The Growing Thoughts and the Growing Politics
The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to prepare a short, carefully-crafted paper. These papers are to be exegetical or interpretive, which means that the task is not to evaluate the validity of what the authors are saying, but rather to explain what they are sayingand whyin the passages under discussion. In so doing, you will be defending a certain interpretation of the texts at hand. This is not meant to be a research paper. You are not required to consult or cite any sources other than the texts you have been asked to read in this class. In constructing your argument, you should restrict yourself to examining the relevant portions of the texts, and clearly pointing to those passages that support your particular reading of the text. In addition, you are called upon to some extent to synthesize the various views under consideration, by contrasting the approaches of the two authors.
Answer the following question in an essay of 6 to 7 pages (with margins of no more than 1-inch, and font of no more than 12-point):
What distinguishes the thought of modern thinkers like Machiavelli, Hobbes and Locke from that of ancients? In answering this question, think carefully about how the modern thinkers thought of the central task or purpose of politics, and how this view of politics stood in contrast to the ancient view.
Some secondary questions and pre-writing ideas to focus on in your paper:
You do not need to spend any time treating the ideas of Plato or Aristotle at length, simply address what aspects of the modern thinkers views stand in contrast to Plato and Aristotles views, and, in each case, how. The most comprehensive treatments of this question will also include each of these three thinkers views on human nature, and on the relationship of politics to morality or theology. (Hint: It would be good here to address both Machiavelli and Hobbes understandings of the science of politics). Your answer should also highlight some of the differences among the modern thinkers views, even while highlighting their similarities in standing in contrast to the ancients. That is, you should also be careful not to mistakenly argue that all three modern thinkers have an identical view of politics. Rather, make sure to point out important differences between them, and say why all of their views can be seen as modern despite these differences. For instance you may want to distinguish between Machiavellis understanding of politics, and that of Hobbes and Locke. In what ways are all three understandings of politics modern, but in what way do Hobbes and Lockes view of politics differ crucially from Machiavellis? (Hint: This will have something to do with the idea of the social contract). Relatedly, are all three thinkers understandings of human nature modern, in contrast to the ancients? (Hint: Locke is the odd one out here). And, all three of them obviously have very different prescriptions for the best form of government: what accounts for these differences? (Hint: Machiavellis idea of statecraft vs. the two different versions of the social contract we see in Locke and in Hobbes).
Please note that your essay should not resemble a laundry-list of items that simply summarizes all of the ideas above. Rather, the first part of the question (in bold type) is meant to be the central and primary question to be addressed. The rest of the prompt (under the underlined subheading) gives you secondary questions, all of which are designed to aid you in making secondary arguments. In a paper that flows well, the secondary arguments will coherently come together to support the central argument of the paper, in response to the central question. In other words, a good answer to the primary question depends not only on constructing good arguments in response to the secondary questions, it requires understanding the correct relationship of all the secondary arguments to one another, and to the primary question. Note, therefore, that you do not need to address the secondary arguments in the order that they appear in the prompt above. It is more important your argument flows logically and well, while making the right connections between all the requisite ideas.
Please only use quotations from these three books:
1)Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses, Random House, 1950, ISBN 0-07-553577-7
2)Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, (Edwin Curley, ed.), Hackett, 1994 ISBN 0-87220-177-5
3)John Locke, Political Writings, Hackett, 2003, ISBN 0-87220-676-9
You can also use another two book as the source of acient political thoughts:
4)Plato, The Republic (Sterling and Scott trans.), Norton, 1996, ISBN 0-393-31467-7
5)Aristotle, The Politics (Carnes Lord trans.), Chicago, 1984, ISBN 0-226-02669-8
But please forcus on the first three books, the last two are just for help.
And please donot use any source out of these five books.
The topic is not fixed, you can change it if you have better one.
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