Philosophers and the city in early modern Europe

Authored by: Ferenc Hörcher

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the City

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138928787
eBook ISBN: 9781315681597
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315681597-3

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Abstract

This chapter will introduce the case studies of three early modern philosophers (Machiavelli, Montaigne, and Althusius). All three rejected utopian or idealist approaches to philosophy and engaged directly in city politics in different contexts. I argue that the early modern city was characterized by a surprisingly strong link to philosophy. A second point, not unrelated to the first one, will be that most of the philosophers whose activity was linked to the city had a much better understanding of its actual mode of being than utopian writers usually did. The way of thinking characteristic of this early modern link between philosophy and the city is, of course, the political (das politische), as it was labelled by 20th-century German thinkers, referring to those who proved to have a refined sense of political judgment.

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