Review of Metaphysics 22 (4):752-753 (1969)

Despite the lament of the decline and even the death of political theory, Germino contends that "the revival of political theory is one of the momentous intellectual and cultural developments of our time." The neglect of this revival is, in part, due to the myopia and false conception of political theory by modern political scientists and positivistically orientated philosophers. After criticizing the proponents of the "alleged decline" of political theory, Germino sketches a view of political theory as a tradition of inquiry practiced by the great political theorists from Plato to Hegel. He both describes and criticizes the assault upon political theory by such thinkers as Tracy, Comte, and Marx. The revival of political theory in the grand manner is to be found in such representatives as Oakeshott, Arendt, Jouvenel, and Strauss. It is Eric Voegelin that is the true hero of this revival, and despite his neglect, Germino suggests that later generations may well acclaim Voegelin "as the greatest political theorist of our time." This is a book with a strong positive thesis, and Germino balances developing stages in his argument with expositions of the positions that he both attacks and defends. There is a growing sympathy among both philosophers and political scientists for the defense of the viability of political theory developed in this book, although many of those sympathetic with the thesis may feel that sharper and more penetrating criticism is needed to defend the thesis, and may not share Germino's enthusiasm for Voegelin.--R. J. B.
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