The Socratic Individual: Philosophy, Faith, and Freedom in a Democratic Age (Hardback)
  • The Socratic Individual: Philosophy, Faith, and Freedom in a Democratic Age (Hardback)
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The Socratic Individual: Philosophy, Faith, and Freedom in a Democratic Age (Hardback)

(author)
£60.00
Hardback 162 Pages / Published: 15/06/2020
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The author explores the recovery of Socratic philosophy in the political thought of G.W.F. Hegel, Soren Kierkegaard, John Stuart Mill, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Ward identifies the cause of the renewed interest in Socrates in Hegel's call for the absorption of the individual within the modern, liberal state and the concomitant claim that Socratic skepticism should cease because history has reached its end and perfection. Recoiling from Hegel's attempt to chain the individual within the "cave," nineteenth century thinkers push back against his deification of the state. Yet, underlying Kierkegaard, Mill and Nietzsche's turn to Socrates is their acceptance of Hegel's critique of the liberal conception of the rights-bearing individual. Like Hegel, they agree that such an individual is an unworthy competitor to the state. In search of a noble individual to hold up against the state and counter the belief in the "end" of history, Kierkegaard, Mill and Nietzsche bring back and transform Socrates in significant ways. For Kierkegaard the Socratic philosopher in modern times is the person of faith, for Mill the public intellectual whose idiosyncratic identity arises from the freedom of speech, and for Nietzsche the Dionysian artist. Each model the beauty of individuality in our democratic age.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781793603777
Number of pages: 162
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"This is a brilliant study of how Nietzsche, Hegel, Kierkegaard and others responded to Socrates. As it unfolds multiple Socratic impacts, nineteenth century political thought emerges in new detail. The scholarship is impeccable and the arguments, groundbreaking."--Edward Mooney, Syracuse University
"In the nineteenth century, the collapse of the Hegelian system raised the question of the viability of the rational philosophical life. A number of major thinkers returned to the origins of Western philosophy - in Socrates - to address this question. The Socratic Individual provides an excellent examination of the role of Socrates in Kierkegaard, Mill, and Nietzsche. As Ward ably demonstrates, the rationalist Socrates is displaced by these figures, instead the erotic, the passionate, even the poetic Socrates comes to the fore, revealing other varieties of the philosophical life."--Jeffrey Church, University of Houston
"By examining the different ways that nineteenth-century political philosophers reformulate and celebrate the figure of Socrates, Ann Ward's excellent book provides us with valuable, new insights into the late Enlightenment's deepest concerns and aspirations. Drawing on a broad knowledge of ancient and modern political theory, Ward has given us a very readable, erudite, and instructive reflection on how modernity understands and shapes the life of reason."--Mark Lutz, University of Nevada - Las Vegas

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