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The Plebeian ExperienceA Discontinuous History of Political Freedom$
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Martin Breaugh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156189

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156189.001.0001

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Philosophical Genesis of the Plebeian Principle

Philosophical Genesis of the Plebeian Principle

(p.44) 2 Philosophical Genesis of the Plebeian Principle
The Plebeian Experience

Martin Breaugh

, Lazer Lederhendler
Columbia University Press

This chapter maps out the place that the plebs occupy within political thought. It locates references to the plebs as a political subject in order to grasp more firmly the philosophical genesis of the plebeian principle. It suggests that within political thought a hidden tradition can be brought to light, a veritable “plebeian thought” that makes it possible to rethink the major issues of political modernity. Seven authors take part in this “plebeian thought”: three are “canonical”—Machiavelli, Montesquieu, and Vico; two are marginal—Ballanche and De Leon; and two are contemporary—Foucault and Rancière.

Keywords:   plebeian, plebs, NiccolòMachiavelli, Montesquieu, Giambattista Vico, Pierre-Simon Ballanche, Daniel De Leon, Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, plebeian principle

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