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

Antonio Gramsci: The Role of Intellectuals

Antonio Gramsci was an early 20th century Italian Marxist philosopher and writer.  Imprisoned, he wrote much of his work from the jail cell (Prison Notebooks).  His theory of the intellectual and of cultural hegemony are among his two most notable ideas.  Cutting through all the Gramscian verboseness, we’ll examine Gramsci’s understanding of the intellectual and … Continue reading Antonio Gramsci: The Role of Intellectuals

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

Rousseau: On the Social Contract

One of the key aspects of Rousseau’s social contract theory is that, unlike with Hobbes and Locke, he really doesn’t explain why men embrace the social contract.  This is, again, because Rousseau takes the idealistic picture of humanity in the state of nature.  Man is born naturally good.  He is pure.  He is a moral … Continue reading Rousseau: On the Social Contract

Rousseau’s General Will

The topic of the general will is always a topic of Rousseauian studies.  It is central to his political theory.  It is the bedrock which unites the first two books of the Social Contract, conflating the social contract to be the general will itself.  So what is Rousseau’s general will? The general will is the … Continue reading Rousseau’s General Will