The Political Philosophy of Fenelon

ISBN : 9780190079635

Ryan Patrick Hanley
328 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Feb 2020
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Fenelon was a nuanced and influential diagnostician of the ills of European society, one who carefully analysed phenomena as wide-ranging and complex as egocentrism, authoritarianism, and imperialism. Despite his influence there has been to date no interpretive monograph in English devoted specifically to his thought. Ryan Patrick Hanley aims to correct this oversight, providing the first book-length interpretative study of Fenelon's writings to appear in English.

A companion volume to Hanley's comprehensive English translation of Fenelon's moral and political writings, this book focuses on Fenelon's political thought as a method of understanding his impact on areas ranging from economics and statecraft to religion and literature. Hanley begins by reconstructing Fenelon's political ideas for those who may be encountering his work directly or at length for the first time. He then articulates the connections between Fenelon's political thought and several other fields to which he made significant and long-recognized contributions, including not only philosophy and political science, but also economics, education, literature, theology, and spirituality. Building from this foundation, Hanley constructs a new understanding and appreciation of Fenelon's political thought and its significance. He argues that Fenelon is better understood as a moderate and modern thinker rather than as a radical or reactionary, and that Fenelon deserves to be seen not merely as a political thinker but as a political philosopher, one whose work has direct relevance to our political world today.



Texts and Abbreviations


Chapter One: Prudence, or On Education

Chapter Two: Moderation, or On Economics

Chapter Three: Courage, or On War

Chapter Four: Justice, or On Statesmanship

Chapter Five: Faith, or On Religion

Chapter Six: Hope, or On Theology

Chapter Seven: Love, or On the Best Life


About the author: 

Ryan Patrick Hanley is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Prior to joining the faculty at Boston College, he was the Mellon Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Marquette University, and held visiting appointments or fellowships at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Chicago. He is the author of several studies on Enlightenment political philosophy, including Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue (2009) and Love's Enlightenment: Rethinking Charity in Modernity (2017).

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