Toward a Naturalistic Political Theory: Aristotle, Hume, Dewey, Evolutionary Biology, and Deep Ecology

Toward a Naturalistic Political Theory: Aristotle, Hume, Dewey, Evolutionary Biology, and Deep Ecology

Toward a Naturalistic Political Theory: Aristotle, Hume, Dewey, Evolutionary Biology, and Deep Ecology

Toward a Naturalistic Political Theory: Aristotle, Hume, Dewey, Evolutionary Biology, and Deep Ecology

Synopsis

Hoy seeks to establish a basis for a naturalistic political theory as a continuity from Aristotle through the Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment contributions of HUme and Dewey along with more recent development in Evolutionary Biology and Deep Ecology. He argues that this continuity can be seen as a corrective to inadequacies in both the reductive naturalism of classical liberalism as well as radical historicism or cultural relativism.

Excerpt

Aristotelian Naturalism: Classical Categories and Reconstructive Orientation

Contemporary political theory has been characterized by a striking renewal of interest in Aristotle due to a growing disillusionment with the individualistic-utilitarianism premises of classical liberalism. This development is evident not only among so-called communitarian critics of liberalism, but exponents of a reconstructive liberalism who would seek to salvage the authentic achievement of the Enlightenment from its distortions and errors. But if one is to take seriously the viability of Aristotle’s ethical-political theory as a resource of clarification of contemporary problems, it is necessary to confront the critical objection mounted by John Wallach. It is Wallach’s view that the current forms of Aristotelian renewal are a “curious development” in view of how Aristotle’s metaphysical naturalism was a resistance to scientific advance of modernity and how it was applied to a wide range of social, racial, and sexual prejudices. What the current Aristotelian renewal entails, he believes, is a “depoliticizing” and “dehistoricizing” of Aristotle’s writings, disconnecting the

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