Approaches to Political Thought raises three important questions concerning traditional political thought: (1) Why study the political writings and ideas of Plato, Machiavelli, and other long-dead writers? (2) Who among the writers, and which of their works, are worth studying? (3) How should they be studied? The book then explores ten contemporary approaches to understanding political thought and the diverse answers to these questions. The approaches covered include those of Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, Eric Voegelin, Sheldon Wolin, the Cambridge School (Quentin Skinner and J.G.A. Pocock), Psychobiography, Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School (Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas), Hermeneutics (Paul Ricoeur and Hans-Georg Gadamer), Michel Foucault, and Feminist Criticism (Susan Moller Okin and Jean Elshtain). Each chapter includes an introductory essay and edited selections that illustrate or discuss that approach. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and suggestions for further exploration, including books, articles, and web sites. This exploration of contending contemporary approaches to political thought touches upon ongoing methodological and philosophical issues that are relevant to several academic disciplines, including political science, history, philosophy, and psychology.
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Study of Political Thought Part 2 Textual Approaches Chapter 3 Leo Strauss and Political Philosophy Chapter 4 Hannah Arendt and Remembrance Chapter 5 Eric Voegelin, Philosopher of History Part 6 Contextual Approaches Chapter 7 Sheldon Wolin and Paradigmatic Political Thought Chapter 8 Quentin Skinner, J.G.A. Pocock, and History of Thought Chapter 9 Erik Erikson and Psychobiography Part 10 Postmodern Approaches Chapter 11 Herbert Marcuse, Jurgen Habermas, and Critical Theory Chapter 12 Paul Ricoeur, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Hermeneutics Chapter 13 Michael Foucault and the Archeology of Knowledge Chapter 14 Feminist Criticism: Okin and Elshtain Chapter 15 Conclusion