“Hegel and Plato are towering figures in the history of philosophy, but often readers puzzle over what they are saying. There are very few books that deal with them clearly and intelligently. Hardly any that do so jointly. This book is exceptional in offering a clear, scholarly and intelligent guide to their work. It focuses upon how Plato and Hegel deal with nature. While recognising the subtlety of Plato and Hegel on nature, Vicky Roupa establishes a nuanced yet clear exposition of their thought. The bonus is that the books is written in a highly readable style. This is a great book!”
– Gary Browning, Professor of Political Thought, Oxford Brookes University
This book examines nature as a foundational concept for political and constitutional theory, drawing on readings from Plato and Hegel to counter the view that optimal political arrangements are determined by nature. Focussing on the dialectical implications of the word ‘nature’, i.e. how it encompasses a range of meanings stretching up to the opposites of sensuousness and ideality, the book explores the various junctures at which nature and politics interlock in the philosophies of Plato and Hegel. Appearance and essence, inner life and public realm, the psychical and the political are all shown to be parts of a conflictual structure that requires both infinite proximity and irreducible distance. The book offers innovative interpretations of a number of key texts by Plato and Hegel to highlight the metaphysical and political implications of nature’s dialectical structure, and re-appraises their thinking of nature in a way that both respects and goes beyond their intentions.
1. Articulations: Of Nature and Politics
Part I: Redefining the Natural: Language and Logic
2. Naming as Techne in Plato’s Cratylus
3. Producing the Categories of Being: The Sophist
4. Producing the Categories of Being: The Science of Logic
Part II: Redefining the Natural: Society and Politics
5. The Question of Nature in the Republic
6. Between Two Paradigms of Politics
7. Embodying the Political
8. Conclusion: Towards Finitude and the Fragility of Sense
Vicky Roupa is Associate Lecturer for The Open University in London and the South East, UK, and Honorary Associate at the Department of Philosophy, The Open University
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