Both a history and an examination of human thought and behavior spanning three thousand years, On Politics thrillingly traces the origins of political philosophy from the ancient Greeks to Machiavelli in Book I and from Hobbes to the present age in Book II. Whether examining Lord Acton's dictum that absolute power corrupts absolutely or explicating John Stuart Mill's contention that it is better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied, Alan Ryan evokes the lives and minds of our greatest thinkers in a way that makes reading about them a transcendent experience. Whether writing about Plato or Augustine, de Toqueville or Thomas Jefferson, Ryan brings a wisdom to his text that illuminates John Dewey's belief that the role of philosophy is less to see truth than to enhance experience. With this unparalleled tour de force, Ryan emerges in his own right as one of the most influential political philosophers of our time.
About the Author
Alan Ryan, the former warden of New College, Oxford, has taught political theory at Oxford and Princeton since 1969. His books include "The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill", "Bertrand Russell: A Political Life", "John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism", and "Liberal Anxieties and Liberal Education".