History of Political Ideas, Volume 7 (CW25): The New Order and Last Orientation (The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin #25) (Hardcover)

History of Political Ideas, Volume 7 (CW25): The New Order and Last Orientation (The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin #25) By Eric Voegelin, Jurgen Gebhardt (Editor), Thomas A. Hollweck (Editor) Cover Image

History of Political Ideas, Volume 7 (CW25): The New Order and Last Orientation (The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin #25) (Hardcover)

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Other Books in Series

This is book number 25 in the The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin series.

In The New Order and Last Orientation, Eric Voegelin explores two distinctly different yet equally important aspects of modernity. He begins by offering a vivid account of the political situation in seventeenth-century Europe after the decline of the church and the passing of the empire. Voegelin shows how the intellectual and political disorder of the period was met by such seemingly disparate responses as Grotius's theory of natural right, Hobbes's Leviathan, the role of the Fronde in the formation of the French national state, Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and Locke's Second Treatise, the blueprint of a modern middle-class society. By putting these responses and the thought of Montesquieu, Hume, and others in the context of the birth pains of the national state and the emergence of a new self-understanding of man, Voegelin achieves a brilliant mixture of political history and profound philosophical analysis.

Voegelin's verdict of modernity is pronounced most powerfully in the opening part of "Last Orientation," in the chapter entitled "Phenomenalism." His discussion of the intellectual confusion underlying the modern project of scientistic phenomenalism is the most original criticism leveled against modernity to date. It is at the same time the first step toward a recovery of reality through philosophy conceived as a science of substance in the spirit of Giordano Bruno. Voegelin's first example of such an effort at recovering reality is the chapter on Schelling, one of the spiritual realists who has not been affected by the prevailing rationalist or reductionist creeds that are part of the modern disorder. Schelling's indirect yet powerful influence on Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Freud more than justifies Voegelin's interest in his philosophy and character, even though Voegelin would later distance himself from some of Schelling's positions.

The volume's concluding chapter, "Nietzsche and Pascal," applies the understanding gained from the study of Schelling to the thought of the most powerful critic of the age, Nietzsche. Nietzsche's self-avowed affinity with Pascal provides the key to an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of his thought and reaffirms the connection that links the beginning of modernity with its most recent crises and the efforts to overcome them.

About the Author

Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) was one of the most original and influential philosophers of our time. Born in Cologne, Germany, he studied at the University of Vienna, where he became a professor of political science in the Faculty of Law. In 1938, he and his wife, fleeing Hitler, emigrated to the United States. They became American citizens in 1944. Voegelin spent much of his career at Louisiana State University, the University of Munich, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. During his lifetime he published many books and more than one hundred articles. The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin will make available in a uniform edition all of Voegelin's major writings.

About the Editors

Jürgen Gebhardt is Professor of Political Science at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany.

Thomas A. Hollweck is Associate Professor of German and Languages at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Product Details ISBN: 9780826212146
ISBN-10: 082621214X
Publisher: University of Missouri
Publication Date: May 19th, 1999
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin