basic structure of society from behind a veil of ignorance. Rawls also offered a criticism of utilitarian approaches to questions of political justice. Robert Nozick's 1974 book ''Anarchy, State, and Utopia'', which won a National Book Award, responded to Rawls from a libertarianism, libertarian perspective and gained academic respectability for libertarian viewpoints. Contemporaneously with the rise of analytic ethics in Anglo-American thought, in Europe, several new lines of philosophy directed at the critique of existing societies arose between the 1950s and 1980s. Most of these took elements of Marxist economic analysis but combined them with a more cultural or ideological emphasis. Out of the Frankfurt School, thinkers like Herbert Marcuse, Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Jürgen Habermas combined Marxian and Freudian perspectives. Along somewhat different lines, a number of other continental thinkers—still largely influenced by Marxism—put new emphases on structuralism and on a "return to Hegel". Within the (post-) structuralist line (though mostly not taking that label) are thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Claude Lefort, and Jean Baudrillard. The Situationist International, Situationists were more influenced by Hegel; Guy Debord, in particular, moved a Marxist analysis of commodity fetishism to the realm of consumption, and looked at the relation between consumerism and dominant ideology formation. Another debate developed around the (distinct) criticisms of liberal political theory made by Michael Walzer, Michael Sandel and Charles Taylor (philosopher), Charles Taylor. The Liberalism, liberal-communitarian debate is often considered valuable for generating a new set of philosophical problems, rather than a profound and illuminating clash of perspective. These and other communitarians (such as Alasdair MacIntyre and Daniel A. Bell) argue that, contra liberalism, communities are prior to individuals and therefore should be the center of political focus. Communitarians tend to support greater local control as well as economic and social policies which encourage the growth of social capital. A prominent subject in recent political philosophy is the theory of deliberative democracy. The seminal work was done by Jurgen Habermas in Germany, but the most extensive literature has been in English, led by theorists such as Jane Mansbridge, Joshua Cohen, Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson. A pair of overlapping political perspectives arising toward the end of the 20th century are republicanism (or neo- or civic-republicanism) and the capability approach. The resurgent republican movement aims to provide an alternate definition of liberty from Isaiah Berlin's positive and negative forms of liberty, namely "liberty as non-domination." Unlike the American liberal movement which understands liberty as "non-interference," "non-domination" entails individuals not being subject to the arbitrary will of any other person. To a republican the mere status as a slave, regardless of how that slave is treated, is objectionable. Prominent republicans include historian Quentin Skinner, jurist Cass Sunstein, and political philosopher Philip Pettit. The capability approach, pioneered by economists Mahbub ul Haq and Amartya Sen and further developed by legal scholar Martha Nussbaum, understands freedom under allied lines: the real-world ability to act. Both the capability approach and republicanism treat choice as something which must be resourced. In other words, it is not enough to be legally able to do something, but to have the real option of doing it. Another important strand of contemporary political theory in North America draws on thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze, among others, to develop critiques and articulate alternatives to the sufficiency of the Liberalism, liberal-Communitarianism, communitarian debate and republicanism discourse. Since the 1990s, these political theorists, broadly engaging the "Genealogy (philosophy), genealogical approach", "deconstruction", and Weak ontology (political concept), "weak ontology", have expanded the scope of political theory and issued a variety of arguments on topics such as Pluralism (political philosophy), pluralism, agonism, Performativity, gender performativity, secularism, and more recently the Anthropocene and the non-human turn. The works of Judith Butler, William E. Connolly, Wendy Brown (political theorist), Wendy Brown, Jane Bennett (political theorist), Jane Bennett, Bonnie Honig and Chantal Mouffe have been highly pertinent in this regard.


Influential political philosophers

A larger list of political philosophers is intended to be closer to exhaustive. Listed below are some of the most Archetype, canonical or important thinkers, and especially philosophers whose central focus was in political philosophy and/or who are good representatives of a particular school of thought. *
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, ...

