By James V. Schall
"Pleads eloquently for the recovery of politicalphilosophy to the principal place it as soon as occupied in ourtradition, and it demanding situations political philosophy itself toremain precise to its nature...".An attentive reader will getfrom this stimulating e-book clever guideline on what's worthfighting for and at the limits of the prospective in politicalaction".
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Additional info for At the Limits of Political Philosophy: From "Brilliant Errors" to Things of Uncommon Importance
St. Thomas wrote a detailed Commentary on Aristotle's Ethics and began one on his Politics. He paid careful attention to what Aristotle had to say. Under the guidance of Aristotle, the political was seen not as a result of evil, but as itself good and necessary. Yet, Aquinas agreed with St. Augustine that actual disorder had to be accounted for and that it was to be located in the will. Aquinas sought to resolve these differing approaches in one unified order. St. Thomas took up all the questions in Aristotle-those of friendship, justice, law, and virtue.
To understand history as the effort to establish down the ages one actual, though fleeting, regime that is "the best," might be possible. But it is unlikely that this one actual best regime could justify the existence of all actual but imperfect regimes. This unlikelihood of the best regime implied that it was precarious to define actual human life solely in terms of the best regime. Socrates' denial that it was possible or advisable to establish in fact the best regime, however, left all actual regimes in their disorders and imperfections.
These were the very aspects of man that, for the classical Greeks, made man political. In post-Aristotelian systems, man shows his superiority to nature and the polity by not allowing either to affect him. Perfection Sequence 37 is a-political and independent of anything but the inner human will. We are to show our superiority by being "a-pathetic," that is, by not allowing anything to affect us, even our passions. Aristotle maintained that passions existed, should be ruled, and were in themselves good and indicative of virtue's subject and possibility.