ABOUT THIS BOOK
From the beginning the French philosopher Claude Lefort has set himself the task of interpreting the political life of modern society-and over time he has succeeded in elaborating a distinctive conception of modern democracy that is linked to both historical analysis and a novel form of philosophical reflection. This book, the first full-scale study of Lefort to appear in English, offers a clear and compelling account of Lefort's accomplishment-its unique merits, its relation to political philosophy within the Continental tradition, and its great relevance today.
Much of what passes for political philosophy in our day is merely politicized philosophical concepts, a distinction author Bernard Flynn underscores as he describes the development of Lefort's truly political philosophy-its ideas formed in response to his own political experience and to the work of certain major figures within the tradition of political thought. Beginning with Lefort's most important single work, his book on Machiavelli, Flynn presents the philosopher's conceptions of politics, modernity, and interpretation in the context within which they took shape. He then draws on a wide variety of Lefort's works to explicate his notions of premodern and modern democracy in which totalitarianism, in Lefort's singular and highly influential theory, is identified as a permanent problem of modernity.
A valuable exposition of one of the most important Continental philosophers of the post-World War II period, Flynn's book is itself a noteworthy work of interpretive philosophy, pursuing the ideas and issues addressed by Lefort to a point of unparalleled clarity and depth.