Metaphysical Necessity: Or Metaphysical Platonism

Metaphysical necessity, or foundationalism, is one of the central questions of philosophy and the most important concept in Platonism. Metaphysical necessity asserts that everything that exists, to avoid epistemological nihilism, must have a foundation. Plato asserted that this foundation is the realm of the forms, or ideas. From Plato to Hegel, metaphysical necessity has been … Continue reading Metaphysical Necessity: Or Metaphysical Platonism

Edmund Burke’s Critique of the French Revolution

Edmund Burke looms large in the history of political philosophy and the philosophy of critique for a divided legacy of either being the first modern conservative or a very moderate liberal.  Likewise, he offered up one of the first systematic critiques of the French Revolution which began the “Pamphlet Wars” in England which divided the … Continue reading Edmund Burke’s Critique of the French Revolution

Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Among Immanuel Kant’s famous essays is his essay “To Eternal Peace” (alternatively titled “On Perpetual Peace”).  In this essay, published in 1795 right at the onset of the French Revolutionary Wars, Kant follows up on his philosophy of history by offering deep contemplation on the nature of unfolding history and constitutions to peace among nations.  … Continue reading Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Rousseau: The Social Contract, III

The third book of Rousseau’s Social Contract is the most theoretical and philosophical.  On one hand it covers familiar ground: the forms of government (democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy), how any form of government can be a “republic” (in the traditional sense of pertaining or relating to the public thing), why there are no pure democracies, … Continue reading Rousseau: The Social Contract, III

Locke’s Law of Nature: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?

One of the great debates of scholarship surrounding Locke is his “natural law” or law of nature theory.  There are those that argue he stands squarely within the Ciceronian-Augustinian-Thomistic tradition wherein the natural law is not only moral, but it will, at end, produce happiness for us.  There are others who claim otherwise – that … Continue reading Locke’s Law of Nature: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?

Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part V

In finishing the first part of Thomas Hobbes’s magisterial and path breaking work Leviathan, we are transitioning out of Hobbes’s anthropology and state of nature and toward the artificial construction that is the political.  The rise of covenant political theory is foundational to political liberalism, and Chapters 14-16 deal with what Hobbes means by covenant … Continue reading Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part V

Locke: From Self-Preservation to Property

John Locke is one of the most important modern philosophers.  He contributed, most famously – though often misunderstood by people who name-drop him – to political philosophy; but Locke also made important contributions to philosophy more broadly (including epistemology, theology, and labor theory in economics).  I have a comprehensive summary of Locke’s Second Treatise which … Continue reading Locke: From Self-Preservation to Property