Liberty, Wisdom, and Grace

Liberty, Wisdom, and Grace : Thomism and Democratic Political Theory

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Twentieth-century French philosophers Jacques Maritain and Yves R. Simon pioneered new approaches to understanding and defending political democracy in the wake of two world wars. Rather than break from a religious tradition that seemed to struggle against modernity and certain forms of democratic theory and practice, these thinkers instead looked back to the philosophy of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to propel Catholic political philosophy forward. The profound influence of Maritain and Simon is manifest in the dramatic achievements of Vatican II and in the work of the scholars of political philosophy who learned from them. John P. Hittinger, one of the finest of these scholars, provides in Liberty, Wisdom, and Grace a comprehensive survey of the Thomists' contributions to contemporary political thought as well as a detailed analysis of their approach to democracy. Hittinger treats criticism of Maritain, including the work of Catholic political writer Aurel Kolnai, and discusses the alternative democratic visions of John Locke and David Richards. His portraits of thinkers who have wrestled with democracy in the Thomist tradition, such as Leo Strauss and John Paul II, are sensitive and engaging. Addressing questions of religion and philosophy broadly understood, the essays collected here offer a searching examination of democratic theory in the modern age.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 340 pages
  • 161.5 x 222.5 x 25.4mm | 494.42g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739104128
  • 9780739104125

About John P. Hittinger

John P. Hittinger is Provost and Academic Dean of St Mary's College of Ave Maria University. He is the editor of Reassessing the Liberal State: Reading Maritain's Man and the State (with Timothy Fuller, 2001) and Liberalism at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Contemporary Liberal Thought and its Critics (with Christopher Wolfe, Rowman and Littlefield, 1994).show more

Table of contents

Part 1 Preface Part 2 Jacques Maritain and Yves R. Simon: Responding to the Political Crisis of the Twentieth Century Chapter 3 The Political Philosophy of Jacques Maritain Chapter 4 On Virtue With Genius: The Achievement of Yves R. Simon (1903-1961) Part 5 Thomism, Liberty, and Democracy Chapter 6 Jacques Maritain and Yves R. Simon's Use of Thomas Aquinas in Their Defense of Liberal Democracy Chapter 7 Maritain's Evaluation of Bourgeois Liberalism Chapter 8 Three Philosophies of Human Rights: Locke, Richards, and Maritain Chapter 9 Why Locke Rejected an Ethics of Virtue and Turns to Utility Chapter 10 The Two Lockes: On the Foundation of Liberty in Locke Chapter 11 David A. J. Richards: Liberalism of the Autonomous Person Chapter 12 Approaches to Democratic Equality Chapter 13 Aurel Kolnai and the Metaphysics of Political Conservatism Part 14 Wisdom and Grace Chapter 15 John Paul II and the Exorcism of Descartes' Ghost Chapter 16 Maritain on the Intuition of Being Chapter 17 Marion Montgomery and the Poet's Recovery of Being Chapter 18 Newman, Theology, and the Crisis in Liberal Education Chapter 19 James V. Schall on Faith, Reason, and Politics Chapter 20 Maritain on the Cooperation of Church and Stateshow more

Review quote

Considered as a whole, these essays provide a comprehensive survey of the political thought of recent Thomist philosophers, Jacques Maritain-the book's central figure-and his colleague, Yves Simon, principally their understanding of the theory and practice of modern democracy. Journal of Markets & Morality Hittinger writes with insight and style... In reflecting on these 16 essays one can see the outlines of a Thomism for the democratic age. Claremont Review of Books Hittinger's confrontation with the subjects of this work is so intensely personal that to read them is to be drawn into a dialogue not only with the subject matter but also with Hittinger himself. It is a bracing and rewarding experience. Perspectives on Political Science This work establishes John Hittinger as one of the ost important political theorists of his generation writing from a Thomistic perspective. Standing on the shoulders of Jacques Maritain, Yves Simon, Leo Strauss, and Eric Vogelin, he establishes his own credentials as an equally sagacious social and political thinker... For a Thomist theory of democratic government and its implications for education, no better text is likely to be found. Review of Metaphysicsshow more