Talk:History of political thought

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 Definition The development of political ideas over time since the discovery of politics in Plato, Confucius and Mencius. [d] [e]


Should this be retitled "Western political thought" or some such, since it deals only with that tradition?

India and China are dismissed with: "There were significant developments in political thinking in China and India during that period, but since they had little influence on that thread, they are conventionally omitted from courses and treatises on the history of economic thought, and are usually given separate treatment elsewhere." Why is it "economic thought" here while the overall title is "political thought"? Shouldn't there at least be links to Confucius and others, even if those articles are as yet unwritten and we do not treat those topics here? Sandy Harris 03:36, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

"Economic thought in the lede was a slip. It should, of course be "political thought". Thanks for picking that up. My intention is to follow the general academic practice of confining the treatment of the subject to developments that are relevant to the current state of world-wide political thought. That being so, I see no need to alter the title, or to involve Confucius. Nick Gardner 05:51, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
So let's see if I've got the academic/CZ approach to history right. History is the record, not of what happened, but of how we got where we are. Developments that play little or no part in that are to be ignored, no matter how important they seemed at the time. So the CZ history of the world would largely ignore the non-Western world apart from
  1. pre-Greek Near east
  2. major interactions
  3. major religions
  4. post-colonial developments
For example, the Mongol Empire, the largest in history to that date, would barely rate a mention, because it impacted only the margins of the West.
Is that the idea? Peter Jackson 14:46, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
As far as I am aware it is the conventional academic approach to the history of political thought.Nick Gardner 19:00, 8 June 2011 (UTC)


In anticipation of some well-informed academic criticism, I should explain that my departure from what I believe to be the conventional curriculum is intentional. Instead of treating the subject as a branch of philosophy, I intend to treat it as the background to current politics. That way I hope to avoid exposing my ignorance of philosophy. I also believe that it should make the article more accessible to non-academic readers. Nick Gardner 12:51, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

enjoyable to me!

Nick, I'm enjoying chewing through this. Not an expert here, so my opinion doesn't give weight or anything, but it's fun. I'm thinking today of Churchill's famous quote: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." Glad to see you biting onto this with such relish, and hope if thrives.Pat Palmer 11:48, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

I see you have an appropriate Thomas Paine footnote about it, but wasn't there a key phrase in the Federalist Papers warning about "tyranny of the majority" in representative governments? Maybe it can be worked in somewhere.Pat Palmer 11:50, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement, Pat. I'm delighted that you find it fun. I'll look for the tyranny quote. Nick Gardner 15:27, 12 June 2011 (UTC)