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Abstract

In this presentation I will defend the idea that Plato is the main model that allows us to understand Voegelin’s The New Science of Politics (1952). As Voegelin says to Engel-Janosi, this book is “a systematic study of the foundation of a political science in the Platonic sense (that implies a philosophy of history)”. Throughout the presentation I will examine the presence of Plato in the New Science through four aspects, trying to relate each specific aspect with its relevance in the constitution of the book. Firstly, the relevance of understanding political science in the context of the Hellenic crisis; secondly, Voegelin understanding of the movement from doxa to episteme (as it is found in Plato) as a model for “critical clarification”; thirdly, the importance of myth and religious experiences to generate relevant political principles, specially concerning the anthropological truth. Finally, we will deal with Voegelin’s conception of a civil theology as Plato has envisaged.

In: Representation and Truth

Abstract

The confrontation between Hobbes and Voegelin provides a great opportunity to observe the challenges of modernity in terms of the political foundation of civil order. In this paper we present a critical approach to Voegelin’s reading of Hobbes, concerning specifically the possibility in Hobbes’s philosophy of achieving an everlasting constitution. For Voegelin, the achievement of such a constitution, reached at the price of total indoctrination of the people, is a clear sign of Hobbes’s Gnosticism. The presentation is divided into two parts. In the first part we explore the main aspects of Voegelin’s understanding of Hobbes and his relevance in The New Science of Politics, where Hobbes is described as the paradigm of modern Gnosticism. In the second part we present Voegelin’s accusation against Hobbes and contrast it with Hobbes’s original sources, showing the relevance of the epistemological tension between strict science and hypothetical science in Hobbes in order to show that his defence of an everlasting constitution cannot be taken so strictly. Voegelin seems to neglect this epistemological tension. His differences with Hobbes are nonetheless to be found at the anthropological level, in a conception of human being closed to transcendence and to the good.

In: Democracy and Representation
Eric Voegelin-Studies: Yearbook publishes peer-reviewed, scholarly articles related to Eric Voegelin in the areas of political theory, history of political ideas, civilization history, sociology, philosophy, literature, and theology. Articles are accepted from various sources, including the Annual Conferences of the Eric-Voegelin-Gesellschaft and of the Eric Voegelin Society.
The Meaning of Eric Voegelin’s Theory of Representation
The current crisis of liberal democracy has become the focus of constitutional, historical, philosophical, theological, and political analysis. Populism and the growing antipathy toward political elites and their dominance in popular representations are increasingly calling into question the nature of representation and the relationship between representation and democracy. The threat posed to representative democracies by authoritarian political leaders was described by the famous political scientist Eric Voegelin (1901–1985) after the overcoming of fascism in Europe with the words: “If a government is nothing but representative in the constitutional sense, a representative ruler in the existential sense will sooner or later make an end of it; and quite possibly the new existential ruler will not be too representative in the constitutional sense”.
Eric Voegelin-Studies: Supplements flankiert als wissenschaftliche Buchreihe das 2022 startende Eric-Voegelin-Jahrbuch und bietet ein ideales Forum, spezifische Aspekte der dort erscheinenden Beiträge weiter auszuführen. So entstehen Spielräume für kleinere oder größere Monografien sowie Publikationen mehrerer Autor:innen. Wie das Yearbook sind die Supplements als internationales und interdisziplinäres Projekt konzipiert. Sie sollen den wissenschaftlichen Austausch und die internationale Zusammenarbeit über Voegelins Werk erweitern.
Eric Voegelin-Studies: Supplements offers an ideal forum to further elaborate on specific aspects of the contributions in the Yearbook. This creates scope for smaller or larger monographs as well as publications by several authors. The Supplements are conceived as an international and interdisciplinary project. They are intended to expand scholarly exchange and international collaboration on Voegelin’s work.