Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Politics and Vision

Sheldon Wolin, who died on October 21 last at the age of 93, was probably the most distinguished and perhaps brilliant American political philosopher of the last several decades.  A more radical figure than John Rawls, Wolin was the author of various books, including studies of Hobbes and Tocqueville, and a monumental interpretative history of political theory, Politics and Vision.  The roster of political thinkers who trained with him is a listing of the most talented American political philosophers active today - Wendy Brown, Cornel West, Dana Villa, Uday Mehta.  The founder of the 'Berkeley School' of political thought in the 1960s, Wolin was opposed both to behaviourism and to the regnant conservative and unhistorical approach of Leo Strauss.  Wolin was not merely an ivory-tower academic: he produced a radical critique of the Bush regime (held by writers such Shadia Drury to have been influenced by Straussian thought and themes) in 2003, accusing it of an 'inverted totalitarianism'.  Steel was never wanting in Sheldon Wolin: would we had more like him.

Here is Corey Robin remembering him on the Jacobin website:

The Theorist Who Reached Across Time



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