With Aristotle’s Teaching in the “Politics,” Thomas L. Pangle offers a masterly new interpretation of this classic philosophical work. It is widely believed that the Politics originated as a written record of a series of lectures given by Aristotle, and scholars have relied on that fact to explain seeming inconsistencies and instances of discontinuity throughout the text. Breaking from this tradition, Pangle makes the work’s origin his starting point, reconceiving the Politics as the pedagogical tool of a master teacher.
With the Politics, Pangle argues, Aristotle seeks to lead his students down a deliberately difficult path of critical thinking about civic republican life. He adopts a Socratic approach, encouraging his students—and readers—to become active participants in a dialogue. Seen from this perspective, features of the work that have perplexed previous commentators become perfectly comprehensible as artful devices of a didactic approach. Ultimately, Pangle’s close and careful analysis shows that to understand the Politics, one must first appreciate how Aristotle’s rhetorical strategy is inextricably entwined with the subject of his work.
The Laws of Plato
Plato University of Chicago Press, 1988 Library of Congress JC71.P2633 1988 | Dewey Decimal 321.07
The Laws, Plato's longest dialogue, has for centuries been recognized as the most comprehensive exposition of the practical consequences of his philosophy, a necessary corrective to the more visionary and utopian Republic. In this animated encounter between a foreign philosopher and a powerful statesman, not only do we see reflected, in Plato's own thought, eternal questions of the relation between political theory and practice, but we also witness the working out of a detailed plan for a new political order that embodies the results of Plato's mature reflection on the family, the status of women, property rights, criminal law, and the role of religion and the fine arts in a healthy republic.
"Because it succeeds in being both literal and comprehensive, it is by far superior to any translation available. By reproducing dramatic detail often omitted, such as oaths, hesitations, repetitions, and forms of address, Pangle allows the reader to follow the dialogue's interplay between argument and dramatic context. . . . Pangle's translation captures the excitement and the drama of Plato's text."—Mary P. Nichols, Ancient Philosophy
"Pangle's achievement is remarkable. . . . The accompanying interpretive essay is an excellent distillation of a dialogue three times its size. The commentary is thoughtful, even profound; and it amply demonstrates the importance of reading Plato carefully and from a translation that is true to his language."—Patrick Coby, American Political Science Review
This first comprehensive commentary on The Spirit of the Laws uncovers and explicates the plan of Montesquieu's famous but baffling treatise. Pangle brings to light Montesquieu's rethinking of the philosophical groundwork of liberalism, showing how The Spirit of the Laws enlarges and enriches the liberal conception of natural right by means of a new appeal to History as the source of basic norms.
This concise and accessible introduction to Strauss's thought provides, for wider audience, a bridge to his more complex theoretical work. Editor Pangle has gathered five of Strauss's previously unpublished lectures and five hard-to-find published writings and has arranged them so as to demonstrate the systematic progression of the major themes that underlay Strauss's mature work.
"[These essays] display the incomparable insight and remarkable range of knowledge that set Strauss's works apart from any other twentieth-century philosopher's."—Charles R. Kesler, National Review
The oeuvre of the Greek historian Xenophon, whose works stand with those of Plato as essential accounts of the teachings of Socrates, has seen a new surge of attention after decades in the shadows. And no one has done more in recent years to spearhead the revival than Thomas L. Pangle. Here, Pangle provides a sequel to his study of Xenophon’s longest account of Socrates, the Memorabilia, expanding the scope of inquiry through an incisive treatment of Xenophon’s shorter Socratic dialogues, the Economist, the Symposium, and the Apology of Socrates to the Jury. What Pangle reveals is that these three depictions of Socrates complement and, in fact, serve to complete the Memorabilia in meaningful ways.
Unlike the Socrates of Plato, Xenophon’s Socrates is more complicated and human, an individual working out the problem of what it means to live well and virtuously. While the Memorabilia defends Socrates by stressing his likeness to conventionally respectable gentlemen, Xenophon’s remaining Socratic texts offer a more nuanced characterization by highlighting how Socrates also diverges from conventions of gentlemanliness in his virtues, behaviors, and peculiar views of quotidian life and governmental rule. One question threads through the three writings: Which way of life best promotes human existence, politics, and economics—that of the Socratic political philosopher with his philosophic virtues or that of the gentleman with his familial, civic, and moral virtues? In uncovering the nuances of Xenophon’s approach to the issue in the Economist, Symposium, and Apology, Pangle’s book cements the significance of these writings for the field and their value for shaping a fuller conception of just who Socrates was and what he taught.
The Socratic Way of Life is the first English-language book-length study of the philosopher Xenophon’s masterwork. In it, Thomas L. Pangle shows that Xenophon depicts more authentically than does Plato the true teachings and way of life of the citizen philosopher Socrates, founder of political philosophy.
In the first part of the book, Pangle analyzes Xenophon’s defense of Socrates against the two charges of injustice upon which he was convicted by democratic Athens: impiety and corruption of the youth. In the second part, Pangle analyzes Xenophon’s account of how Socrates’s life as a whole was just, in the sense of helping through his teaching a wide range of people. Socrates taught by never ceasing to raise, and to progress in answering, the fundamental and enduring civic questions: what is pious and impious, noble and ignoble, just and unjust, genuine statesmanship and genuine citizenship. Inspired by Hegel’s and Nietzsche’s assessments of Xenophon as the true voice of Socrates, The Socratic Way of Life establishes the Memorabilia as the groundwork of all subsequent political philosophy.
The Spirit of Modern Republicanism sets forth a radical reinterpretation of the foundations on which the American regime was constructed. Thomas L. Pangle argues that the Founders had a dramatically new vision of civic virtue, religious faith, and intellectual life, rooted in an unprecedented commitment to private and economic liberties. It is in the thought of John Locke that Pangle finds the fullest elaboration of the principles supporting the Founders' moral vision.
"A work of extraordinary ambition, written with great intensity. . . . [Pangle offers] a trenchant analysis of Locke's writings, designed to demonstrate their remarkable originality and to clarify by doing so as much as the objective predicament as the conscious intentions of the Founding Fathers themselves."—John Dunn, Times Higher Education Supplement
"A forcefully argued study of the Founding Fathers' debt to Locke. . . . What distinguishes Pangle's study from the dozens of books which have challenged or elaborated upon the republican revision is the sharpness with which he exposes the errors of the revisionists while at the same time leaving something of substantive value for the reader to consider."—Joyce Appleby, Canadian Journal of History
"Breathtaking in its daring and novelty. . . . Pangle's book is tense and tenacious, a stunning meditation on America's political culture."—John Patrick Diggins, Transactions of the C. S. Peirce Society
The Spirit of the Laws—Montesquieu’s huge, complex, and enormously influential work—is considered one of the central texts of the Enlightenment, laying the foundation for the liberally democratic political regimes that were to embody its values. In his penetrating analysis, Thomas L. Pangle brilliantly argues that the inherently theological project of Enlightenment liberalism is made more clearly—and more consequentially— in Spirit than in any other work.
In a probing and careful reading, Pangle shows how Montesquieu believed that rationalism, through the influence of liberal institutions and the spread of commercial culture, would secularize human affairs. At the same time, Pangle uncovers Montesquieu’s views about the origins of humanity’s religious impulse and his confidence that political and economic security would make people less likely to sacrifice worldly well-being for otherworldly hopes. With the interest in the theological aspects of political theory and practice showing no signs of diminishing, this book is a timely and insightful contribution to one of the key achievements of Enlightenment thought.