The Primacy of Persons in Politics

The Primacy of Persons in Politics

Empiricism and Political Philosophy

Edited by Thomas W. Heilke and John Von Heyking

5.50 x 8.50 in

  • Hardcover
  • 9780813221236
  • Published: May 2013


  • eBook
  • 9780813221243
  • Published: May 2013



What is the nature of political activity? This question has vexed political thinkers since Plato wrote Statesman and remains challenging today. Contemporary intellectual categories obstruct individuals from understanding politics as a distinct species of activity with its own
realm of expertise, modes, and ends. Instead politics is poorly directed by notions of achieving a complete or final end of affairs. It tends to be conflated with other types of activities and realms of life, including economics, power-seeking, and law and procedure. As a result, politics often is untethered from morality.

Taking as their departure point the political-philosophical analyses of German scholar Tilo Schabert, the philosophical and empirical essays in this volume invite the reader to move beyond the sterile dichotomy of political activity as either pure will or as folded into a more manageable activity. The contributors argue that politics is a highly creative human activity that eludes capture within a final and static analytical framework, concluding that ethical political action is indeed part of the essence of politics.


John von Heyking, professor of political science at the University of Lethbridge,
Alberta, Canada, is author of Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World and
Friendship and Politics: Essays in Political Thought, and editor of two volumes in
the Collected Works of Eric Voegelin series. Thomas Heilke is professor of political science and director of the Center for Global and International Studies at the University of Kansas. His many published works include From Ideologies to Public Philosophies and Great Ideas/Great Schemes: Political Ideologies in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Besides the editors, the contributors are Dan Avnon, Toivo Koivukoski, András Lánczi, Erik Neveu, Tilo Schabert, David E. Tabachnick, and Alexander Thumfart.

"This is precisely the sort of book that all political scientists should read. Tilo Schabert's
work, and the elaboration of it in this volume, offers theoretical tools for understanding
the world of politics that are missing from the positivist approach. Not only will this affirm the 'usefulness' of political theory to non-political theorists, it might also remind political theorists themselves to re-engage the 'empirical' aspect of their own vocation. This volume is a testament to the continued salience of political theory and should be required reading for all those who aspire to a career in the discipline."—Richard Avramenko, assistant
professor of political science, University of Wisconsin-Madison