Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Our attitudes to understanding past texts fall into three conceptually distinct manners of enquiry. The Emblematic Past is resistant to correction, and impervious to criticism, and its characters and events are on permanent loan to the present as symbols indicative of all the vices and virtues of humanity. The Practical Past is the predominant mode of invoking a world of ideas to assist us in working through, or understanding, current problems. In contrast, those disposed to the Historical Past adopt a disinterestedness that sometimes verges on disdain towards those whose purpose is not interpretive authenticity. These attitudes are to be distinguished from the levels at which thought about International Relations occurs. We encounter types of thinking that relate to immediate circumstances; attempts to synthesize experience into principles and recommendations, or guides to action; and philosophical considerations of the place of International Relations in experience more generally.

Keywords: Hobbes, Machiavelli, sovereignty, methodological pluralism, emblematic, practical, historical

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.