Trim: 5¾ x 8¾
978-1-4985-2754-5 • Hardback • October 2016 • $111.00 • (£85.00)
978-1-4985-2756-9 • Paperback • September 2018 • $49.99 • (£38.00)
978-1-4985-2755-2 • eBook • October 2016 • $47.50 • (£37.00)
R. J. Snell is professor of philosophy at Eastern University and executive director of the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good.
Steven F. McGuire is assistant professor of political science at Eastern University and a research director at the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good.
Table of Contents
R. J. Snell and Steven F. McGuire
1.Voegelin’s Analysis of Human Nature in Aristotle
Response by Thomas W. Smith
2.Nature, Human Nature, and Human Dignity in Light of the Primary Experience of the Cosmos
Response by Melissa Moschella
3.Natural Rights and History: Hugo Grotius’ Modern Translation of Aristotle
Jeremy Seth Geddert
Response by Jesse Covington
4.Categories and Causes: Physics and Politics for Aristotle and for Us
James R. Stoner, Jr.
Response by Christopher O. Tollefsen
5.Rousseau on Nature, Freedom and the Moral Life
Susan Meld Shell
Response by Geoffrey M. Vaughan
6.Nature, History and the Problem of Progress in H.G. Wells
Charles T. Rubin
Response by Amy Gilbert Richards
7.Nature in Louis Dupré’s Model of Modernity
Stephen M Fields, SJ
Response by Anna Bonta Moreland
8.From Pure Nature to Concrete Subject: The Question of God in the Secular Age
Randall S. Rosenberg
Response by Gregory R. Beabout
With this collection, philosopher R. J. Snell and political scientist Steven McGuire (both Eastern Univ.) investigate the differing conceptions of nature found in the Western philosophical tradition as a means of determining whether human nature can still serve as an effective standard for moral and political discourse. From its beginnings in classical philosophy to the Enlightenment, Western thought has been preoccupied with the idea of nature and its relation to human action. Though there is some reference to the medieval Christian contribution, most of the essays concentrate on the profound conflict between the ancients and the moderns on this issue. Because this was a central theme in the writings of Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, two masters of 20th-century political theory, it is not surprising that several essays reflect their influence. The collection also includes essays on some unfamiliar voices: there is a study of Louis Dupré’s treatment of modernity, an analysis of the idea of progress in H. G. Wells’s fiction, and an examination of secularism and the God question in the philosophy of Bernard Lonergan. This collection will provide more questions than answers, but the contributors should be applauded for asking the right questions. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.
— Choice Reviews
[This book] is a fine example of Voegelin scholars engaging with a range of academic voices, and on a perennial topic of crucial philosophical and historical importance.
This diverse and compelling collection of essays is unfashionably oriented around the truth. Is the modern understanding of nature really true? Can the premodern—especially classical—views of nature be shown to have been displaced for inadequate reasons and so can become relevant alernatives for us? Can we return, in truth, to the primary experience of the cosmos that, say, Eric Voegelin finds in classical thought? If Aristotle's thought remains plausible, can be we return to his understanding of nature? Or can we reappropriate his idea of practical reason while retaining the modern distinction between nature and human freedom? This excellent volume makes these questions real points of controversy for us today, displaying the kind of engagement that animates men and women convinced that the truth about nature really matters.
— Peter Augustine Lawler, Berry College
For modern human beings who are “lost in the cosmos,” the symbol “nature” is almost meaningless if not suspicious because it seems to undercut their sense of freedom and to place false and arbitrary limits on the scope of their technological pursuits. The contributors to this volume clarify what is at stake with the experience and symbol “nature” at a time when humanity’s place within it is at its greatest peril. Their efforts demonstrate its contemporary significance for ethical and political thinking.
— John von Heyking, University of Lethbridge