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Modernity and Political Thinking or Thought

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In the course of this essay, I want to pose and prove that John Stuart Mill is a modern political thinker based on the supporting facts and evidences that will be presented. First by defining terms such as modernity and political thought. Second by analyzing the roots of the political ideas of John Stuart Mill through his biography and famous works. Lastly by examining the ideas or concepts of John Stuart Mill and its relation to the context of modernity and political thought.

Modernity according to Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries is “the condition of being new and modern”. The term modernity comes from the word modern that originates from “modernus” a Latin term which connotes current or present condition (Madsen,2014). It is the idea rises on the seventeenth century from the Western Europe due to demands of the continuous development of societies as explained by Giddens (1990) in the book of Jacobsen (2001) entitled “The transformation of modernity: Aspects of the past, present and future of an era’. However, Madsen (2014) professes that the traces of the history of modernity existed even before the seventeenth century.

The concept of modernity was believed to be established on the “Age of Enlightenment” through which its face or features are being slowly recognized (Wood, 1997). Those features of modernity view the deepening of people’s consciousness, as well as the breakdown of religious power and promotion of social sensibility and the transition or the verge of the concept of democracy (Schmidt, 2006). Snyder (2016) further that the term modernity is a term not only encompassing the development in the social aspect and the perspective towards religion but also in terms of economics, technology, culture and even the political aspects like the nation states, government as discussed by Schmidt (2006), as well as the scientific knowledge and discoveries, communication and other forms through which life and growth may pertain. Schmidt (2014) examines and categorize the stages of modernity which are the “westcentric”, “polycentric” and “eurocentric modernity”, he furthers that eurocentric serves as the primary established modernity through which there are accounts saying that modernity starts on the Renaissance period and Europe is known to be the heart of where the modernity starts.

On the other hand, political thought well known as “political philosophy” seeks to understand important political aspects like “power and laws” through which political scientists or political thinkers founded the visions on the attainment good governance as well as balancing the public rights and the limits and the extent of political participation of people (Korea University Department of Political Science,2017). Moreover, the ancient political thought or philosophy focus on the establishment of different political organizations as well as finding the “ideal politics” through which there is a seeking to the important political virtues such as “justice” and “equality” as wells as the essence of the establishment of the politics itself and its association to a certain branch of philosophy called “ethics. (Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010).

Korea University Department of Political Science expounds that the roots of political philosophy started or rise on the Classical times in Greece and Rome that furthers to rise of the Roman Empire; Plato was known to be the founders of early political philosophy, sooner the ideas of Plato’s political philosophy that emphasizes that is handed down and being reconstructed by Aristotle.

While, in the medieval study of political thought it highlights the power being held by the monastics that guides the morality of man in the two centuries before the nineteenth century, in which in this study of political thought the ranging ideas of liberal democracies and the power hold by the clericals of how the political order should be established are highly being criticized, moreover the transition of political power and authority as well as the political situations that is constantly happening maybe happening particularly in diverse times; however sought not similar on its nature of existence.(Gettell, 2014). The famous political philosophers or thinkers of the Medieval period are Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham and Marsillus of Padua (Kilcullen & Robinson, 2017).

If the medieval political thought or philosophy talks about the religious politics, the modern political thought, however, is characterized by the desire to uplifts individuality and other liberal values that is applied in the improvements for politics, government and the society (Poe, 2015).


Gettell, R. G. (2014). The Nature of Political Thought. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055400106641

Jacobsen, M.C.(Ed.).(2001). The Transformation of Modernity. London: Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315203387

Korea University Department of Political Science(2017). Political Thoughts. Retrieved from: https://politics.korea.edu/kupolitics_en/major01.do

Madsen, O. J. (2014). Modernity. 10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_190.Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272998246_Modernity/citation/download

Poe, A. (2015). Modern Political Thought. Retrieved from: https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/courses/1415S/POSC/POSC-245-1415S

Schmidt, V. H. (2006). Multiple Modernities or Varieties of Modernity?. Current Sociology – CURR SOCIOL. 54. 77-97. 10.1177/0011392106058835. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242680549_Multiple_Modernities_or_Varieties_of_Modernity

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