Edited by Aristide Tessitore
Despite the separation between classical and modern theories of government, contributors to Aristotle and Modern Politics find Aristotle a useful interlocutor for assessing both possibilities and limitations in contemporary politics. In this collection, noted political scientists, theologians, and philosophers discuss the magnitude of Aristotle’s presence in contemporary debate and demonstrate some of the ways in which Aristotle sheds new light on contemporary problems. This engaging book also exhibits the persistence of political philosophy at a time when the pervasive influence of “ideology” and “historicism” lead many to deny its possibility. Although the authors of these essays differ on the nature of Aristotle’s contribution, all are united by the conviction that he has something important to teach citizens of modern political societies.
If the fundamental principles of modern politics were drawn from critical reflections of reason over and against the imposition of authority under its various guises, modern politics can best sustain itself by nurturing the critical attitude that initially brought it into being. Paradoxically, serious engagement with the “preliberal” thought of Aristotle can render contemporary debate more fruitful by bringing to light subtle limitations in the political discourse of any era, including our own. If the modern understanding of freedom is primarily freedom to speak and think for oneself, the essays in Aristotle and Modern Politics exhibit the persistence of political philosophy by thinking beyond limits often constricting contemporary paradigms.
“[T]his eclectic collection of essays serves to illustrate the ways in which the perceived shortcomings of modern liberal politics can be understood, if not corrected, with reference to several of Aristotle’s writings. The success of this book is due, in large part, to its dialectical character. . . . [T]his is a very fine volume indeed. Its diverse elements come together to form a remarkable whole, one that makes its reading both pleasurable and informative. It also succeeds in sparking new and exciting debates.” — International Journal of the Classical Tradition
“. . . highly researched, well grounded in contemporary literature as well as in Aristotle, and highly readable. The authors show a rare ability to bring out the best in those whom they study. . . . highly recommended.” — Choice
“The serious revival of Aristotelianism is exemplified by Aristotle and Modern Politics, edited by Aristide Tessitore. The twelve essays presented here—all but two for the first time—aim to show what Aristotle has to teach us about community, virtue, law, economics, and the foundations of modern politics. In each case, the subject is not merely some Aristotelian hobbyhorse, but a matter of lively, even heated debate in contemporary scholarship on the meaning and value of liberalism.” — Perspectives on Political Science
“[T]his volume . . . performs a signal service. In addition to exploring how Aristotelian insights can be drawn upon to advance contemporary intellectual and policy debates, it also begins what is probably an overdue effort to correct misrepresentations of the authentic Aristotle by some of his recent champions.” — Claremont Review of Books
“The strength of this collection lies in the high quality of each contribution and of each contributor. . . . These essays embody much of the best Aristotelian political theory in America today. These are important essays on important topics and there is somthing here for everyone.” — Perspectives on Politics
“This is a distinguished volume. . . . [T]he scope and high quality of most of the essays demonstrate the strengths of the contemporary revival of Aristotelian political philosophy. [S]everal of the contributors are at the cutting edge of this revival. The general quality of the essays, the ways they explore an interesting variety of modern political themes from a classical perspective, and the implicit conversation among the essays make this volume uniquely useful for those interested in looking at contemporary life through the still powerful lens of classical political philosophy.” — Journal of Politics