The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics secured the two Greek philosophers as two of readings in classical political thought pdf most influential political philosophers.
In a vernacular sense, the term “political philosophy” often refers to a general view, or specific ethic, political belief or attitude, about politics, synonymous to the term “political ideology”. Political philosophy is a branch of philosophy.
Chinese political philosophy dates back to the Spring and Autumn period, specifically with Confucius in the 6th century BC. Chinese political philosophy was developed as a response to the social and political breakdown of the country characteristic of the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period. The major philosophies during the period, Confucianism, Legalism, Mohism, Agrarianism and Taoism, each had a political aspect to their philosophical schools. Philosophers such as Confucius, Mencius, and Mozi, focused on political unity and political stability as the basis of their political philosophies.
Confucianism advocated a hierarchical, meritocratic government based on empathy, loyalty, and interpersonal relationships. Legalism advocated a highly authoritarian government based on draconian punishments and laws.
Mohism advocated a communal, decentralized government centered on frugality and ascetism. The Agrarians advocated a peasant utopian communalism and egalitarianism. Legalism was the dominant political philosophy of the Qin Dynasty, but was replaced by State Confucianism in the Han Dynasty.
Prior to China’s adoption of communism, State Confucianism remained the dominant political philosophy of China up to the 20th century. Western political philosophy originates in the philosophy of ancient Greece, where political philosophy dates back to at least Plato.
Ancient Greece was dominated by city-states, which experimented with various forms of political organization, grouped by Plato into four categories: timocracy, tyranny, democracy and oligarchy. One of the first, extremely important classical works of political philosophy is Plato’s Republic, which was followed by Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics. Roman political philosophy was influenced by the Stoics and the Roman statesman Cicero.
The constitutions of Hindu states evolved over time and were based on political and legal treatises and prevalent social institutions. The institutions of state were broadly divided into governance, administration, defense, law and order. Mantranga, the principal governing body of these states, consisted of the King, Prime Minister, Commander in chief of army, Chief Priest of the King. Chanakya, 4th century BC Indian political philosopher.
The Arthashastra provides an account of the science of politics for a wise ruler, policies for foreign affairs and wars, the system of a spy state and surveillance and economic stability of the state. Chanakya quotes several authorities including Bruhaspati, Ushanas, Prachetasa Manu, Parasara, and Ambi, and described himself as a descendant of a lineage of political philosophers, with his father Chanaka being his immediate predecessor.