Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-sz752 Total loading time: 0.425 Render date: 2023-02-04T09:07:01.361Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Foreword by Douglas Kries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 February 2018

Joshua Parens
Affiliation:
University of Dallas
Get access

Summary

This volume, Leo Strauss and the Recovery of Medieval Political Philosophy, is the first to be published in the series Rochester Studies in Medieval Political Thought. Such titles immediately give rise to a number of questions, the answers to which may not be self-evident: Why political thought? Why medieval political thought? Why does medieval political thought need to be recovered?

To answer the first of these questions, it is necessary to be more precise about the term “political thought.” Political thought could be understood simply as “thinking about governments” or “thinking about governmental structures and institutions.” If we understand the term in this way, we might ask questions about democratic political thought, for example, and talk about voting patterns and behaviors. We might study the role and function of the judicial branch as well as the structures of laws and the implications of economic policies. In this sense, “political thought” would look a lot like what is known in our time as “political science.”

Such a view of political thought is not entirely wrong, but it is surely incomplete, at least from the medieval point of view. The medieval view of politics is based on the ancient view, which understood political thought, especially in the form of political philosophy, as being an architectonic science that orders the pursuit of all the other sciences in a city or regime. In this more elevated sense of the term, “political thought” is political philosophy in the grand sense, as the philosophical pursuit of all the human things. Such an inquiry studies the complete panoply of human possibilities, the various ways of living, the sorts of perfections available, and the fundamental problems faced by humanity. In this second sense, political thought is “architectonic anthropology,” for such a study, when conducted in the spirit of Socrates, reveals human beings to themselves in a way no other intellectual pursuit is capable of.

A third sense of the term understands political thought, or political philosophy, almost as an oxymoron. According to this understanding, one must acknowledge that political life and philosophical life are not easily reducible to a common goal.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×