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Political Philosophy Cross-Examined: Perennial Challenges to the Philosophic Life
Political Philosophy Cross-Examined: Perennial Challenges to the Philosophic Life
Pangle and Lomax, 2013

Political societies frequently regard philosophers as potential threats to morality and religion and even subject these thinkers to the gravest inquisitions and indictments. Socrates was executed for disbelieving in the gods of Athens, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was charged with capital crimes for his anti-Christian teachings, Galileo Galilei was found "vehemently suspect" of heresy, compelled to recant, and sentenced to incarceration for life. The contributors to Political Philosophy Cross-Examined aspire to reopen the case for the philosophic way of life while fully appreciating the harsh attacks advanced by its most fervent detractors. In an age where extremist movements, existentialism, and postmodernist thought challenge the authority of reason, the book is a seminal contribution to current literature on philosophy, politics, history, classics, and religion alike.
An outstanding book that addresses a permanent question: can philosophy defend itself against the most compelling opponents? Because it is a permanent question, and a question that many are simply unaware of in our age, it is a particularly timely collection, and deserves to find a mainstream readership.
"The outstanding essays in this collection address a question that is central in our time, or any time. Can philosophy, the way of life governed by the uncompromising use of reason, defend itself adequately against rivals who claim that it is immoral, irreligious, impossible, or illusory?"
-Mark Blitz, Fletcher Jones Professor of Political Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College, USA
"From the admirers of Leo Strauss to those of Pierre Hadot, students of classical philosophy are today rediscovering the idea of philosophy as a way of life - and 'ways of life' as a philosophical question. But as this stimulating book shows, those questions have been debated throughout the Western philosophical tradition, down to the modern age. By throwing a light on the centuries' long conversion about alternative ways of life, from pure inquiry to political engagement to religious devotion to serene solitude, the authors lead us to ask: what exactly would it mean to live a philosophical life today? And how would it stand in relation to the other ways of life available in modern democracy? A thought-provoking volume."
-Mark Lilla, Professor, Columbia University, USA