Aquinas: Moral, Political, and Legal Theory

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John Finnis
Oxford University Press, 1998 - Medical - 385 pages
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Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought Series Editor: Dr Mark Philp, Oriel College, University of Oxford Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought present critical examinations of the work of major political philosophers and social theorists, assessing both their initial contribution and continuing relevance to politics and society. Each volume provides a clear, accessible, historically-informedaccount of each thinker's work, focusing on a re-assessment of their central ideas and arguments. Founders encourage scholars and students to link their study of classic texts to current debates in political philosophy and social theory. This launch volume in the Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought series presents a critical examination of Machiavelli's thought, combining an accessible, historically-informed account of his work with a re-assessment of his central ideas and arguments. Maurizio Viroli challenges theaccepted interpretations of Machiavelli's work, insisting that his republicanism was based not on a commitment to virtue, greatness, and expansion, but to the ideal of civic life protected by the shield of fair laws. His detailed study of how Machiavelli composed his famous work The Prince presentsnew interpretations, and he further argues that the most challengingand completely underestimatedaspect of Machiavelli's thought is his philosophy of life, in particular his conceptions of love, women, irony, God, and the human condition. Viroli demonstrates that Machiavelli composed The Prince,and all his works, according to the rules of classical rhetoric and never intended to found the 'modern science of politics', aiming rather to continue and refine the practice of political theorising as a rhetorical endeavour taught by the Roman masters of civic philosophy. Viroli's Machiavelli, aserious challenge to contemporary methods of doing political theory, will be essential for advanced students of the history of political thought.

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Contents

Life Learning Works
1
SubjectMatter and Method
20
Point of View
47
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

John Finnis is Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy at University College, Oxford, and Biolchini Porfessor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He has acted as a specialist advisor to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, the Catholic Bishops' Committee on Bio-Ethical Issues, the International Theological Committee, and was vice-Chair of the Linacre Centre for Medical Ethics from 1987 to 1996. His publications include Natural Law and Natural Rights (OUP 1980), Fundamentals of Ethics (OUP and Georgetown UP, 1983), Nuclear Deterrence, Morality, and Realism (OUP 1987), and Moral Absolutes (Catholic University of America Press 1991).

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