December 14th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY A myriad transformations effected by one birth

VICTORIAN POLITICS Andrews hacks away at another way of life and source of jobs

CANBERRA OBSERVED Labor must own up to why it took the thrashing it got

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Hong Kong voters reject Beijing and its proxies

LIFE AND FAMILY On the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, how are we doing?

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Brexit: Quintessentially British party politics

OBITUARY Fr Paul Stenhouse: The thoughtful editor for the 'ordinary' reader

OBITUARY Vale David Milne, paragon of loyalty and perseverance

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan and Hong Kong: Pawns in a bigger game

U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS How and why the U.S. should stop financing China's bad actors

HUMOUR You can't stop the music, Paddy

MUSIC 2020 foresight: A musical odyssey

CLASSIC CINEMA North by Northwest: The immaculately produced nightmare

BOOK REVIEW Truncated truths for post-truth times

BOOK REVIEW Food for a summer immersion program

POETRY

LETTERS

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FREEDOM FROM REALITY:
The Diabolical Character of Modern Liberty

D.C. Schindler

$123.99


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About the book

It is commonly observed that behind many of the political and cultural issues that we face today lies an impoverished conception of freedom, which, according to D.C. Schindler, we have inherited from the classical liberal tradition without a sufficient awareness of its implications. Freedom from Reality presents a critique of the deceptive and ultimately self-subverting character of the modern notion of freedom, retrieving an alternative view through a new interpretation of the ancient tradition. While many have critiqued the inadequacy of identifying freedom with arbitrary choice, this book seeks to penetrate to the metaphysical roots of the modern conception by going back, through an etymological study, to the original sense of freedom.

Schindler begins by uncovering a contradiction in John Locke’s seminal account of human freedom. Rather than dismissing it as a mere “academic” problem, Schindler takes this contradiction as a key to understanding the strange paradoxes that abound in the contemporary values and institutions founded on the modern notion of liberty: the very mechanisms that intend to protect modern freedom render it empty and ineffectual. In this respect, modern liberty is “diabolical” – a word that means, at its roots, that which “drives apart” and so subverts. This is contrasted with the “symbolical” (a “joining-together”), which, he suggests, most basically characterises the premodern sense of reality. This book will appeal to students and scholars of political philosophy (especially political theorists), philosophers in the continental or historical traditions, and cultural critics with a philosophical bent.

 

“This is a brilliant, incredibly erudite, and rigorously argued book. D. C. Schindler’s fundamental contribution is the working out of autonomy described as the flight from reality. Nobody has defended this account of the trajectory of modern liberalism more ably than he has. It is a huge and complete accomplishment by one of the most magnificent thinkers of our time.” — Peter Lawler, Dana Professor in Government, Berry College

 

“D.C. Schindler is probably the best Catholic philosophical theologian of his generation in the Anglophone world. In short, this book is an account and diagnosis of the rise of a modern concept of ‘liberty’ . . . and of an alternative vision drawn from classical and Christian tradition. It makes a better and more controlled case than any other book I know of dealing with these issues, and opens new perspectives on Locke and whole heritage of modern moral and political history.” — David Bentley Hart, Templeton Fellow, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study

 

“Among the sacred cows of the modern age, a certain idea of individual freedom and political liberty has pride of place. D. C. Schindler unravels its genealogy in John Locke, exposes its self-defeating character, and pleads for a retrieval of a fuller conception, rooted in classical Greek philosophy. He thereby contributes to the healing of our intellectual, cultural, and social diseases. A daring and necessary enterprise.” — Rémi Brague, University of Paris–Sorbonne and Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich

 

“Schindler’s book is a brilliant tour de force of political and moral reasoning. A most timely and stringent analysis of modernity’s confused and calamitous dissociation of freedom and the good, Schindler’s book will be ranked with similarly intentioned, highly influential works by Polanyi, MacIntyre, and Gadamer.” — Thomas Pfau, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English and professor of Germanic Languages & Literatures, Duke University

 

“As a critique of deep currents of modern thought, Schindler’s masterful study does just what it should: it brings us into a position to understand and assess divergences at the level of fundamental principles, and to recognize their consequences. Schindler is one of the best guides available to a revivified classical philosophy that restores the soul and reality to the communion they were made for.” — Mark Shiffman, Villanova University

 

About the author

D. C. Schindler is associate professor of metaphysics and anthropology at the John Paul II Institute. He is the author of a number of books, including The Catholicity of Reason.


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