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Politics, Language, and Time: Essays on Political Thought and History
In his first essay, "Languages and Their Implications," J. G. A. Pocock announces the emergence of the history of political thought as a discipline apart from political philosophy. Traditionally, "history" of political thought has meant a chronological ordering of intellectual systems without attention to political languages; but it is through the study of those languages ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published January 15th 1989 by University Of Chicago Press
(first published January 1st 1971)
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I read only the first essay in this volume, in which Pocock lays out his approach toward developing a proper "historical" understanding of "political" language. Pocock also discusses Quentin Skinner's more technical take on the matter (as influenced by the philosophy of Austin, Wittgenstein, et al.), yet seems at a further remove from it. While Pocock is not necessarily uninterested in or ignorant of the "hard" questions posed by the philosophers of language, he emphasizes that such an understan ...more
There's simply no doubt that this book is incredibly important. In graduate school, I was assigned it by three separate professors, in two different institutions. So why the low rating? It's an excruciating read: pretentious, tedious, turgid. Pocock certainly has a knack for marketing a banality as a profundity. After all, this is the guy who managed to convince much of the modern academy that Harrington was worth listening to, and that Jefferson's interest in him wasn't just another eccentricit ...more
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“only after we have understood what means he had of saying anything can we understand what he meant to say, what he succeeded in saying, what he was taken to have said, or what effects his utterance had in modifying or transforming the existing paradigm structures. Authors--individuals thinking and articulating--remain the actors in any story we may have to tell, but the units of the proceses we trace are the paradigms of political speech.”More quotes…