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The inspiration for this book is a not-so-well-known essay by the great Alasdair MacIntyre in which he tinkered with the idea that there cannot be any political thought, theory or philosophy which does not take into consideration the idea of God in some sense or the other. No one could be closer to the truth than MacIntyre was. It seemed like a good point to pursue, and Machiavelli is the best starting point for that since he has been called ‘a preacher of evil’ by the philosopher Leo Strauss and this perception held true till the intervention of Quentin Skinner, who interprets Machiavelli far more charitably than anyone else did. That is another beginning that had to be pursued to see if Machiavelli has to be understood in a different light. The question is ‘Did Machiavelli abandon God in his writing?’ This book will answer that question.
Descartes and Hobbes have been added for another reason. The history of ideas and the history of political thought have been written in the mainstream by emphasizing disjunctions between the ancient and medieval periods of European history. This work does exactly the opposite. It emphasizes on the continuity of ideas between different time periods and epochs of history. The reasoning behind that thought is that continuities are as important as disjunctions, and it is only when the focus is on both that one gets a proper understanding of the history of ideas and political thought.
That is the spirit behind this book. Also one is not just looking at the idea of God alone in this work. The book also explores sub-themes and even other themes that have a connection with the main theme. That is why this book is not just about God in Western political thought but also about other ideas that have not been established properly heretofore. It can very well be treated as a book about Western political thought in general.
This book is to the point and pithy in its depiction of the role that the concept of God plays in Western political thought. God is often erroneously believed to be absent from the political thought of the post-Renaissance period, which is unfortunately equated with secularism, or the absence of God and religion. The book sticks to this main point and does not meander into other areas of thought of the three thinkers who have been chosen to correct this commonly held misperception. Who better than Machiavelli to demonstrate this as he is seen the person who broke the link between politics and ethics in order to create an independent realm of activity called the political? The reader of this work will also realize in due course why Descartes and Hobbes also have been chosen.
People interested in political science and philosophy.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. The Medieval Conception of God
Chapter 3. The Spirit of Renaissance and the Idea of God in Machiavelli
Chapter 4. The Reformation and the Insight of Descartes
Chapter 5. Revolution and Legitimacy, the Hobbesian Perspective
About the Author:
A.V. Satish Chandra, Ph.D., SEFM, is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Osmania University. He did his Ph.D. from Osmania University, Hyderabad, M.Phil from the University of Hyderabad and M.A. from JNU, New Delhi, in political science.
He has been teaching in Osmania University from the year 1990 and has nearly 31 years of experience. He has been the recipient of various visiting fellowships to the USA, the TÜB?TAK Fellowship of Turkey and an alumnus of the US State Department. He has been awarded with Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam Life Time Achievement National Award in Teaching, Research and Publications. He is recognized as a mentor by the UGC and the Ministry of Education and has been certified for the same. Dr Satish Chandra is also an International Eminent Fellow Member of the Scholars Academic and Scientific Society (SAS). Dr Chandra has published four books: Federalism and Decentralization in India for Better Governance, From Centralized Government to Decentralized Governance, Indian Politics in the Twenty First Century and Politics of Identity, Gender and Development (Viva Books).
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