Antiquity as the Source of Modernity: Freedom and Balance in the Thought of Montesquieu and Burke

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Transaction Publishers, 31.12.2011 - 151 Seiten
This is a book that contrary to common practice, shows the commonalities of ancient and modern theories of freedom, law, and rational actions. Studying the works of the ancients is necessary to understanding those that follow. Thomas Chaimowicz challenges current trends in research on antiquity in his examination of Montesquieu's and Burk's path of inquiry. He focuses on ideas of balance and freedom. Montesquieu and Burke believe that freedom and balance are closely connected, for without balance within a state there can be no freedom. When Montesquieu speaks of republics, he means those of antiquity as they were understood in the eighteenth century. In this view, freedom can develop only within the framework of established tradition. Edmund Burke's greatest service to political thought may lie in making use of this idea when he fought against the abstractions of the French Revolutionaries. Antiquity as the Source of Modernity examines Montesquieu's "Roman mind," meaning not an attitude influenced by the ancients, but one primarily influenced by Roman heritage. It speaks to the antithesis of monarchy and despotism in Montesquieu's thought and the influence of Tacitus and Pliny the Younger on him. The separation of powers and its relation to the concept of the mixed constitution as well as Montesquieu's smaller masterpiece Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans are examined in detail. Finally, the discussion leads seamlessly to Burke, who, as a critical admirer of Montesquieu, partly incorporated his interpretation of the English constitution into his own thinking threatened by teachings of the French Revolution and its British adherents. The central idea of Antiquity as the Source of Modernity is timeless. It is that the ancient past can lead to a clearer understanding of what follows. This perspective represents a reversal of the conventional procedures for conducting this kind of research, but it is a reversal that Chaimowicz embraces in order to add a new dimension to the study and impetration of both Montesquieu and Burke. This is the final work commissioned by the late Russell Kirk for his efforts on behalf of the Transaction Library of Conservative Thought.

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Inhalt

Introduction
1
Chaper I
9
Chaper II
35
Chaper III
51
Chaper IV
61
Chaper V
79
Chaper VI
103
Conclusion
129
Index
135
Urheberrecht

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Seite 83 - It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.
Seite 84 - Commentaries remarks, that this law of Nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this, and such of them as are valid, derive all their force, and all their validity, and all their authority, mediately and immediately, from this original...
Seite 83 - ... a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great...
Seite 128 - Far am I from denying in theory, full as far is my heart from withholding in practice, (if I were of power to give or to withhold,) the real rights of men. In denying their false claims of right, I do not mean to injure those which are real, and are such as their pretended rights would totally destroy.
Seite 93 - By this unprincipled facility of changing the state as often and as much and in as many ways as there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity of the commonwealth would be broken. No one generation could link with the other. Men would become little better than the flies of a summer.
Seite 83 - He have arbitrary power! My Lords, the East India Company have not arbitrary power to give him; the king has no arbitrary power to give him; your Lordships have not; nor the Commons, nor the whole legislature. We have no arbitrary power to give, because arbitrary power is a thing which neither .any man can hold nor any man can give.

Über den Autor (2011)

Thomas Chaimowicz was a distinguished visiting professor at the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein and honorary professor of Roman Lay at the University of Salzburg.

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