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Quentin Skinner


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction.

1.1. A Revolution in the Study of Political Thought.

1.2. A Political Reading.

Chapter 2. History as an Argument.

2.1. Death of Political Philosophy?.

2.2. The Defence of the Historian: Laslett and Pocock.

2.3. The 'historical' as a criterion.

2.4. The Politics of History.

Chapter 3. Theories as Moves.

3.1. Intelligibility of Politics as Activity.

3.2. The Action Perspective on Political Thought.

3.3. Ideas and Concepts as Moves in Argument.

3.4. Conventions and intentions.

3.5. Legitimation of Action.

3.6. The Innovating Ideologist.

3.7. Linguistic Action and its Legitimation.

Chapter 4. The Foundations: a History of Theory Politics.

4.1. Genres of Studying Political Thought.

4.2. Why "Foundations"?.

4.3. The Matrix of Questions.

4.4. Ideologies and Legitimation.

4.5. The Formation of the Concept of the State.

4.6. From the History of Ideas Towards a History of Concepts.

4.7. The Skinnerian Revolution.

Chapter 5. Rethinking Political Liberty.

5.1. Liberty as a Contested Concept Par Excellence.

5.2. Revising the Conceptual History of Liberty.

5.3. Liberty of the City-Republics.

5.4. Machiavelli as a Philosopher of Liberty.

5.5. Hobbes on Natural Liberty and the Liberty of Subjects.

5.6. The Neo-roman Theorists: Liberty vs. Dependence.

5.7. Intervention in the Contemporary Debate.

5.8. A Profile on the History and Theory of Liberty.

Chapter 6. From Philosophy to Rhetoric.

6.1. The Rise of Rhetoric.

6.2. Rhetorical Philosophy: Wittgenstein and Austin.

6.3. Skinner's Critique of Philosophy.

6.4. Rhetoric and Philosophy in Hobbes.

6.5. The rhetorical Culture of the Renaissance.

6.6. Rhetoric and the Critique of Philosophy.

6.7. Conceptual Change: from Speech Acts to Rhetoric.

6.8. Skinner and Rhetoric Studies Today.

Chapter 7. Quentin Skinner as a Contemporary Thinker.

7.1 The Intellectual Profile.

7.2. A vision of Time.


About the Author

Kari Palonen, Professor of Political Science, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland


'Skinner and Palonen between them have explained, more deeply than anyone, the relation between writing the history of political thoughts and thinking about politics in history.' John Pocock, Professor Emeritus, John Hopkins University

'Kari Palonen's impressive knowledge of twentieth-century European historiography creates an appropriately broad canvas for this fine study of the Cambridge contextual historian Quentin Skinner as a political theorist in the grand tradition. Palonen shows to what degree Skinner's projects belong to the world post Nietzsche and post Wittgenstein, which give priority to "life" and the "lived experience" over theory and scholastic history (or historicism). For the modern homo politicus no longer speaks " for eternity", but as a person of his/her own time. It is in this very special sense that context and text belong together: as the ground, and perhaps the only ground, against which human actions now have meaning'. Patricia Springborg, University of Sydney

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