Of the many thinkers who have had difficulty making sense of Burke’s historical consciousness the most celebrated in recent decades has been Leo Strauss.
Although I have been an earnest admirer of Leo Strauss since I first started reading his books, Straussians have a tendency to bewitch themselves with words and phrases from the master’s lexicon in ways that are preposterous.
Under Polanyi’s revolutionary imaginary, we are deeply, even constitutionally, committed to truth. But in the “commitment to commitment” that Grene correctly perceives at the core of Polanyi, we are committed to some content.
Rawls operates with a decision procedure for ethics that keeps corroborating the same moral outlook, a liberal one, whereas the objectivity he claims for the procedure might reasonably have been expected to be consistent with a wider range of moral, social, or political perspectives, or perhaps with a single position equidistant to polar extremes.
Because these hostile ideologies rest on opposing (and unexamined) “abstract principles,” contemporary political discourse is usually shrill and fruitless.
Eric Voegelin does not offer us a formula but a temperate and mystery-respecting philosophy of consciousness.
Augustinian Christianity is unable to sustain its own posture of radical transcendence. That position is so harsh, so immoderate, and so inhuman that it leads its advocates to succumb to an extremism of another kind.
Rousseau’s political ideas were at once idealistic, “mystical,” and collectivist.
I contend that Žižek does not deliver the insights that he repeatedly promises. I propose to subject one of his works Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? to close examination.
Decision Procedures, Moral Philosophy, and Despair: The Response of Virtue Ethics and the Connoisseur
The problem is that Ryn, like others who have become desperate, must assume that those who do not read the situation in the same pessimistic light are blinded by some intellectual or moral flaw.
McIntire’s study would have been better had the author provided a stronger historical context, but this deficiency should not obscure the fact that this is an impressive work of scholarly research and textual analysis. Herbert Butterfield is not a typical biography; rather, it is an analysis and explication of the subject’s intellectual achievement.
What separates Voegelin from most modern philosophers is not so much a difference of intellect as a difference of imagination.
There is another major element in Babbitt’s criticism which has a strong resemblance to the positivist method, even to the original statement of it by Comte. This is the concept of the interrelationship of all knowledge.
Culture has been degraded to somatic gratification, from which all meaning is now derived. Politically, this requires “using threats of high treason to silence doubt” about the status of the body as a justification for reshaping politics.
The respect which Habermas accords to Kant’s moral and political ideals is what separates his interpretation of the Kantian project from Hayek’s.
On the most general level, then, his response to modernity is not unlike many others in the post-War period: a rediscovery of some form of personal moral anchor, in opposition to the surrounding sources of disorder, as a way out of the nihilism of the twentieth century.
According to a perhaps naive, but still...
Eric Voegelin’s treatment of Christianity is notoriously problematic.
Utopia provides the earliest antidote to utopian ideology, which it subtly ridicules by the ironic deployment of stylistic variation.
The very purpose of the prudential tradition is to prepare men and women with the deliberative capacity to decide how to act in such situations.
Most importantly, Ryn holds that I place such emphasis on contingency, particularity, and finitude that I have difficulty explaining the basis of the continuity and coherence, weight and responsibility, that I myself find necessary for the reconstructive middle ground.
Careful, in-depth attention to questions of knowledge is one of the preconditions for a reinvigoration of the humanities and social sciences. In the study of man as a social and cultural being, how is knowledge obtained?
Praise of contemplation and speculation does not constitute a refutation of positivism.
Professor Roberts and I may have not so much a fundamental philosophical disagreement as a difference of philosophical nomenclature and emphasis. Ideas in Roberts’s thinking that are still only tentatively stated could well evolve in ways that will reveal further consonance between us.
How does Locke understand language and its role in conveying information and meaning between persons?
The cries of righteous indignation that I can hear show the force of ingrained habit. How could universality possibly express itself in particularity? This is surely “relativism,” “solipsism,” “historicism,” “nihilism” “situationism”! This reaction points to the need for rethinking not just morality but epistemology.
Man is a creature of desires, and since these desires are the products of social and economic motives, good government is situated at the crossroads of individual desires. The focus of politics shifts from moral authority to the social contract.
Many autobiographies are written with an eye toward settling old scores, but this is not one of them. These memoirs are striking because of the absence of any rancor or bitterness toward old intellectual or literary adversaries.
The Eikones is translated and transmuted time and time again by those who wish to 'recapture' antiquity.
Unlike most other texts, the “classics” have the potential to upend our typical modes of understanding, challenge our baser impulses, and confound our historically and culturally constituted presuppositions.
Redeeming the Time is a pointed, prescient and at times disturbing collection. It is filled with the sense of "the unbought grace of life" by which Kirk lived his own life, and through which we renew our commitment to the permanent values of our civilization.
My own ideal, already partially fulfilled, is for my work to be made obsolete, of mere historic interest, by the much better achievements of my apprentices. That is the only way I know to surpass my own limitations.
This book, despite its solid scholarship and publication by a major university press, will be ignored by the author’s own generation of academicians because it truly is radical; that is, it goes to the roots.
Moral nihilism and relativism seem not t...
Introduction: Perennial Philosophy Histo...
Babbitt and the romantics agree that imagination is vital to the development of the educated person, but each school of thought advocates a different quality of the imagination.
Neither Hobbes nor Locke said much about the transmutations of human nature in the past because they were more concerned about how it might be transformed in the future.
In the view of many scholars, Leon Pompa...
The work of both Michael Polanyi and Alasdair MacIntyre contributes significantly to overcoming the problems posed by late modernity. They harbor no nostalgic illusions; neither do they believe that skepticism and despair are satisfying alternatives.
A critical exploration of cultural beliefs will enable us to see how people make rational or justificatory connections among their socio-culturally structured evidence, counter-evidence, relevant alternatives, and beliefs.
The American academy has been abuzz in recent years with a need to identify and get rid of "foundational" thinking. There are, we are told, no suprahistorical essences, no permanent ends, no enduring identities, meanings, or truths.
Introduction It is a truism, but none...
When Thucydides’ understated but crucial role in Strauss’s thought is fully exposed, Strauss’s philosophy as a whole starts to appear differently.
The intellectual power, originality and...
Does humanist individualism need supplementation by a form of reason that is not simply practical-analytical?
While applauding these Babbittian ideas, I have argued in various places that Babbitt unduly discounts reason’s contribution to the search for reality.
I wish to take issue with Bevir’s treatment of tradition precisely because it is so utilitarian. It reduces a social reality to an amorphous material with no meaning or purpose of its own.
As such, the human world, for Sartre, is nothing but the aggregate of self-creating human beings.