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By W. T. Jones, Robert J. Fogelin

A background OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY examines the character of philosophical firm and philosophy's function in Western tradition. Jones and Fogelin weave key passages from vintage philosophy works into their reviews and criticisms, giving A background OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY the mixed benefits of a resource ebook and textbook. The textual content concentrates on significant figures in every one ancient interval, combining exposition with direct quotations from the philosophers themselves. The textual content areas philosophers in acceptable cultural context and exhibits how their theories mirror the worries in their occasions.

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8 RENAISSANCE porting, there was little need for money, especially in the country areas. It is true, of course, that in order to finance their wars kings borrowed from (and often failed to repay) medieval bankers. It is also true that considerable money was needed for the trade with the Orient, especially since the flow of European goods eastward was insufficient to pay for the Eastern silks and spices in such great demand in the West. But in the early Middle Ages payment was largely rendered in services or in kind: Instead of paying rent in money, the feudal retainer paid his lord in produce or in so many days' work on the lord's land; instead of being obligated to pay taxes to a central government, the local lord was obligated to his overlord for service on the field of battle; and so on up the line.

I will not here try to determine which religion is the best and truest (though there can be but one truth, one divine law, issuing from the mouth of God). But if a prince be well assured of his possession of the true religion and if he wish, therefore, to draw his subjects to it, he should not, in my opinion, use force. For the more one tries to force men's wills, the more unwilling and stubborn they become. . Except, therefore, where a dissenting sect becomes seditious, a good prince will not try to destroy it.

Anyone who was sufficiently bold, vigorous, and unscrupulous might win a state for himself. Ambitious condottieri like Jacopo Sforza and shrewd bankers like Cosimo de' Medici found it easy to establish dynasties, though in the ruthless competition of the age it required even more of the same qualities, together with an almost complete absence of nerves, to hold on to one's newly acquired state for any appreciable length of time. It is not surprising, therefore, that the new man we have already encountered in France and England appeared in Italy in even greater numbers.

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