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Comparative political philosophy can be stimulated by imposing a categorization scheme on possible varieties of political philosophies. This article develops a categorization scheme using four essential features of political philosophies, resulting in twelve archetypal political philosophies. The four essential features selected are a political philosophy's views concerning human nature, the proper function of morality, the best form of society, and the highest responsibility of citizenship. The twelve archetypal political philosophies range from the communal (Rousseau), the democratic (J. S. Mill), the representative (Aristotle), the aristocratic (Plato), and the autocratic (Calvin), along with seven more archetypes: the aloof anarchy, social anarchy, contractarian, progressive, natural law, sage ruler, and tyrannical political forms. A wide variety of Western political philosophers are assigned their places within this categorization scheme to illustrate its utility and comprehensiveness.
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Keywords: comparative politics; democracy; government; human nature; morality; natural law; political philosophy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Inquiry, P.O. Box 741, Amherst, NY 14226, USA, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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