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By Peter L. Phillips Simpson

The Politics, Aristotle's vintage paintings at the nature of political group, has been a touchstone of Western debates approximately society and govt. during this quantity, Peter Simpson provides an entire philosophical observation at the Politics, an research of the logical constitution of the whole textual content and every of its constitutive arguments and conclusions. not like different modern works at the Politics, Simpson's philosophical statement isn't really, shop by the way, a dialogue of philological and ancient questions, a speculative elaboration of Aristotle's arguments, or a comparability of the philosopher's rules with these of different old and smooth theorists. Such remedies, argues Simpson, has to be grounded in a radical realizing of the philosophical content material of the work--a aspect that underscores the necessity for this thorough and exact research. Keyed to the traditional Greek textual content in addition to to Simpson's personal cutting edge translation of it (UNC Press, 1997), this e-book will stand as a invaluable statement at the philosophical argument within the Politics and should function a legitimate foundation for destiny examine of Aristotle's political suggestion.

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Sample text

The homage that both Fichte and Hegel pay to Machiavelli shows that they were aware, prior to Marx’s “Theses on Feuerbach,” that philosophy can and should become practical. Although they both admired the manner in which Machiavelli used his voice to speak to his political audience, they each developed the lessons taught by his example in a different way. Unfortunately, neither Fichte nor Marx took Machiavelli’s recommendation for “calm and moderation” seriously enough, although perhaps Hegel did so in his more mature (and un-Machiavellian) works.

Kant’s claims about universal consent as the touchstone of both truth and justice—a claim I will unpack in the next two Chapters—can be traced back to Rousseau’s claims, in The Social Contract, about the volonté générale. After Kant, there were further developments of Rousseauian themes. Fichte’s explicit consideration of the problem of the origin of language finds its source in Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Hegel’s social ethics of Sittlichkeit is prefigured in Rousseau’s discussion, in the Discourse, of the developmental progress of languages and mores from family life to local societies and on to nations.

22 Both Fichte and Hegel asked for a more nuanced response to Machiavelli, one which recognized the peculiarities of Machiavelli’s historical task and the type of voice and language with which he spoke. In their reflections upon Machiavelli, they ask the historian of philosophy to be aware of the real historical quality of the philosopher’s voice and to locate it historically as a form of address. , a nation in disarray that needed a strong hand to bring about national unity. Fichte and Hegel both seemed to realize the need for a German Machiavelli—a philosopher who would address political affairs in order to inspire action.

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