By W. T. Jones, Robert J. Fogelin

A heritage OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY examines the character of philosophical company and philosophy's position in Western tradition. Jones and Fogelin weave key passages from vintage philosophy works into their reviews and criticisms, giving A heritage OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY the mixed benefits of a resource booklet and textbook. The textual content concentrates on significant figures in each one ancient interval, combining exposition with direct quotations from the philosophers themselves. The textual content areas philosophers in applicable cultural context and indicates how their theories mirror the worries in their instances.

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The political naturalist is uninterested in criteria for evaluating political institutions, because he suspects that moral criteria (such as those employed by Plato or Thomas) are no more than private preferences. If the naturalist is also an egoist, he may evaluate political institutions by the extent to which they promote his own personal ends—the maintenance of the status quo, if he is already in power, or its overthrow, if he wishes to secure power. There is, of course, nothing novel about naturalism; it is at least as old as Thrasymachus.

In addition, during the whole of the Middle Ages municipal life was vigorous in Italy; the Italian cities knew how to maintain their independence, and great trading centers like Venice and Genoa soon learned how to put the piety of the north to use in promoting their own commercial life. What is more, during the period when the medieval kings in France and England were emerging as monarchs of new nation-states, the Italian cities continued to maintain their independence. There was, in fact, no medieval Italian king to initiate the movement toward unity.

Let the first [argument] be drawn from the authority of the philosopher [Aristotle] in his Politics. For there his venerable authority asserts that when more things than one are ordained for a single purpose, needs must one of them guide or rule, and the others be guided or ruled. And to this not only the glorious name of the author, but inductive argument also forces assent. For if we consider an individual man, we shall see that this is tme of him; since whereas all his faculties are ordained for felicity, the intellectual faculty is the guide and ruler of all the others, else he cannot attain to felicity.

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