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Posts tagged ‘book review’

On Thomas Pangle’s New Book: Reading as Eristic

I read Thomas Pangle’s new book, Aristotle’s Teaching in the Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2013), with both great interest and suspicion.  With great interest because with Pangle, I think the Politics needs to be read creatively and imaginatively–an approach which many people seem willing to use in reading Plato but much more reticent to employ in reading Aristotle.  With suspicion because I realized early on in the monograph that Pangle was a Straussian, someone who thinks there are two levels of writing and reading at work–one wherein Aristotle speaks to the common reader and one wherein Aristotle writes for what Pangle calls “the morally serious reader.”  This kind of bifurcation of the world of thinkers and readers worries me for philosophical and political readings.  I began writing this post with the effort to criticize that reading strategy, and I finished realizing that Pangle’s reading of Aristotle was highly provocative, but it didn’t need the Straussian reading approach to get there.  Resorting to that approach explained some difficulties, but also testified to Aristotle’s explicit effort to take into account many varied and competing positions on the meaning of the political and the role of the philosophical. Read more