Antinomic prudence: a practical wisdom not rooted in an explicit return to the Aristotelian doctrine but instead in the knowledge, drawn from the social sciences and sustained reflection on the antinomies of human existence, about the limits of our power to transform the human world. While Aron hints through his phenomenological exploration of the political world at a philosophical conception of natural right, he does not flesh out that hint with a philosophical teaching, preferring to remain on the terrain of politics. That said, Aron's prudence is preferable to its alternatives of Machiavellian realism and utopian idealism. It is more in tune with the structure of the political and moral universe, where the uncertainty of human action is the first certainty, and political reason the best hope for preserving the genuine human goods made possible by political practice, than its feasible alternatives. It recommends "that we gradually improve what exists" rather than demolishing what exists in the vain hope that perfection can be built from rubble. Aron's antinomic prudence is an expression of his conservative liberalism, balanced between the demands of universality and the need for community, a political morality for an imperfect, and imperfectly knowable world. It is the voice of a modern Montesquieu that speaks through the pages of Peace and War.29
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Publication information: Book title: Community and Political Thought Today. Contributors: Peter Augustine Lawler - Editor, Dale McConkey - Editor. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 233.
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