Thomas Aquinas
: In synthesizing Christian theology and Peripatetic (Aristotelian) teaching in his ''Treatise on Law'', Aquinas contends that God's gift of higher reason—manifest in human law by way of the divine virtues—gives way to the assembly of righteous government. *
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
: Wrote his ''Politics (Aristotle), Politics'' as an extension of his ''
Nicomachean Ethics The ''Nicomachean Ethics'' (; grc, Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, ) is the name normally given to 's best-known work on . The work, which plays a role in defining , consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be ...
''. Notable for the theories that humans are social animals, and that the polis (Ancient Greek city state) existed to bring about the good life appropriate to such animals. His political theory is based upon an ethics of perfectionism (philosophy), perfectionism (as is Marx's, on some readings). * Mikhail Bakunin: After Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Bakunin became the most important political philosopher of
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
. His specific version of anarchism is called collectivist anarchism. * Jeremy Bentham: The first thinker to analyze social justice in terms of maximization of aggregate individual benefits. Founded the philosophical/ethical school of thought known as utilitarianism. * Isaiah Berlin: Developed the distinction between positive and negative liberty. * Edmund Burke: Irish member of the British parliament, Burke is credited with the creation of Conservatism, conservative thought. Burke's ''Reflections on the Revolution in France'' is the most popular of his writings where he denounced the French revolution. Burke was one of the biggest supporters of the American Revolution. *
Chanakya Chanakya (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is bas ...

Chanakya
: Wrote influential text
Arthashastra The ''Arthaśāstra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्र, ) is an ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 ye ...

Arthashastra
, some of earliest political thinkers in Asian history. * Noam Chomsky: He is widely recognized as having helped to spark the cognitive revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind. Chomsky is a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media. His ideas have proven highly influential in the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements, and aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. *
Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; ) was a Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), ...

Confucius
: The first thinker to relate ethics to the political order. * William E. Connolly: Helped introduce postmodern philosophy into political theory, and promoted new theories of Pluralism (political philosophy), Pluralism and agonistic democracy. * John Dewey: Co-founder of pragmatism and analyzed the essential role of education in the maintenance of democratic government. * Han Feizi: The major figure of the Chinese Fajia (Legalism (Chinese philosophy), Legalist) school, advocated government that adhered to laws and a strict method of administration. * Michel Foucault: Critiqued the modern conception of power on the basis of the prison–industrial complex, prison complex and other prohibitive institutions, such as those that designate sexuality, madness and knowledge as the roots of their infrastructure, a critique that demonstrated that subjection is the power formation of subjects in any linguistic forum and that revolution cannot just be thought as the reversal of power between classes. * Antonio Gramsci: Instigated the concept of ''hegemony''. Argued that the Sovereign state, state and the ruling class use culture and ideology to gain the consent of the classes they rule over. * Thomas Hill Green: Modern liberal thinker and early supporter of positive freedom. * Jürgen Habermas: Contemporary democratic theorist and sociologist. He has pioneered such concepts as the public sphere, communicative action, and deliberative democracy. His early work was heavily influenced by the Frankfurt School. * Friedrich Hayek: He argued that central planning was inefficient because members of central bodies could not know enough to match the preferences of consumers and workers with existing conditions. Hayek further argued that command economy, central economic planning—a mainstay of socialism—would lead to a "total" state with dangerous power. He advocated free-market capitalism in which the main role of the state is to maintain the rule of law and let spontaneous order develop. * G. W. F. Hegel: Emphasized the "cunning" of history, arguing that it followed a rational trajectory, even while embodying seemingly irrational forces; influenced Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Michael Oakeshott, Oakeshott. * Thomas Hobbes: Generally considered to have first articulated how the concept of a social contract that justifies the actions of rulers (even where contrary to the individual desires of governed citizens), can be reconciled with a conception of sovereignty. * David Hume: Hume criticized the social contract theory of John Locke and others as resting on a myth of some actual agreement. Hume was a realist in recognizing the role of force to forge the existence of states and that consent of the governed was merely hypothetical. He also introduced the concept of utility, later picked up on and developed by Jeremy Bentham. Hume also coined the 'is/ought' problem i.e. the idea that just because something is does not mean that is how it ought to be. This was very influential on normative politics * Thomas Jefferson: Politician and political theorist during the American Enlightenment. Expanded on the philosophy of Thomas Paine by instrumenting republicanism in the United States. Most famous for the United States Declaration of Independence. * Immanuel Kant: Argued that participation in civil society is undertaken not for self-preservation, as per Hobbes, Thomas Hobbes, but as a moral duty. First modern thinker who fully analyzed structure and meaning of obligation. Argued that an international organization was needed to preserve world peace. * Peter Kropotkin: One of the classic anarchist thinkers and the most influential theorist of anarcho-communism. * John Locke: Like Hobbes, described a social contract theory based on citizens' fundamental rights in the state of nature. He departed from Hobbes in that, based on the assumption of a society in which moral values are independent of governmental authority and widely shared, he argued for a government with power limited to the protection of personal property. His arguments may have been deeply influential to the formation of the United States Constitution. * György Lukács: Hungarian Marxist theorist, aesthetician, literary historian, and critic. One of the founders of Western Marxism. In his ''magnum opus'' ''History and Class Consciousness'', he developed the Marxist theory of class consciousness and introduced the concept of "Reification (Marxism), reification". *
Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (; ; rarely rendered Nicholas Machiavel (see below See or SEE may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Music: ** See (album), ''See'' (album), studio album by rock band The Rascals *** "See", song by ...
: First systematic analysis of how politics necessitates expedient and evil actions. Gave an account of statecraft in a realistic point of view instead of relying on idealism. Machiavelli also relays recommendations on how to run a well ordered Republicanism, republican state, as he viewed them to be better forms of government than autocracies. * James Madison: American politician and protege of Jefferson considered to be "Father of the United States Constitution, Constitution" and "Father of the United States Bill of Rights, Bill of Rights" of the United States. As a political theorist, he believed in separation of powers and proposed a comprehensive set of Separation of powers#Checks and balances, checks and balances that are necessary to protect the rights of an individual from the tyranny of the majority. * Herbert Marcuse: Called the father of the new left. One of the principal thinkers within the Frankfurt School, and generally important in efforts to fuse the thought of Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx. Introduced the concept of "repressive desublimation", in which social control can operate not only by direct control, but also by manipulation of desire. His work Eros and Civilization and notion of a non-repressive society was influential on the 1960s and its counter-cultural social movements. * Karl Marx: In large part, added the historical dimension to an understanding of society, culture and economics. Created the concept of ''ideology'' in the sense of (true or false) beliefs that shape and control social actions. Analyzed the fundamental nature of class as a mechanism of governance and social interaction. Profoundly influenced world politics with his theory of communism. *
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mengzi (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucian , Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's R ...

