The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Minerva's Owl: The Tradition of Western Political Thought

Fri, March 20, 2009

Jeffrey Abramson’s Minerva’s Owl: The Tradition of Western Political Thought has been released by Harvard University Press. Abramson is professor of government and law and fellow of the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Chair in Government. Based on 25 years of lectures, Abramson invites readers to consider that politics is not only about practicing the possible, but also extending the bounds of the possible. Abramson finds his students have divided into two primary groups. On the one hand are the realists, for whom politics is too important to study. The realists know the difference between what works on the street and what works on paper, so they are only too anxious to stop reading and start practicing. On the other hand are the committed cynics, for whom study is too important to waste on something as profusely irrational as politics. In either case, Abramson remains undeterred, because the study of political philosophy is a critical ingredient to educating more fully realized human beings and anyone interested in holding the powerful to account.

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