From The Claremont Institute: ‘Have A Nice Millenium’

Full review here.

Our author also reviewed Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.

‘For Pinker, modern life is marked by ever increasing circles of reciprocity, encompassing wider and wider groups of people. These interactions encourage habits of self-control and cultivate a deeper respect for others. We are not, however, more empathetic than our ancestors, just more reasonable—better equipped to engage in scientific and abstract reasoning; and he cites claims that I.Q. scores have risen over the past century. Greater intelligence has produced a greater receptivity to liberalism, defined as a respect for personal autonomy and liberty, and quite simply better behavior, reflected by an aversion to the sort of cruelty and violence that was formerly commonplace. Pinker dismisses even our “recent ancestors” as “morally retarded.’

Thanks to a reader for the link.  Here’s Reason’s interview with Pinker a while back about the book in question:


Related On This Site: What about a World Leviathan?: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘

Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department

Snyder is perhaps not a fan of libertarianism Timothy Snyder Responds To Steven Pinker’s New Book At Foreign Policy: ‘War No More: Why The World Has Become More Peaceful’

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Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’

Full piece here. (passed along by a reader).

According to Jaffa:

“Strauss’s critique of modern philosophy, as it seemed to me, was directed above all towards overcoming what he often called the self-destruction of reason, so that the authority equally of classical philosophy and the Bible, with respect to virtue and morality, might be restored. This restoration, I am convinced, is also nothing less than the restoration of the perspective of the American Founding.”

Is this analysis unnecessarily drawing philosophy into the political realm as Strauss was careful to argue against?  As Jaffa might argue:  is it freeing philosophy and religion from the passion of politics?…or at least from one of the main targets, which is the fusion of reason and revelation into states that can sink into potential tyranny these past few hundred years?

Here’s a quote from a letter Jaffa received (included at the link), which I think attempts to highlight one of the roles of Plato’s metaphysics (providing a metaphysical foundation for moral instruction and knowledge):

“In Plato (and still more in Aristotle) one can see the philosophers replacing the poets (and/or the sophists) — and the gods of the poets (and/or the sophists) — as the source of a non-contradictory moral instruction. Of course, the philosophers will not rule directly but through the new breed of sophists and poets resulting from their influence upon education; or, as in the case of Aristotle, through the gentlemen whose education they will supervise. But the God of the Bible is immune to Plato’s critique of paganism, for reasons I have already (I think) made sufficiently clear.”

Does the analysis lean too heavily on philosophical idealism?  Can Plato do all that heavy lifting for our times, or is that asking too much of philosophy as well?

Also On This Site:  A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Via An Emailer: Some Criticism Of Leo Strauss?

Nussbaum is a deep thinker, drawing on Aristotle among others, how would the analysis above see her?:    From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum

From Bloggingheads: Adam Frank And Eliezer Yudkowsky Discuss The Epistemology Of Science When revelation and reason go hand in hand?  Should math be non-instrumental, and free of such Platonisms?

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