Listening Tenaciously : Politics, Languages, and Historiography in the Work of J.G.A. Pocock



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This dissertation seeks to honor the maieutic arts in the Western philosophical tradition, by engaging the space, which lies between intellectual history and political theory in the history of ideas through the study of J.G.A. Pocock’s works. This study seeks to establish three main points. First, Pocock’s methodology can be described as linguistic contextualization, which I call “tenacious listening.” Second, Pocock’s work has challenged the traditional narrative in political theory and intellectual history in its approach to Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau as the canonized paradigmatic figures of the West. For Pocock, the three paradigmatic figures of early modern Western political theory are Niccolo Machiavelli, James Harrington, and Edward Gibbon. Third, through his methodology of tenacious listening and linguistic contextualization, Pocock presents a distinct and particular view of Machiavelli, Harrington and Gibbon. The points explored in this study are meant to offer scholars of political thought across disciplinary lines a more precise and holistic portrayal of J.GA. Pocock. In so doing, I intend to consider the idea of a republic in Pocock’s work, its place in the interdisciplinary landscape, and its relevance to the political climate in the United States today.



Pocock, J. G. A. ǂq (John Greville Agard), ǂd 1924-, Political science ǂx Western influences, Linguistic analysis (Linguistics)