Mencius
: One of the most important thinkers in the Confucian school, he is the first theorist to make a coherent argument for an obligation of rulers to the ruled. * John Stuart Mill: A utilitarian, and the person who named the system; he goes further than Bentham by laying the foundation for liberal democratic thought in general and modern, as opposed to classical, liberalism in particular. Articulated the place of individual liberty in an otherwise utilitarian framework. * Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Montesquieu: Analyzed protection of the people by a "balance of powers" in the divisions of a state. *
Mozi Mozi (; ; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to r ...

Mozi
: Eponymous founder of the Mohist school, advocated a form of Mohist consequentialism, consequentialism. * Friedrich Nietzsche: Philosopher who became a powerful influence on a broad spectrum of 20th-century political currents in Marxism,
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
, fascism, socialism, libertarianism, and conservatism. His interpreters have debated the content of his political philosophy. * Robert Nozick: Criticized Rawls, and argued for libertarianism, by appeal to a hypothetical history of the State (polity), state and of
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to , alter, , , , , , , , or ...
. * Thomas Paine: Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment writer who defended liberal democracy, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution in ''Common Sense (pamphlet), Common Sense'' and The ''Rights of Man''. *
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
: Wrote a lengthy dialog ''The Republic (Plato), The Republic'' in which he laid out his political philosophy: citizens should be divided into three categories. One category of people are the rulers: they should be philosophers, according to Plato, this idea is based on his Theory of Forms. * Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: Commonly considered the father of modern
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
, specifically Mutualism (economic theory), mutualism. * Ayn Rand: Founder of Objectivism and prime mover of the Objectivist and Libertarian movements in mid-twentieth-century America. Advocated a complete, laissez-faire capitalism. Rand held that the proper role of government was exclusively the protection of individual rights without economic interference. The government was to be separated from economics the same way and for the same reasons it was separated from religion. Any governmental action not directed at the defense of individual rights would constitute the initiation of force (or threat of force), and therefore a violation not only of rights but also of the legitimate function of government. *John Rawls: Revitalized the study of normative political philosophy in Anglo-American universities with his 1971 book A Theory of Justice, which uses a version of social contract theory to answer fundamental questions about
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
and to criticise utilitarianism. * Murray Rothbard: The central theorist of anarcho-capitalism and an Austrian School economist. *
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
: Analyzed the social contract as an expression of the general will, and controversially argued in favor of absolute
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
where the people at large would act as Sovereignty, sovereign. *Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar: Known for the socio-economic and political philosophy Progressive Utilization Theory. * Carl Schmitt: German political theorist, tied to the Nazis, who developed the concepts of the Friend/Enemy Distinction and the State of exception. Though his most influential books were written in the 1920s, he continued to write prolifically until his death (in academic quasi-exile) in 1985. He heavily influenced 20th-century political philosophy both within the Frankfurt School and among others, not all of whom are philosophers, such as Jacques Derrida, Hannah Arendt, and Giorgio Agamben. * Adam Smith: Often said to have founded modern
economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a bran ...

