By Harvey C. Mansfield

ISBN-10: 1497645107

ISBN-13: 9781497645103

Behind the day-by-day headlines on presidential races and native elections is the idea of the polity—or what the tip of our politics will be. Harvard's Harvey C. Mansfield, one in all America's best political theorists, explains why our quest for the great existence needs to tackle the kind of executive we search to uphold. He directs our gaze to the thinkers and philosophies and vintage works that experience proved so much influential during the ages.

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Sample text

To be sure, the ideological motivation of Marx’s adversaries needs no further explanation beyond the self-evident hostility of its negative posture. The position of “vulgar-Marxism,” however, is much more complicated than that. For the views of its representatives range from the fatalistic determinism of the Second International to the subjective voluntarism of Stalin and his followers, and well beyond; all the way down to the paradoxical voluntarism of “structuralist Marxism,” which manages to combine a mechanical conception of determination and “homology” with a complete depreciation of the subject of socio-historical action.

As already mentioned, philosophy, according to Marx, had to play a vital role in the process of self-emancipation. However, in order to be able to do so, first it had to emancipate itself from the tyranny of its own mystifications and preconceptions, grounding itself at every level—from the most immediate and particular propositions to the most abstract categories and generalizations—in the real historical dynamics of social being. The materialist conception of history was meant to provide precisely such grounding.

And this is only the outer perimeter of the web of tautologies from which the Popperian “refutation” is constructed. The next circle is spun by definitionally—and, of course, arbitrarily—separating the production of knowledge from the social and historical conditions of its production, so as to be able to oppose this artificially disembodied knowledge to social/historical developments and determinations. To be sure, this kind of disembodied knowledge is immune to social influences and to the possibility of prediction.

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A Student's Guide to Political Philosophy by Harvey C. Mansfield


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