James Bernard Murphy

May 25, 2020

How to Think Politically

Sages, Scholars and Statesmen Whose Ideas Have Shaped the World

Bloomsbury 2019

What is truly at stake in politics? Nothing less than how we should live, as individuals and as communities. This book goes beyond the surface headlines, the fake news and the hysteria to explore the timeless questions posed and answers offered by a diverse group of the 30 greatest political thinkers who have ever lived. Notably, they blur boundaries of ancient and modern, Western, Chinese and Islamic thought, religious and seculary thinkers to provide a much wider survey than normally is the case in such overviews. Are we political, economic, or religious animals? Should we live in small city-states, nations, or multinational empires? What values should politics promote? Should wealth be owned privately or in common? Do animals also have rights? There is no idea too radical for this global assortment of thinkers, which includes: Confucius; Plato; Augustine; Maimonides; Machiavelli; Burke; Wollstonecraft; Marx; Nietzsche; Gandhi; Qutb; Arendt; Mao; Nussbaum, Naess and Rawls. In How to Think Politically: Sages, Scholars and Statesmen Whose Ideas Have Shaped the World (Bloomsbury, 2019), the authors paint a vivid portrait of these often prescient, always compelling political thinkers, showing how their ideas grew out of their own dramatic lives and times and evolved beyond them. Now more than ever we need to be reminded that politics can be a noble, inspiring and civilising art, concerned with both power and justice. And if we want to understand today's political world, we need to understand the foundations of politics and its architects. This is the perfect guide to both. James Bernard Murphy is Professor of Government at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA where he has taught since 1990. His newest book is titled Your Whole Life: Childhood and Adulthood in Dialogue (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). Graeme Garrard has taught political thought at Cardiff University, UK since 1995 and at the Harvard Summer School, USA since 2006. He has lectured at colleges and universities in Canada, the United States, Britain and France for 25 years. He is the author of two books: Rousseau’s Counter-Enlightenment (2000) and CounterEnlightenments: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present (2006).
Kirk Meighoo is a TV and podcast host, former university lecturer, author and former Senator in Trinidad and Tobago. He hosts his own podcast, Independent Thought & Freedom, where he interviews some of the most interesting people from around the world who are shaking up politics, economics, society and ideas. You can find it in the iTunes Store or any of your favorite podcast providers. You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel. If you are an academic who wants to get heard nationally, please check out his free training at becomeapublicintellectual.com.

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Kirk Meighoo

Kirk Meighoo is Public Relations Officer for the United National Congress, the Official Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago. His career has spanned media, academia, and politics for three decades.

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