Edmund Burke and Constitutional Historicity

Shortly after the French Revolution began, and not far removed from the adoption of the American constitution, there appeared a pamphlet by the title Reflections on the Revolution in France. Edmund Burke’s publication inaugurated the pamphlet wars in Britain. It also established his reputation as the father of “modern conservatism”—though he is certainly not the first … Continue reading Edmund Burke and Constitutional Historicity

Heidegger and the Crisis of Philosophy

Martin Heidegger rose to prominence with the publication of his magisterial ontological treatise Being and Time.  The work opens with a reflection on the nature of being, “Being is the most universal concept,” Heidegger declares, and that the question of being “has today been forgotten.”  Why did Heidegger write his seemingly incomprehensible work and to … Continue reading Heidegger and the Crisis of Philosophy

Hegel on History, IV: The Age of Freedom and End of History

We last left off with Hegel’s philosophy of history with the failure of the Aristocratic Age to produce universal freedom.  If we recall, the Aristocratic Age, that age of great movement, creativity, and the arts, and the dialectic between the aristocrats and plebeians, failed because there was no notion that all men were equal.  This … Continue reading Hegel on History, IV: The Age of Freedom and End of History

Leo Strauss: The Three Waves of Modernity

Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was one of the most important historians of political philosophy in the 20th century.  A Jewish emigre to America in the 1930s, Strauss made his name as an exegete of the classics (Plato, Aristotle, and Thucydides especially; Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Maimonides among Arab-Islamic and Jewish medieval philosophers, and Sts. Augustine and Thomas … Continue reading Leo Strauss: The Three Waves of Modernity

Marx’s Dialectical Historicism

One of the core elements to Karl Marx’s philosophy was his dialectical materialism and historicism, which come together in his dialectical historicism.  Most people are probably familiar with it.  There are five distinct stages (or epochs) of history: slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism.  But the movement of history is not linear-progressive, it is cyclical; … Continue reading Marx’s Dialectical Historicism