A World History of Political Thought
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A World History of Political Thought

J. Babb

A World History of Political Thought is an outstanding and innovative work with profound significance for the study of the history of political thought, providing a wide-ranging, detailed and global overview of political thought from 600 BC to the 21st century. Treating both western and non-western systems of political thought as equal and placing them as they should be; side by side.
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Chapter 10: Enlightenment and historicism (1670–1790)

J. Babb


Historicism as a form of political thought is introduced through both the “ancient text” schools of East Asia, including Dai Zhen, Zhang Xuecheng and Ogy_ Sorai, and the work Vico in Western Europe, often overlooked in histories of political thought but crucial to understanding world political thought. Next, a contrast and comparison is made between Shah Wali Allah and John Locke. In each there is a qualified argument for tolerance and a theory of the development of human society with important implications for political thought, yet the subsequent interpretation of these two thinkers has diverged significantly. Finally, the chapter suggests that there are non-Western roots to the European Enlightenment or, at least, that there are aspects of the Western enlightenment that have parallels in forms of thought elsewhere in the world, with important implications for how to interpret thinkers such as Montesquieu, Hume and Kant.

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