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The manuscript authority of political thoughts

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Contextualist interpretations of political thought need to be imaginatively constructed no less than the philosophically abstract readings they are often designed to supplant. Examples of recent scholarship on Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, in particular, illustrate problems in establishing contextual meaning with precision. Manuscripts often embrace their authors' notions in an unrefined state, in their gestation and the immediacy of their first formulations. The study of manuscripts sometimes invites a free association of ideas across what, in a post-Enlightenment world, may be perceived as circumscribed disciplinary boundaries.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Politics, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4RJ, UK.

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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