Edmund Burke for Our Time: Moral Imagination, Meaning, and Politics

Edmund Burke for Our Time: Moral Imagination, Meaning, and Politics

by William F. Byrne
     
 

This highly readable book offers a contemporary interpretation of the political thought of Edmund Burke, drawing on his experiences to illuminate and address fundamental questions of politics and society that are of particular interest today. For Burke, one’s imaginative context provides meaning and is central to judgment and behavior. Many of Burke’s

Overview

This highly readable book offers a contemporary interpretation of the political thought of Edmund Burke, drawing on his experiences to illuminate and address fundamental questions of politics and society that are of particular interest today. For Burke, one’s imaginative context provides meaning and is central to judgment and behavior. Many of Burke’s ideas can be brought together around his concept of the “moral imagination,” which has received little systematic treatment in the context of Burke’s own experience.

In Edmund Burke for Our Time, Byrne asserts that Burke’s politics is reflective of unique and sophisticated ideas about how people think and learn and about determinants of political behavior. Burke’s thought is shown to offer much of contemporary value regarding the sources of order and meaning and the potential for a modern crisis if those sources are weakened or obscured. In addition to providing a re-interpretation of Burke’s response to a number of historical situations—including problems of colonial or imperial policy with regard to India, Ireland, and America—Byrne looks at the relationship between emotion and reason, and the role of culture in shaping political, social, and personal behaviors.

To assist even readers with limited knowledge of Burke, the book includes biographical and historical information to provide needed context. Byrne’s important study will appeal to political philosophers, literature scholars, and those interested in addressing problems of politics and society in this late-modern age.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

 “Dr. Byrne has tackled a much needed area of Edmund Burke’s thought, namely, the ‘moral imagination.’ He has, to my mind, successfully explored, from several vantage points, almost every conceivable aspect of Burke’s use of and reference to the imagination, both moral and otherwise. In doing so, he takes scholarship to a neglected area of Burke’s thought with considerable implications for subsequent interpretations of his political philosophy and thought.”—Joseph Pappin, III, University of South Carolina, editor of Studies in Burke and His Time.

 “There is much insight in this book regarding the role of history and habit in shaping individuals, groups, and societies, and especially the distinction between casuistry and character development in Burke's thought. These points make this study stand out from the ‘pragmatic’ readings of Burke, which make him seem un- or even anti-philosophical, as well as the more strict natural law reading.” - Bruce Frohnen, Associate Professor Law, Ohio Northern University College of Law

 “This is a timely and provocative contribution, not only to Burke studies, but to contemporary political thought and recent intellectual history in the United States.” - Ian Crowe, Associate Professor of History at Brewton-Parker College, Georgia, and director of the Edmund Burke Society of America.

"Byrne's prose is highly readable, and his reading of Burke both plausible and illuminating." -National Review

 "By focusing on Burke's imagination, Byrne illuminates the core of Burke's political theory, his intuitive conception of life. What is especially remarkable about the book is that it analyzes a complex topic in lucid prose and relates Burke's ideas to contemporary political and social life. Consequently, Byrne has provided an analysis of Burke that is both weighty enough for the expert and acessible to general readers." - Michael P. Federici, Professor of Political Science at Mercyhurst College.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875806495
Publisher:
Northern Illinois University Press
Publication date:
06/01/2011
Edition description:
1
Pages:
246
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

William F. Byrne is Assistant Professor of Government and Politics at St. John’s University in New York.

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