Political Theory from the 15th to the 18th Century Empiricism - Essay


(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

W. H. Greenleaf (essay date 1964)

SOURCE: W. H. Greenleaf, "Empiricism and Politics," in Order, Empiricism and Politics: Two Traditions of English Political Thought, 1500–1700, Oxford University Press, London, 1964, pp. 157-205.

[In the excerpt below, Greenleaf looks at changes in political philosophy within the context of changes in philosophy in general—particularly the theories of observation and knowledge described by empiricism. Greenleaf concludes that empiricism cultivated the advocation of "mixed government" among most modern philosophers.]

Doubt about the transcendental order led, as I have explained, to the distinction between the...

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