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The New Science of Politics: An Introduction (Walgreen Foundation Lectures) Paperback – August 15, 1987

ISBN-13: 978-0226861142 ISBN-10: 0226861147 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Walgreen Foundation Lectures
  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (August 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226861147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226861142
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at the time of his death. He is the author of numerous books in addition to his major five-volume work Order and History.

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Customer Reviews

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His work provided the conceptual framework that I was looking for.
Stephen M. Prescott
Voegelin is a great thinker, and his works in this volume provide a different, and yet very profound way of looking at modern Western society.
TEK
He includes a good discussion of the leviathanic state of Thomas Hobbes.
New Age of Barbarism

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Jas. Murphy on September 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eric Voegelin, who died in 1985, is one of the giants of intellectual history and political philosophy. Unfortunately, he is far less well-recognized outside of a small scholarly community than some of the poseurs who foist quack theories on the public under the guise of "political philosophy." The New Science of Politics, based on Voegelin's Walgreen Lectures, can be read as a theoretical companion to his magisterial Order and History, a five-volume elaboration of the theories presented here. Voegelin provides an examination of political community and its representations through symbolic appropriation and the underlying basis of political order throughout history. Equally, Voegelin deals with misappropriation of symbols in the form of Gnosticism, which emerged at the dawn of the middle ages. His diagnostic exercise leads to an examination of modernity, which is characterized by advance and decline, the nature of of our own times. Modernist movements such as Nazism and Communism embody gnostic misappropriation of the symbolization of order. Writing in the immediate postwar period as an Austrian refugee from Hitler, with a command of ancient and modern philosophy and history and access to documentation in a dozen languages, Voegelin both lays the foundation for a return to the Aristotelean tradition of political philosophy and analysis and provides the personal witness of a research physician who has examined the patient at close hand. There is no better short book in our times for accomplishing Dr. Johnson's admonition to clear your mind of cant, or providing a sound basis for recognizing the corruption of intellectual and personal standards in current politics and scholarship, or the infection of scholarship by extremist politics.Read more ›
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Eric Voegelin was one of the most learned scholars of the 20th century. This work, which goes beyond what might be considered a "science of politics," is a fairly complete exposition of some of the central themes of philosophy, particularly how they relate to politics. Voegelin's thesis is (in part) roughly as follows: Christianity, particularly in its Augustinian version, dedivinzed the universe. In this process, man saw his limited, creaturely role. However, various revolutionary movements arose which sought to redivinize man and society. These movements were largely "gnostic" in orientation. This gnosticism can be seen in the revolutionary philosophies of our time, such as Comteianism, Marxism, and Nazism. "These Gnostic experiences . . . are the core of the redivinization of society, for the men who fall into these experiences divinize themselves by substituting more massive modes of participation in divinity for faith in the Christian sense." [p. 124.] One gnostic phenomenon Voegelin calls "immanitizing the eschaton" in which revolutionaries attempt to create utopia on earth. They often follow a version of Joachim's "three ages" scheme: for example, Comte's approach to history (theological, metaphysical, and scientific phases); the Marxian three stages of society (primitive, class-based, and communistic); and Nazism with its "Third Reich." [pps. 112-13.]
Voegelin's learning is nothing short of astounding. He is at ease discussing topics as diverse as ancient philosophy, the inscriptions of King Darius I, the Mongol Orders of Submission, and various Puritan literature.
There are a couple problems with this work.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By TEK on March 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of you who are new to Voegelin perhaps a word generally about his work will be helpful. Voegelin was born in Cologne, Germany in 1901. In 1938, he and his wife fled from Germany to the United States. From this context alone it is not surprising that Voegelin is very critical of the Nazis in particular and totalitarian regimes in general. What is perhaps more surprising to those who first come across Voegelin is his claim that regimes such as the Nazis are derivatives of such generally loved intellectual movements as the Enlightenment and Progressivism.

Taken together, the three works published in this volume provide a good basis for understanding how Voegelin comes to this conclusion. In this regard, "The New Science of Politics" is probably the most comprehensive work of the three. However, I would make two suggestions to those who are considering tackling this volume. First, read the first and third (that is, "The Political Religions" and "Science, Politics, and Gnosticism") before reading "The New Science of Politics". I think that the first and third pieces are much easier to read, even though they are less encompassing overall. Second, read "The New Science of Politics" twice. I read that installment for the first time about a year ago and I feel that I understood a lot more the second time around.

Voegelin is a great thinker, and his works in this volume provide a different, and yet very profound way of looking at modern Western society. I think Voegelin's construction of Gnosticism is right on as a critique of the modern psyche. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to explore the work of Voegelin; this is a great place to start. The writing is fairly difficult, but you don't have to understand everything to take a lot from this book.
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