READ & DOWNLOAD è On Politics A History of Political Thought From Herodotus to the Present

  • Hardcover
  • 1152
  • On Politics A History of Political Thought From Herodotus to the Present
  • Alan Ryan
  • English
  • 03 December 2018
  • 9780871404657

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Alan Ryan ✓ 1 READ & DOWNLOAD

On Politics A History of Political Thought From Herodotus to the Present

Both a history and an examination of human thought and behavior spanning three thousand years On Politics thrillingly traces the origins of political philosophy from the ancient Greeks to Machiavelli in Book I and from Hobbes to the present age in Book II Whether examining Lord Acton’s dictum that “absolute p Talk about bad timing Ryan has obviously been writing this book for years now and had it been released in say 2007 it would have seemed perfectly sensible It's important to discuss political ideas to think about how we rule and are ruled and from where we get our assumptions But with the world economy in a never ending tailspin massive unemployment in most developed economies and faltering investment rates in developing ones a very real resurgence of class warfare and ludicrous ideology on both sides of the political spectrum it's than a bit galling to have a tenured professor explain to you in patient lucid prose that young people are very well euipped to deal with labor market flexibility or that liberal capitalism works really well because this is not an exaggeration he really uses this as his example contemplative people can become long distance truck drivers and have time to think and venture into their imagination In between presumably ingesting massive amounts of speed and barely sleeping while they try to make impossible deadlines that are demanded by their employers So Ryan has a very bad case of ivorytoweritis but then so do I which I will now prove This text is at its most disturbing not when he's skimming over the ancient and medieval theorists not when he's ignoring the historical conditions that give rise to political theories in the first place not when he gives John Locke a free pass for his execrable arguments nor when he fails to understand Hobbes and not even when he purports to write about Marx without writing about you know 'Capital' It's at its worst when it ignores the fact that the vast majority of important 'political' thought since at least Marx probably since Rousseau and possibly since Montesuieu has focused on social cultural and economic matters instead of procedural and institutional matters This is a contentious claim and maybe Ryan like Straussians and other political science types wants to insist on the continuing importance of 'the political' But he doesn't do that he just ignores political economy cultural criticism and social thought except when he's complaining that leftist cultural critics are exaggerating viz the aforementioned happiness of the long distance truck driver and the joys of the flexible new economy It's no surprise that he doesn't understand the Frankfurt School; it is a surprise that he seems to like fascists eg Schmitt and Gentile than the left liberals who following Toueville point out that a population's s matter sorry about that than the political organization that is set up around those s and that our s today are destroying the planet For Ryan social criticism is a kind of disease that leads evil people to complain about the greatest system ever set up to deal with human conflict liberal capitalist democracy of the kind under which most of us no longer labor Had he put off publishing this book for a few years I like to think he would have changed his mind about that But then professors who retire from Princeton to Oxford and then to private life probably weathered the great recession pretty wellAn extra star for the book design which is crazy sexy


Ower corrupts absolutely” or explicating John Stuart Mill’s contention that it is “better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied” Alan Ryan evokes the lives and minds of our greatest thinkers in a way that makes reading about them a transcendent experience Whether writing about Plato or Augustine Ancient Greece which is known as the cradle of western democracy what a pity was not democratic Neither Plato nor Aristotle were democrats Those who had the right to carry out politics were free male property owner citizens Slaves foreigners and Children did not have the right to take part in the rule of the city states Plato had always wanted the ruler to be king philosopher In his mind there was an aristocratic state which was hierarchical Rational thinking rulers would be at the top of the hierarchy which he believed to have symbolized reason For Aristotle the only life worth living was the life of citizenry Citizens were virtuous rational and moral entities He suggested that there was not a life without politics Only beasts and God needn't it Because beasts had not will or reason and God was self sufficient The purpose of the politics was common good in pursuit of happiness in accordance with reason for the citizens Even though Plato paved the way for politics His state theory was anti politics Because his political formation excluded many from political life For Aristotle where there is no politics there is no human will and common decision making with regard to public Functionality of Plato's state was based on good intention If king does not have good intentions the system can not survive Aristotle's political theory is reductionist since it is the manifestation of his analysis of natural world

SUMMARY On Politics A History of Political Thought From Herodotus to the Present

De Toueville or Thomas Jefferson Ryan brings a wisdom to his text that illuminates John Dewey’s belief that the role of philosophy is less to see truth than to enhance experience With this unparalleled tour de force Ryan emerges in his own right as one of the most influential political philosophers of our time The thing I liked about most of the book is that it was easy to read and comprehensive It obviously does have flaws though or else I wouldn't have given it such a low rating The author often gets lost in his thoughts and views the theories and societies of the past through the modern liberal lens which means that the book comes down to being about the development of democratic thought in the West which is not what the book is supposed to be about Since that is the topic of the book he often interprets thinkers and political systems in a way that emphasises their liberal democratic aspects too much or even just spreads myths and half truths It can go the other way too he can misinterpret a thinker to discredit him and be biased all the way through an example of this that particularly frustrated me was Plato Further Ryan tries to justify his way of writing by saying that if the populous isn't actively involved in government the state isn't political there may be ruling or management he says but not politics This is frustrating not just because it's not true and is a lame excuse for his bias but also because he openly uses it to discredit any political thought outside of the West as not really political and not developed enough save from maybe some exceptions I understand that the book is long enough as it is and that covering the traditions ideas and political systems of all the cultures on the world is practically impossible but the excuse he uses is so derogative and lazy that it is kind of disgusting It also comes to bite him in the ass once he needs to write about the middle ages an age when Europe came to be ruled by feudal monarchies the Church had great influence through both its spiritual and material strength and political systems were active in the East This makes him limited in the second part of Book One and his hypocrisy comes closer to the surface However the part that immediately follows the first part of Book Two is when he shines since concerning that period following the development of democratic thought only makes sense the political systems discussed there are closer to home and therefore easier to discuss regardless of which way in the current a particular thinker prefers If I was to rate only that uarter of the book I would have given it four stars It's too bad that the last uarter completely ruins Book Two as well as it is reserved for general topics which then develops into incoherent rambling with no restraint on bias

About the Author: Alan Ryan

Alan James Ryan.