Category Archives: Ryan, Alan

On Hobbes: Escaping the War of All Against All (2015)

On Hobbes: Escaping the War of All Against All (Liveright Classics)

by Alan Ryan

“In Leviathan, one of the greatest works of political philosophy of all time, English philosopher Thomas Hobbes created the idea of a “social contract” and set out to explicate a doctrine for the foundation of states and legitimate forms of government. In On Hobbes, Alan Ryan explains how Hobbes created the secular conception of the state and politics in one of the first truly modern works of political philosophy. Inverting Aristotle’s view of politics, Hobbes argued that humans organize themselves into political communities not out of any sociable impulse to pursue the good life in common, but rather out of an unsociable fear of one another and for the sake of avoiding the greatest evil of all: death. Ryan explicates how modern notions of individual rights, sovereignty, representative government, and almost all liberal political theory find their foundation in the work of Hobbes.”

amazon  |   bn

On Augustine: The Two Cities (2015)

amazon   |   bn

image from ecx.images-amazon.comby Alan Ryan

Liveright
160 pages

From the publisher: No philosopher speaks more immediately to the excesses of our twenty-first-century world and the limits of human reason than Augustine.

It would be almost impossible to exaggerate the influence of Augustine—the once-hedonistic pagan turned ascetic theologian and defender of the early Christian Church—over all the subsequent history of Europe. Augustine ’s political philosophy is pregnant with arguments that racked not only Christian Europe but also much of the modern world. Whether it was his essential skepticism about the value of earthly politics when contrasted with eternity, the role of a Christian within the State, or the nature of just war and the folly of imperial ambitions, Augustine articulated distinctive and long-lived thoughts on controversial subjects that remain embedded in our political discourse. In On Augustine: The Two Cities Alan Ryan carefully lays out the complicated political, philosophical, and religious context of Augustine and traces the history of his impact on Western thought both within and beyond the Christian tradition.