By Ian Cook
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Additional resources for Reading Mill: Studies in Political Theory
This was probably one example of 'the bad propensities of human nature [which] are only kept within bounds when they are allowed no scope for their indulgence' . (SOW 21: 289) Negative dispositions are not the only ones Mill identified as he also drew attention to 'the social feelings of mankind; the desire to be in unity with our fellow creatures ... las] already a powerful principle in human nature .. '. (U 10: 231) Mill believes that, in most instances, these negative tendencies or predispositions could be overridden.
1993: 110) Reading Political Theory (Historicist) Two factors must be taken into account when reading a work of political theory. The first is the nature of the situation within which it was generated. The second is the individual political theorist who responds with a political theory to that situation. Understanding a political theory requires examining the interaction between a political theorist, whose works are under consideration, and the situation in which that theorist wrote. Individual and context must be brought together if a theorist's works are to be properly understood.
1971: 28) The method to be used in reading political theory is not as straightforward, however, as might be inferred from the above quotation from Pocock. Greenleaf clearly understated the methodological problems for those who adopt a linguistic conception of political theory when he wrote that 'in purpose it is simply analysis of the language and concepts employed in political and moral discussion'. (1972: 472) At least three linguistic approaches appear to have resulted from the ontological and epistemological principles that underpin the linguistic conception of political theory.