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Reason, Revelation, and the Civic Order

Political Philosophy and the Claims of Faith

Paul R. DeHart, Carson Holloway

Publication Year: 2014

While the dominant approaches to the current study of political philosophy are various, with some friendlier to religious belief than others, almost all place constraints on the philosophic and political role of revelation. Mainstream secular political theorists do not entirely disregard religion. But to the extent that they pay attention, their treatment of religious belief is seen more as a political or philosophic problem to be addressed rather than as a positive body of thought from which we might derive important insights about the nature of politics and the truth of the human condition.

In a one-of-a-kind collection, DeHart and Holloway bring together leading scholars from various fields, including political science, philosophy, and theology, to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy and to demonstrate the role that religion can and does play in political life. Contributing authors include such important thinkers as Peter Augustine Lawler, Robert C. Koons, J. Budziszewski, Francis J. Beckwith, and James Stoner.

Published by: Northern Illinois University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-2

In the course of completing this project, we have accumulated many debts that can never be repaid but can only be acknowledged joyfully and with our unreserved gratitude. This book was first conceived in conversations that took place in Princeton, New Jersey, during the summer of 2009. The setting for these conversations was that year’s...

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Carson Holloway and Paul R . DeHart

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pp. 3-14

This book offers a variety of essays exploring the contribution that revelation, or faith in revelation, can make to the practice of political theory or political philosophy. Its aim is to remedy what we take to be an unjustifiable neglect of the claims of revelation by mainstream secular political theory. Such an undertaking must immediately...

Part I. Believing in Order to Understand

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1. Heinrich Meier's Straussian Refutation of Revelation

Carson Holloway

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pp. 17-32

Is belief in divine revelation reasonable? Such belief surely cannot command simply rational assent, in the sense of a conviction that follows upon rational demonstration: belief in revelation depends in part upon accepting historical claims from the distant past that are no longer subject to independent verification. Indeed, religious...

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2. Political Philosophy after the Collapse of Classical, Epistemic Foundationalism

Paul R . DeHart

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pp. 33-63

Standard approaches to the practice of political philosophy debar (directly or by implication) the invocation of theological propositions or narratives or what might be called religious reasons. Insofar as one is a political philosopher, one is to set religious convictions aside (supposing for the moment one entertains any such convictions...

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3. Eros and Agape Revisited

Robert C. Koons

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pp. 64-76

Anders Nygren (1890–1978), the professor of theology and bishop of Lund, Sweden, was the author of one of the most influential books in twentieth-century theology: Agape and Eros, published in 1930–38 in Swedish and eventually in English and seven other languages.1 Nygren’s work contains a trenchant statement of the...

Part II. Faith and the Foundations of Political Order

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4. The Strange Second Life of Confessional States

J. Budziszewski

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pp. 79-98

Liberal political thinkers who wish to push faith out of the public square conjure up the frightening apparition of a confessional state. In reality, a certain sort of confessional state is just what Liberal political theory proposes and has very nearly achieved: A Liberal confessional state, which, being Liberal, must describe itself as...

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5. Defending the Personal Logos Today

Peter Augustine Lawler

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pp. 99-118

Few sophisticated people deny the reality of free persons these days. Nor do they deny that the significance of the free person is the “bottom line” when it comes to moral reasoning and public policy choices. The feminist may, in her proud atheism, say that Darwin explains it all, but she also proudly refuses to be determined...

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6. Pierre Manent

Ralph C. Hancock

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pp. 119-133

Pierre Manent (b. 1949) has been praised very plausibly as the greatest living political philosopher. Raised in a committed communist family, he converted to Catholic Christianity in his youth. In his intellectual formation he benefited richly from the French national educational meritocracy and from that system’s then still robust...

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7. Catholicism and the Constitution

James R . Stoner, Jr.

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pp. 134-148

In January 1899, Pope Leo XIII issued an apostolic letter denouncing certain “new opinions” known under the name “Americanism.” The gist of these opinions was that, in the pope’s words, “in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age...

Part III. Faith and Contemporary Political Thought

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8. Beholden to Revelation?

Micah Watson

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pp. 151-172

Few would doubt that evangelicals play an important role in American politics and culture. Less certain is how to understand, measure, and predict that role. From an external point of view, serious questions about what constitutes an evangelical complicate attempts to draw politically salient conclusions about a self-identifying...

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9. Fides, Ratio et Juris

Francis J. Beckwith

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pp. 173-202

Religious citizens, like their nonreligious compatriots, attempt to shape public policy in order to advance what they believe is the common good. Critics have suggested that there is something untoward with such activism, since the positions advocated by these citizens are informed by their religious beliefs. Some of these critics...

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10. Richard Rorty’s Secular Gods and Unphilosophic Philosophers

Luigi Bradizza

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pp. 203-222

In his later years, Richard Rorty softened his stance toward religion. He came to accept that religious believers could be important allies in pursuit of his political project of community, love, individual flourishing, and the diminution of cruelty. However, Rorty’s subordination of religious belief to his politics comes at the cost...

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11. Converting Secularism

R. J. Snell

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pp. 223-238

In his classic analysis of intellectuals under the Soviet regime, Czeslaw Milosz borrows from a 1932 Polish novel, Insatiability, and its portrayal of European decadence: “nothing but a study of decay: mad, dissonant music; erotic perversion; widespread use of narcotics; dispossessed thinking.” Already stricken by anomie, the denizens...

Contributor Biographies

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pp. 239-242


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pp. 243-254

E-ISBN-13: 9781609091576
E-ISBN-10: 1609091574
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875804842
Print-ISBN-10: 0875804845

Page Count: 270
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 879927552
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Reason, Revelation, and the Civic Order