"WHAT’S WRONG WITH OCKHAM? Reassessing the Role of Nominalism in the Dissolution of the West," By Joshua P. Hochschild
Unlike many other well-known medieval thinkers, Ockham was not a theologian; he remained throughout his career a teacher of “arts,” which is to say, of philosophy, and he is known primarily as a logician. It is in this area that Ockham can truly be said to be an innovator, and it is here that we need to turn to grasp what is meant by his “nominalism.”
"Pluralism and the Pragmatic Liberal Tradition," by Gary Bullert
A recent attempt to respond to liberalism’s critics – at least those who argue on bases similar to MacIntyre – offers an alternative set of liberal principles rooted in the life and work of the pragmatist philosopher, John Dewey. Ostensibly, scholars who pursue this believe that Dewey-related pragmatism brings to liberal democracy a basis for communitarian political liberalism that is more robust than that of Rawls.
"The Roots of Political Community: Thumos and Tradition in Ancient Greek Thought," By J. Christopher Paskewich
This essay argues that thumos uncovers the nature and character of “the political.” Many essential and constitutive aspects of the political realm have their roots in the thumotic element of human nature. Specifically, thumos guides how the political realm inevitably emerges from individual interaction, how the political is sustained, and what dangers the political faces. Thumos is the basis for patriotism, for developing a common good or standard for a community, and for preserving law and order, all of which are essential to political life. However, thumos’ momentum eventually drives it out of control in an aggressive “snowball effect:” when given an inch, thumos takes a foot. Patriotism becomes jingoism, religious solidarity leads to religious persecution, and the preservation of justice becomes an excuse to punish diversity. At this point, it becomes a political liability and must be controlled.
"Seeing America in the Spirit of Tocqueville: A Conversation on Democracy in America with Harvey Mansfield," By Harvey Mansfield, Chris Barker, and Tao Wang
This interview was conducted with Harvey Mansfield of Harvard University by Tao Wang, who teaches modern Chinese history at Fudan University, and Chris Barker, who teaches political science at Southwestern College.[1] Through a series of questions about Alexis de Tocqueville’s interpretation of American formal institutions and American public and private life, the interviewers intended to capture Professor Mansfield’s understanding of what it is like to see democracy and America from the perspective of Tocqueville–to “see by doing,” which is to see democracy “in” America, and therefore to see America conservatively, in light of the existing facts of democratic life. Below, Professor Mansfield calls what is seen “the fact of freedom.” Tocqueville’s understanding of this fact is explored and compared with the understanding of other liberal thinkers.
"The Paradoxes of the Body in Everyman, Nemesis, and The Humbling," By Lee Trepanier
In a period of less than five years, Philip Roth has published four short novels in rapid succession: Everyman (2006), Indignation (2008), The Humbling (2009), and Nemesis (2010).[1] Roth himself claims that these are his last novels – “To tell you the truth, I’m done” – and plans to spend his remaining years rereading “all of my books beginning with the last, ‘Nemesis.’”[2] For Roth, “What the stories all have in common . . . is the cataclysm. Here are four men of different ages, brought down.”[3] The protagonists in Roth’s four novels are confronted with death in their lives whether it is by aging, war, polio, or suicide. According to Victoria Aarons, these novels “show the consequences of the thwarted desire to live out counterlives, wishful yearning of characters who imagine themselves living other lives, other selves.”[4] Fearing death, these characters attempt to reinvent their lives but fail and therefore judge their lives severely as one marked by past mistakes and missed opportunities. . . . In this essay I explore the body as a site of how Roth’s characters encounter the world as one of disappointment, decay, and death.