By W. T. Jones, Robert J. Fogelin

A background OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY examines the character of philosophical firm and philosophy's function in Western tradition. Jones and Fogelin weave key passages from vintage philosophy works into their reviews and criticisms, giving A background OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY the mixed merits of a resource booklet and textbook. The textual content concentrates on significant figures in every one historic interval, combining exposition with direct quotations from the philosophers themselves. The textual content locations philosophers in applicable cultural context and indicates how their theories replicate the worries in their occasions.

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Two of the most important of these are the closely connected ideas of nationalism and of sovereignty. A third involves not so much a change in content as a change in attitude toward the phenomena of politics. This new attitude 13 14 RENAISSANCE has been variously called "naturalism" (to contrast it with the ethical and religious perspective from which the Middle Ages had studied politics), "positivism" (to emphasize its empirical and secular point of view), and "realism" (to bring out its rejection of the idealistic tendencies of traditional political theory).

He was "the first in his day," another noted, ... [to cause] to be constmcted and equipped ships which transported to Africa, throughout the Levant, and even to Alexandria in Egypt, cloths, woolens, and other articles fabricated within the realm. d At the apex of his career, Coeur owned lead, copper, and silver mines, a silk factory at Florence, and a paper mill at Bourges; he operated a passenger service for pilgrims to the Holy Land, maintained business houses in all the principal cities in France, and had, in all, three hundred representatives scattered through Europe and the East.

From this point of view, the primary function of the political theorist is descriptive, not normative. In its empirical orientation this view anticipated the ethically neutral methodology of modem physical science. Just as the latter produces information about the behavior of the physical universe that technologists can put to use, either for human weal or for human woe, so the political theorist provides information that princes can apply, either in their own interests or in those of their subjects.

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