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By W. T. Jones, Robert J. Fogelin

A heritage OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY examines the character of philosophical firm and philosophy's position in Western tradition. Jones and Fogelin weave key passages from vintage philosophy works into their reviews and criticisms, giving A heritage OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY the mixed benefits of a resource e-book and textbook. The textual content concentrates on significant figures in each one old interval, combining exposition with direct quotations from the philosophers themselves. The textual content locations philosophers in acceptable cultural context and exhibits how their theories mirror the troubles in their instances.

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The answer involves many interweaving strands in the web of cultural change. One of these was the discovery of the compass and other navigational aids, which enabled seamen to strike out across the sea and so ended the trade monopolies of certain cities. Much later, the new sailing routes shifted the weight of trade to the high seas, which, more than the Mediterranean, were open to all competitors. Success there went to the most energetic. Another strand in the web was the development, at Antwerp, of a new trading policy.

Just at this point the throne was occupied by a succession of weak princes, who were incapable of handling the situation, and the country was plunged into civil war. It was against the background of these events that Bodin developed his political theory. It was natural for him to insist that the times required a single authority in the state, powerful enough to bring all the divisive elements into order. This authority, which Bodin called "sovereignty," occupied the central position in his thought.

It was in Italy that a purely naturalistic political theory—as distinct from the mixed, or dilute, theories of Bodin and Marsiglio—was first explicitly formulated. Indeed, the conditions of life there were particularly favorable to the development of political naturalism. In the first place, since feudalism never gripped Italy as firmly as it did northern Europe, less effort was requiredTor Italians to break away from the medieval system of values. In addition, during the whole of the Middle Ages municipal life was vigorous in Italy; the Italian cities knew how to maintain their independence, and great trading centers like Venice and Genoa soon learned how to put the piety of the north to use in promoting their own commercial life.

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