The Voegelinian Revolution: A Biographical Introduction

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Transaction Publishers, 2000 M01 1 - 299 pages
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Over the past half-century, Eric Voegelin has produced a demanding body of writing on the philosophy of history and the history of political theory since antiquity. This is the first full-scale treatment of his inquiry into the reality of man's political existence. It includes close readings of the texts, with Voegelin's own comments on them interspersed, offering a thorough explication of the philosopher's quest.

Incorporating an "Autobiographical Memoir" prepared in collaboration with Voegelin especially for the volume, Ellis Sandoz interweaves the events of this great thinker's life with the philosophical inquiry to which that life has been devoted. Among the uniquely engaging biographical subjects covered are Voegelin's reminiscences of his involvement with such seminal minds as Max Weber, and with Karl Kraus, Hans Kelsen, and other lights of Vienna's intellectual community of the 1920s and 1930s; a full discussion of his early responses to national socialism and his escape from the Anschluss in 1938; and a summary of his early years in America, with particular attention to the years at Louisiana State University with Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, and Robert Heilman.

Carefully analyzing Voegelin's contribution to our understanding of ourselves, Sandoz convincingly argues that Voegelin's achievement is revolutionary. He emphasizes the common sense running through Voegelin's thought, and reveals how Voegelin reached a new analysis of reality and provides us with a new science of human affairs. Sandoz does not reveal the "truth to end the quest for truth," but shows how such "stop history" answers are defective. Exploring the meaning of that "first truth" as it has been intellectually and spiritually unraveled by one of our century's leading thinkers, Voegelinian Revolution shows anyone interested in politics and human affairs how to follow Voegelin's path. This book will be of interest to historians, political theorists, students of philosophy and religion, and educated readers concerned about the plight of American/Western civilization and looking for a new view on our current "crisis."

Ellis Sandoz, the Hermann Moyse, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University and a former chairman of the department, is director of the Eric Voegelin Institute for American Renaissance Studies.

 

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Contents

A Starting Point Common Sense and the New Science
6
Biography and the Course of Thought to 1938
33
Americanization A Scholars Pilgrimage to 1981
71
The Science of History and Politics 1952
90
History and Its Order 1957
116
Myth Philosophy and Consciousness 1966
143
Phncipia Noetica The Voegelinian Revolution 1981 and Beyond
188
The Vision of the Whole
217
Epilogue
253
Bibliographic Note
279
Works by Eric Voegelin 19221981
281
Index
289
Copyright

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Page vii - A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
Page 14 - Thereby, modern philosophy has been ruined. It has oscillated in a complex manner between three extremes. There are the dualists, who accept matter and mind as on an equal basis, and the two varieties of monists, those who put mind inside matter, and those who put matter inside mind. But this juggling with abstractions can never overcome the inherent confusion introduced by the ascription of misplaced concreteness to the scientific scheme of the seventeenth century.
Page 19 - There is a certain degree of it which is necessary to our being subjects of law and government, capable of managing our own affairs, and answerable for our conduct towards others : this is called common sense, because it is common to all men with whom we can transact business, or call to account for their conduct.
Page vii - Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and •wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
Page 13 - Every passion is mortified by it, except the love of truth; and that passion never is, nor can be, carried to too high a degree. It is surprising, therefore, that this philosophy, which, in almost every instance, must be harmless and innocent. should be the subject of so much groundless reproach and obloquy.

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