Teaching the Commons: Place, Pride, and the Renewal of Community

By Paul Theobald | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter One
1.
Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization ( New York: Doubleday, 1995), 39-40.
2.
To be fair, in fact, one might argue that the inward or individualist turn in the dominant worldview was due more to the interpretation of St. Augustine advanced by later liberal thinkers, most notably Rousseau, rather than to Augustinian political theory itself. The City of God, for instance, does not ignore the polis. St. Augustine's inward search for the source of things, many claim, is merely an attempt to put himself at harmony with all things. It is, generally speaking, The Confessions that people point to when referring to St. Augustine the individualist. See Henry Paolucci , The Political Writings of St. Augustine ( South Bend, Ind.: Gateway Editions, 1962).
3.
Jhn Rawls, Political Liberalism ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), xxiv-xxvi.
4.
Descartes' own words were actually "I am, I exist." The phrase "I think, therefore I am" was actually the work of a French translator of Descartes' Discourse on Method. Descartes accepted this translation, however. See Bernard Williams, Descartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry ( New York: Penguin Books, 1978), 72-73.
5.
Again, this is regrettably all too literal, although a century later Mary Wollstonecraft would have something to say, quite forcibly, about this. See her A Vindication of the Rights of Women ( New York: Penguin Books, 1992; originally published in 1792).
6.
René Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations ( Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960), 45.
7.
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments ( New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1969), 127.
8.
The idea that individuals could pursue their passions and in the process generate the common good is a huge departure from medieval thinking about the inherent evils connected to "avarice and cupidity." Converting greed into a virtue was not accomplished overnight and certainly not by Adam Smith alone. Similar arguments were made by Montesquieu in France, Vico in Italy, Herder in Germany, and Mandeville (prior to Smith) in England. For an excellent discussion of this transition, see Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977).

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