From Plato to Prodi

Literature of General Philosophical and Sociological Interest



names of 4000 years of philosophy




The Republic - full version

The Republic - A brief extract on the state as co-operation



The name suggests an impressive figure. However, I one have had  the honour and pleasure to attend a dinner, sitting in the hall where he received the crown from Pope Leo III - this made him Holy Roman Emperor - first emperor of Catholic Christianity.

So, sitting actually immediately at the side of his - life-sized - statue I had to ask myself What made this man, who was virtual the "first European" so great? Why as he called Charles the Great? 

Martin Luther: Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences commonly known as the 95 theses

Even if - seen with Max Weber and from its ethical side  (see link below) Martin Luther is probably - together with Calvin - the key figure in the first attempt to break open the structures of the traditional societies with the incontestable  position of the church.


Leviathan - 1651

Montesquieu: The Spirit of Law

Laying down the principle of the division of power as it shapes the contemporary democratic systems. It is the fact that the executive power, the power of judicature and the legislative power are seperated from each other that leads to the claim of being democratic systems, based on the mutually and balanced control. 



The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right - 1762


To think society as a contractual system at such an early stage may seem a little bit strange - finally it had been only Maine who mentioned explicitly the development from status to contract as pattern. However, basically we can say that implicitly this notion characterises thinking of sociey since its very early stages - going back even to Aristotle. 


Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'ingalite parmi les hommes


Thomas Paine

Rights of Man

Commune de Paris

Historical Summary



French Revolution

Overview by Rodney Hilton

Olympe de GougesThe Rights of Women

Man alone has raised his exceptional circumstances to a principle. Bizarre, blind, bloated with science and degenerated - in a century of enlightenment and wisdom - into the crassest ignorance, he wants to command as a despot a sex which is in full possession of its intellectual faculties; he pretends to enjoy the Revolution and to claim his rights to equality in order to say nothing more about it.

These words from the reproduced text, couldn't they be from today?

Matilda Josyln Gage, et. al: 1876 Declaration of Rights

Henry Sumner Maine: Ancient Law

Chapter 1-4

Chapter 5-7

Chapter 8-10

 The complete text of Maine's book on the Ancient law of which usually chapter 5 is seen as particularly important.

Marx, Karl: A contribution to the critique of the Political Economy - Preface, complete text


Marx, Karl: Theses on Feuerbach

Marx, Karl: Wage, Labor And Capital

Engels Frederick: Working class in England

Seemingly a very descriptive, rather than analytical text Engels provides the reader with an insight into the living conditions of the English working class in the middle of the 18hunderts.However, he develops as well a sound understanding of the foundation of a Marxist class theory. What is important is his approach of making clear that class is a matter of the structure of society, but that structure can only be understood as a relationship between different social groups.

Karl Marx/Frederick Engels: Communist Manifesto - English version

in French

in Italian

Karl Marx/Frederick Engels: German Ideology  (html-excerpts)


Though written in the middle of the 1840s, this fundamental piece of work outlines the basic lines of Marxism, and has a huge meaning in terms of methodological questions still today. Original source and full text:

Émile Durkheim: What is a Social Fact?


Durkheim Division of Labour

Émile Durkheim: Cours de science sociale. Leçon d'ouverture (1888)

The file is taken from the following source

with date from Decembre 28ième, 2002. Compliments à  Mme Marcelle Bergeron, Professeure à la retraite de l’École Dominique-Racine de Chicoutimi, Québec et collaboratrice bénévole

Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism


Max Weber: Science as a vocation


Max Weber: Politics as vocation


Georg Simmel: The Stranger

This classic of sociology highlights the tension between the two sides of the "stranger", properly read giving much insight into current tensions in the emerging multicultaral societies. 

Norbert Elias: Postscript from

The Civilizing Process



Erving Goffman:

Frameanalysis. An Essay on the Organization of Experience; With a foreword by Bennett M. Berger; Boston: Northeastern University Press; 1974 - 1986

The Introduction
Niklas Luhmann: Globalization or World Society: How to conceive of modern society?


 neo-functionalist theory of international integration


neo-realist theory of integration



From: T.M. Marshall: Citizenship and Social Class  
Lockwood, David: Social integration and system integration Appendix from: Solidarity and Schism. ‘The problem of disorder’ in Durkheimian and Marxist sociology. Oxford: Clarendon Press

This text is of special meaning as it discusses the old and fundamental question of the relationship between the individual and the social, the social and the societal from a new perspective. Later, it had been largely the fundament of the work of Habermas in developing the theory of life world, system world and colonilalisation of the first by the latter.

Habermas, Juergen: Faith and Knowledge

In his speech on the occassion of the 2001 Peace Price awarded by the German Book Trade, the philosopher Jürgen Habermas focussed on the role of religions in the modern society.

Gerben Bakker; The Enclosed Economy.

The European University Institute. Badia Fiesolana. Via dei Roccettini, 9. I-50016 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI), Italy. e-mail: EUI Review now also at.

Spring edition - 2001