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Are There Perennial Problems in Political Theory?

Abstract

This article justifies approaching classic works of political theory as relevant to problems that concern us. Perennial problems are shown to exist in three increasingly controversial senses. First, past authors addressed a problem which we can ponder. Second, past authors addressed a problem which authors who wrote on these authors also addressed and which we can ponder. Third, numerous authors expressed beliefs relevant to a problem which we can ponder. The errors identified by opponents of perennial problems arise from empirical misjudgments concerning the ways that different authors addressed such problems, not from the assumption that such problems exist.

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