economics
; explained emergence of economic benefits from the self-interested behavior ("the invisible hand") of artisans and traders. While praising its efficiency, Smith also expressed concern about the effects of industrial labor (e.g., repetitive activity) on workers. His work on moral sentiments sought to explain social bonds which enhance economic activity. * Socrates: Widely considered the founder of Western political philosophy, via his spoken influence on Athenian contemporaries; since Socrates never wrote anything, much of what we know about him and his teachings comes through his most famous student, Plato. * Baruch Spinoza: Set forth the first analysis of ''rational egoism'', in which the rational interest of self is conformance with pure reason. To Spinoza's thinking, in a society in which each individual is guided by reason, political authority would be superfluous. * Max Stirner: Important thinker within
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
and the main representative of the anarchist current known as individualist anarchism. He was also the founder of ethical egoism which endorses anarchy.Hospers, John (1973). Rule-Egoism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 54 (4):391. * Leo Strauss: Famously rejected modernity, mostly on the grounds of what he perceived to be modern political philosophy's excessive self-sufficiency of reason and flawed philosophical grounds for moral and political normativity. He argued instead we should return to pre-modern thinkers for answers to contemporary issues. His philosophy was influential on the formation of neoconservatism, and a number of his students later were members of the Presidency of George W. Bush, Bush administration. * Henry David Thoreau: Influential American thinker on such diverse later political positions and topics such as pacifism,
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
, environmentalism and civil disobedience who influenced later important political activists such as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. * Alexis de Tocqueville: A French political scientist and diplomat, known for his works ''Democracy in America'' and ''The Old Regime and the Revolution''. * Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire): French Enlightenment writer, poet, and philosopher famous for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. * Bernard Williams: A British moral philosopher whose posthumously published work on political philosophy ''In the Beginning was the Deed'' has been seen—along with the works of Raymond Geuss—as a key foundational work on political realism.


See also

* Anarchist schools of thought * Consensus decision-making * Consequentialist justifications of the state * Critical theory * Engaged theory * Justification for the state * Majoritarianism * Panarchy * Philosophy of law * Political journalism * Political spectrum * Political Theory (journal), ''Political Theory'' * Post-structuralism * Progressivism * Rechtsstaat * Rule according to higher law * Semiotics of culture * Theodemocracy


References


Further reading

* Academic journals dedicated to political philosophy include: ''Political Theory'', ''Philosophy and Public Affairs'', ''Contemporary Political Theory'', ''Theory & Event'', ''Constellations (journal), Constellations'', and ''Journal of Political Philosophy'' * * * * * *
London Philosophy Study Guide
offers many suggestions on what to read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject

* * Alexander F. Tsvirkun 2008. ''History of political and legal Teachings of Ukraine''. Kharkiv. * Bielskis, Andrius 2005. ''Towards a Postmodern Understanding of the Political''. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. * Eric Nelson,
The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought
' (Harvard University Press, 2010) * *


External links

* * * * Video lectures (require Adobe Flash)
Introduction to Political Philosophy
delivered by Steven B. Smith (professor), Steven B Smith of Yale University and provided by Academic Earth. {{Authority control Political philosophy, Politics Philosophy of social science Social philosophy Political theories,