The Institute of Philosophy, RCH, cordially invites you to the upcoming talk
Prudence, Moderation and Tradition: A Political Philosophy of Conservatism
The talk will be online.
This talk provides an overview of the speaker’s recently published book, entitled A Political Philosophy of Conservatism (2020). It will focus on the three concepts presented in the subtitle of the book: prudence, moderation and tradition. All the three are connected to the Ancient Greco-Roman and Christian tradition of European thought.
The last of the three terms is relatively unproblematic. It refers to the importance of communal knowledge for conservative politics, a form of tacit knowledge, a common sense, encoded in habits, customs and informal or formalised manners, including legal regulations, which is transferred from generation to generation in a given political community. The first two needs some further explanations.
Moderation will be presented as an appropriation of Aristotle’s teachings of the golden mean, as the most appropriate choice between two extremes. This idea is based in Aristotle on a theory of harmony and balance, and the paper will look at its relevance in politics. It will be argued, that Aristotle’s theory calls our attention to the balancing political role of the middle classes. Also, it will be argued that the idea of the mixed constitution is connected with this Aristotelian theory of balance and harmony (Greek armonia, lat. concordia).
Finally, the book’s most important term is prudence, referring to the cardinal virtue of prudentia (Greek phronesis). The claim is that while the virtue of justice (iustitia) is usually taken as the key concept of Christian and modern liberal political philosophy, for a conservative understanding of politics, what is possible is always more important than what is ideal. In this sense prudence precedes justice, while still keeping intact the coherence of the four cardinal virtues. In this regard the importance of Cicero for this version of conservatism will be noted. The talk will end with a description of the character of a practically wise (prudent) political agent.
Commentator: Walter Nicgorski (University of Notre Dame)
Date: 26 May 2020 (Tuesday), 2pm
You can join by clicking on the link below.
The recording can be accessed via the following link: