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As I'm beginning to read the classical texts on political theory - Platos Republic & Rousseaus Social Contract I'm beginning to be aware of just how shaky my knowledge of European History is.

On the grounds that one should have at least some facts at hand to mark & measure these philosophies against is it advisable to have a good understanding of European History; except that itself is a very broad discipline itself.

But then again, in Platos time; it is more the Hellenic History that one should be acquainted with. And that covers a different geographical ground...

Can one read Political Philosophy in a vacuum given that one is to some extent acquainted with some european history having been born & brought up in one?

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I'm not certain enough to give an answer, but if you want political philosophy conveniently mixed with history, you should read Machiavelli's the Prince. Machiavelli takes such a strong stand on empirical philosophy that for everything he says, he gives a historical example (his repertoire of examples ranging from ancient Rome to Renaissance Italy). –  commando Dec 5 '12 at 22:09
    
@commando: thanks for the suggestion, in fact I have read it a long time ago, but remember nothing about it, which kind of leads me to suspect I wasn't paying much attention to what I was reading:). –  Mozibur Ullah Dec 5 '12 at 22:18
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On the grounds that one should have at least some facts at hand to mark & measure these philosophies against is it advisable to have a good understanding of European History; except that itself is a very broad discipline itself.

I'd argue this way, although I think a basic European History textbook or two will go a long way. (I'm in the same predicament in reverse; my studies of Buddhist philosophy have been hampered by my lack of knowledge of Asian history. Thomas McEvilley's book The Shape of Ancient Thought covers the connections between the Ancient Greek and Indian worlds quite nicely, I've found.)

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I've just finished reading Rousseaus Social Contract and he does furnish examples; it has stirred up my curiosity about the history of the Roman Empire, as many of his examples are drawn from that era. I mean to read McEvilleys book someday. –  Mozibur Ullah Dec 6 '12 at 10:09
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